Aug
26

Aggies safety tackles one day at a time

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Charles Boyett returns for his senior season after leading the Aggies in tackles last season with 86.

Charles Boyett became a full-time starter at safety in 2013 and led UC Davis n tackles with 86.

Charles Boyett is not looking forward to Aug. 30, when UC Davis kicks off the 2014 season at Stanford. That does not mean the senior safety is giving the Aggies little chance of pulling off an upset against the No. 12 Cardinal.

Boyett prefers to focus on the here and now. The 2010 Napa High School graduate takes each practice as an opportunity to improve. If Boyett gets better every day, he figures he will be ready for whatever Stanford is packing.

“When we get to Aug. 30, we’ll find out who’s the better team between us and Stanford,” Boyett said after practice Aug. 16. “I’m focused on today and getting better today. We need to focus on what is in our control.”

Davis may spin out of control if the Aggies can somehow find a way to surprise the defending Pacific-12 Conference champions and became the latest Football Championship Subdivision team to knock off a Football Bowl Subdivision squad.

cb1Think it is unlikely? Here is a bit of history to consider before betting your children’s college education on the Cardinal. Eight FCS teams beat FBS opponents in the first week last season, so Aug. 30 could be a perfect time for the Aggies.

Boyett realizes a golden opportunity when he comes across one, but he is not looking ahead. Second-year head coach Ron Gould has been preaching “the process” to his players since they reported for fall camp on Aug. 4.

“(The hype is) for the fans, the media, the parents, aunts, uncles and nephews. They can be excited,” said Gould, who must not be too fond of nieces. “We’ve got to continue to focus on us. That’s the most important thing.”

UC Davis might be biting off more than it could ever imagine chewing by playing Stanford, but Boyett is not one to back down from a challenge. He has faced quite a few in his brief time on this planet, both on and off the field.

Start with his senior season at Napa High. Make that half a season. Boyett tore two ligaments in his right knee during the fifth game for the Indians, who finished 2-3 in the Monticello Empire League after going 5-0 in 2008.

“It was pretty devastating,” Boyett recalled. “I think everyone looks forward to playing your senior year in high school.”

His knee healed just in time for his heart to break in February 2011. Boyett’s sister, Danielle, passed away at age 25 after battling a brain tumor since she was 12. When the going gets tough for Boyett, he thinks of Danielle.

“She’s a big part of me and a big part of our family,” he explained. “I get a lot from my family and that makes me strong.”

Boyett was strong enough as a true freshman in 2011 in play in 10 games, including three starts, for the Aggies. The 6-foot, 205-pound Boyett became the full-time starter at free safety last season and led the Aggies in tackles with 86.

His tackle total included 51 solo stops, but Boyett dismissed his prowess as merely being in the right place at the right time. “It doesn’t matter to me who gets the tackle,” he said, “as long as the guy goes down.”

His tackling ability may come from his brother John, who was Oregon’s leading tackler as a redshirt freshman in 2009 and again as a junior in 2011. John played in the 2012 opener for the Ducks before needing surgery to repair tears in his patella tendons.

John is currently in training camp with the Denver Broncos. The brothers try to talk “every other day,” Boyett said. “I’ve always aspired to be like my brother. We wore the same number (12) in high school, played the same position. He’s my role model and I look up to him.”

In case you are wondering, John was 2-1 with the Ducks against the Cardinal.

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