Broncos promote Schmedding to defensive coordinator

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BOISE — Less than two months after being hired by Boise State, Jeff Schmedding has been given a promotion.

Schmedding was named Boise State's new defensive coordinator as part of a series of move announced by Boise State head football coach Bryan Harsin on Thursday, two weeks after former defensive coordinator Andy Avalos took the same position at Oregon.

Spencer Danielson was also promoted to co-defensive coordinator and Zac Alley, who spent last season as a graduate assistant for defending national champions Clemson, was hired as the Broncos' inside linebackers coach.

“Like always, it's a collective effort with our coaches — offense, defense, special teams,” said Harsin. “It's everybody involved, but Jeff will have the final say, and Spencer's right there and Coach (Gabe) Franklin and Jalil (Brown), all those guys are involved.”

Schmedding was hired by Boise State in January as outside linebackers coach and co-special teams coordinator after spending the previous four years as Eastern Washington's defensive coordinator. The Eagles, who lost to North Dakota State in the FCS Championship game in early January, were one of just four teams in the nation last year with 30-plus turnovers (34) and sacks (36) this past season.

“You always hope you can position yourself where you've got guys on your staff that if something changes, you're able to elevate, and hopefully within,” Harsin said. “It doesn't always work that way. In this case going through, after Andy left, we had practice a couple days later, Spencer's in there, he knows it, Coach Franklin knows it, Schmedding has done a really good job since he's been here.”

Schmedding will continue to work with special teams during the spring, but will gradually be working his way out of that role. Harsin said he will work with co-special teams coordinator Lee Marks more in that role.

Boise State had its worst statistical season in a decade last year in both field goal kicking and punting.

“(Schmedding) already had a lot of it set up, so he's still in those meetings,” Harsin said. “The nice thing is we don't have a game, so there's time. We have a practice, a day in between, a practice. So we're not really up on the time issues. He's still involved in it, because a lot of what we're doing in special teams has to do with tackling, has to do with defeating blocks, has to do with a lot of the fundamentals on the defensive side.”

Danielson was hired as a graduate assistant in 2017 to work with the STUDs. He was promoted to a full time assistant, overseeing the same position last year. He was announced as defensive line coach in January, in a series of moves which included the hiring of Schmedding.

Alley comes to Boise after spending the previous four years at Clemson, where he worked primarily with defensive tackles and linebackers. He had recently been hired to coach nickels at Charlotte and was a defensive coaching intern with the Carolina Panthers.

After Avalos left for Oregon in late February, Harsin called up Clemson coach Dabo Swinney, a friend of his, and asked if he knew of any coaches who might make a good fit on his staff.

That's how Alley arrived on Harsin's radar, and after having the up and comer in for an interview, the Broncos' coach was impressed.

“He did a phenomenal job,” Harsin said. “He's a young guy and he's been around a really great program. Charlotte's a great program. He's been around Clemson, been around great coaches. I talked to Dabo, called him up, I got a chance to (talk with Clemson defensive coordinator Brent) Venables. And we were there last spring, so we've been around that culture, been around some of those guys. Zac came in here and he won the interview. He can come in here and I think he can provide a lot of value for where we want to go and what we want to do on that side of the ball.”

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