The Boise State football team will stage what could be a rare memorable Spring Game on Saturday at Albertsons Stadium.
The event includes a moment to salute the most successful quarterback in school history, Kellen Moore, and a four-man race for the starting job in 2015. Players will wear special helmets that they apparently weren’t enthused about, and an unaccomplished group of tailbacks will try to show they can fill the shoes of another program great, NFL-bound Jay Ajayi.
The scrimmage begins at 5:15 p.m. Moore, who won a national record 50 games from 2008 to 2011, will be honored at 5:11 p.m. (on April 11, in recognition of his jersey number at Boise State).
The spring has done little to resolve the quarterback situation. Coach Bryan Harsin said Monday he expects the pecking order to remain the same until fall camp begins in August — sophomore Ryan Finley, sophomore Tommy Stuart, redshirt freshman Alex Ogle and true freshman Brett Rypien, lined up by seniority.
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Finley, last year’s backup, has used his experience to his advantage. Stuart is “night and day” better than a year ago, Harsin said. Ogle throws the ball as well as any quarterback the Broncos have had, Harsin said. And Rypien continues to adapt to the college environment after graduating from high school this past winter.
“We’re not going to come out of spring saying that this guy is No. 1, this guy is No. 2, and so on,” Harsin said. “They get a chance in the summer now to really work on what they have to get better at. Coming into fall camp, there will be a pecking order. It will be very much like it is right now. You’d imagine Ryan Finley, Tommy Stuart, Alex Ogle, Brett Rypien — those guys would be getting reps probably in that order. And unlike spring, it will change in a hurry.”
OTHER SPRING GAME NOTES
• The competition to replace Ajayi includes senior Jack Fields, junior Devan Demas and redshirt freshman Cory Young in spring ball. Sophomore Jeremy McNichols, the front-runner, has been injured and will join the group in fall camp.
The Spring Game will be a progress report for the backs, who were better in the second scrimmage than the first, Harsin said.
“We were really looking for physical, downhill, hit-the-hole-hard runs, and that’s what we got,” Harsin said. “From scrimmage one to scrimmage two, that group elevated their game.”
• The Broncos decided not to retire Moore’s No. 11 jersey but the number won’t be worn anytime soon.
“There’s a lot of different models as far as retiring numbers,” Harsin said. “Yes, there was discussion on that. Right now, you guys have been at practice, there’s no No. 11 rolling around at practice. And there won’t be for a long time.”
• The Broncos will have another new helmet look that will be used exclusively for the Spring Game. Coaches told the team about the white helmets Wednesday (April 1) and said they would be used for games. On Friday, they told the team that the helmets were just for the scrimmage.
The players had some reservations about the new look.
“I don’t know (what the concerns were) because they were all too afraid to come to me,” Harsin said. “There were some grumblings in the locker room. ... We had a good April Fools’ with our team. They like it — it’s something different — but usually with uniforms we talk about it. They didn’t have a chance to have their input on this.”
WR COMMITS FOR 2016
Receiver Derrion Grim of Stockton, Calif., committed to the Broncos on Monday. Boise State was the first FBS school to offer Grim a scholarship. Previous offers came from Eastern Washington and Sacramento State.
He arrived in Boise on Friday, was offered a scholarship Saturday and committed Monday before he left town.
Grim has played one year of varsity football at McNair High. He made 35 catches for 637 yards and 10 TDs last season, according to MaxPreps. He also played cornerback and returned kicks.
Former BSU and NFL offensive lineman Nate Potter has joined the coaching staff as an offensive graduate assistant. ... Harsin spoke at the Nike Coach of the Year Clinic at USC on Saturday, addressing about 300 high school coaches in a key recruiting territory. He also watched some of the Trojans’ practice before flying back to Boise for a scrimmage that night. Harsin visited with former Boise State defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox, now at USC, and got a couple ideas from the Trojans. “I got a couple we can use at some point,” he said.