Player spotlight - Alex Hansen

Alex Hansen piled up four sacks and nine tackles behind the line of scrimmage last year.

He desperately wants one of those now for an Air Force defense craving a drive-killing play.

"That's frustrating when you want to help the team as best you can," said the sophomore defensive lineman, "but they put together those drives and it gets really frustrating."

Boise State rarely allowed the Falcons' pass rush to be a factor, instead throwing 17 quick-hitting passes to receivers at or behind the line of scrimmage. The Broncos completed all 17.

"Maybe just trying to step up into some of those lanes, put your hands up and try to knock one down," Hansen said. "But on those quick hitters there's not much you can do."

One of the few times Boise State quarterback Joe Southwick felt pressure he lofted up a ball that was deflected and intercepted, resulting in one of the two Broncos drives that didn't end in touchdowns.

Hansen is trying not to worry too much about the past and is instead making sure the defensive line continues to do its part despite a rash of injuries that have taken out Robert Green and Joseph Champaign.

Freshmen David Harris and Ryan Watson are both seeing regular action, so Hansen feels a need to mentor them. After all, he was in their position a year ago.

"It's hard coming and having to adjust to the game speed, so I think they're doing a good job," Hansen said. "Us older guys just need to keep encouraging them that they're going to make mistakes but keep playing as hard as they can."

By the way, that also happens to be Hansen's message to the defense as a whole, and he's impatiently waiting for that chance to make the big play that will help it through this rough patch.