Five Broncos to watch in Boise State's Spring Game

ccripe@idahostatesman.comApril 12, 2014 

Quarterback Ryan Finley was 7-of-13 for 81 yards and a touchdown with one interception in BSU's first spring scrimmage.

JOE JASZEWSKI — Statesman file

Some of the most intriguing players in the Boise State football team's Spring Game on Saturday are the ones who never have appeared in a game.

Here are five to watch:

1. Dylan Sumner-Gardner, safety (No. 29)

The top-100 recruit from Texas arrived in January and has impressed coaches and teammates with his attitude. He works with the second-team defense.

Sumner-Gardner struggled with the high school mentality of trying to make every play in the first scrimmage. He adjusted in the second, when he made an interception and a big hit by just doing his job.

"No. 1 is he's a great kid," defensive backs coach Julius Brown said. "To be that highly recruited, to have that many people calling you all the time, he's really humble. He's in the office all the time. He doesn't ask for anything. He works hard. So I've been really encouraged. For him, he just has to keep working, which he is. He's doing a great job fitting in with his teammates. They all love him."

2. Ryan Finley, quarterback (No. 15)

Finley unexpectedly recovered from shoulder surgery in time to slide into the backup job this spring, ahead of junior college transfer Tommy Stuart. Finley still isn't 100 percent - he needs to strengthen the arm this summer - but he needed every snap he could get after missing nearly the entire fall.

"He was a big question mark going into spring ball," senior wide receiver Matt Miller said. "He really showed up. (His arm) still can get better. But from what it is right now, it's still pretty good."

3. Joe Martarano, linebacker (No. 7)

The former Fruitland High standout who chose the Broncos over pro baseball redshirted last season. He's stuck behind returning co-starters Tanner Vallejo and Blake Renaud at middle linebacker but should be a factor on special teams if nothing else.

"Joey's made a huge leap in terms of understanding the defense," linebackers coach Andy Avalos said. "He was on scout team last year. He really got a chance to develop his body as a redshirt. Now it's the mental aspect that he's done a lot better job at. He's playing (middle) linebacker. He's got to run the show when he's in there."

4. Archie Lewis, offensive tackle (No. 74)

Lewis has played left tackle with the first team this spring. Junior Rees Odhiambo, the starting right tackle last season, will slide into that spot when he returns from injury in the fall, coach Bryan Harsin said.

Lewis will move over to right tackle and compete for a starting job. The freshman grayshirted in 2012 as a largely overlooked recruit - Boise State gave him his only scholarship offer - and redshirted in 2013.

"I'm excited with whatever they give me," Lewis said. "I just want a shot. (This spring) has been very exciting. It's been a great chance for me to learn. Rees has been helping me out through the whole thing."

Lewis signed with Boise State at 6-foot-3, 240 pounds. He's up to 277 pounds with hopes of reaching 285 or more by fall camp.

"There are some freshman mistakes in there but he's done some really good things," Harsin said. "… I've been really happy with where Archie is at. I like his approach. He's got a great demeanor out there. He's going to be good."

5. Jake Roh (No. 88)

Roh seized the opportunity created by a rash of injuries and illness at tight end to showcase his skills in spring ball. He played wide receiver in high school and appears on a path to become the next in a long line of highly productive receiving tight ends for the Broncos.

NOTES: A record 350 former Boise State football players attended the sixth annual Gridiron Social on Friday. They were able to watch practice before having dinner with the current team on the patio of the Bleymaier Football Center. "This is awesome," said former safety Quintin Mikell, who was a senior in 2002 and is an 11-year NFL veteran. "It's a great feeling. Walking in the locker room and seeing all this stuff, it's incredible. It's crazy because it's almost the same but it's so much different." … The Broncos will wear No. 70 helmet stickers during the Spring Game in memory of Randy Trautman, who died earlier this year. Trautman is the school's only College Football Hall of Famer. … Harsin has challenged Bronco Nation to break the Spring Game attendance record with 20,000 fans. The record is 17,123 in 2012.

Chadd Cripe: 377-6398, Twitter: @IDS_BroncoBeat

Idaho Statesman is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service