It is a pretty tall task to grasp the Boise State offense quickly, something its coordinator even joked about last spring when he himself was learning on the fly.
So quarterback Jake Constantine was expected to need some time to get a better command. Less than a year after arriving on campus, improvement is evident almost daily for the redshirt freshman.
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“Jake has come a long ways since he got here, trying to learn the offense. Like I’ve said before, it’s tough,” offensive coordinator Zak Hill said. “He’s starting to settle in; things are starting to slow down a little bit. He’s got this natural accuracy that a lot of quarterbacks don’t have.”
That accuracy showed up in a big way Saturday in the Broncos’ second scrimmage of the spring at Albertsons Stadium. He hit targets at all levels, highlighted by a 75-yard touchdown strike to junior wide receiver A.J. Richardson.
“He did have a great day today,” senior running back Ryan Wolpin said. “He’s been working hard. He’s a young guy, so obviously you’re going to struggle there with knowing the entire playbook, the entire offense. ... It’s finally coming together, starting to get more comfortable.”
The 6-foot-1, 187-pound Constantine was a late find in Boise State’s 2016 signing class, committing two weeks before signing day after Micah Wilson flipped to Missouri. This spring, Constantine has competed with junior Rathen Ricedorff to back up incumbent starter Brett Rypien.
“It’s probably affected Jake Constantine more, because Jake has really elevated from where he was to where he is now,” Boise State coach Bryan Harsin said. “I think he’s really had a good spring. His consistency’s been much better, his preparation, his knowledge.
“He’s starting to understand the role he needs to play.”
With Constantine, Ricedorff and incoming signee Chase Cord in the fold, none have taken a single snap at the Football Bowl Subdivision level. That continued improvement could be vital should Rypien need to be spelled.
“He’s got good fundamentals, and he can get it out quick,” Hill said. “You need that as a quarterback, especially at this level.”
Junior cornerback Tyler Horton said Saturday that Constantine “made it challenging for us.”
Coaches said the defense had a big day Friday, including interception returns for touchdowns by Horton and redshirt freshman linebacker Desmond Williams. Even if it had a down day, the defense has mostly been successful while adding a few tweaks this spring.
“We’ve still got a long way to go ... but we’re making progress in that area,” Horton said.
The defense, with only four scholarship seniors, has made some plays as it aims to be more aggressive in creating turnovers and pressure in the backfield. The group will get its next shot in the Spring Game at 5 p.m. Saturday at Albertsons Stadium.
“Our practice yesterday was better than today, but it’s the level of consistency, so it will be great to see how the guys respond,” defensive coordinator Andy Avalos said. “We’ve been waiting for a day like this to come where we give up some touchdowns, because we want to see how they respond.
“It’s good for them to get a taste of what happens when you don’t have that energy.”
Sophomore cornerback Reid Harrison-Ducros had an interception. Afterward, Horton said “Reid’s been stepping up big time.” ... Avalos said the defense will dedicate most of one of next week’s practice on concepts and looks against triple-option offense. ... The Broncos practice three times next week before finishing spring ball Saturday.