Lost in the hype about the Boise State football team’s reunion with Washington coach Chris Petersen on Friday (8:15 p.m., ESPN) is the rarity of the Broncos opening the season at home.
The Broncos haven’t played their first game at Albertsons Stadium since the 2009 win against Oregon.
“It will definitely be electric out there,” senior cornerback Donte Deayon said. “It’s going to be a good feeling for not only us but our city.”
The Broncos used to open at home regularly — seven times in eight years from 2002 to 2009 — but that changed when they started playing marquee games to start the season.
Never miss a local story.
Boise State beat Virginia Tech in 2010 in Landover, Md., and Georgia in 2011 in Atlanta before losing at Michigan State in 2012, at Washington in 2013 and vs. Ole Miss in Atlanta in 2014.
Four of those five games were played in the Eastern Time Zone. No current Bronco has opened at home.
“I’ve always been on a plane with butterflies in my stomach,” junior linebacker Darren Lee said. “But now I get to stay in my house the night before. ... I know the energy’s going to be huge here in the stadium.”
And, of course, the Broncos will have an advantage playing at home. They haven’t lost a home opener since 2001 against Washington State and have won 14 straight home games, tied for the third-longest streak in the country.
“It’s always going to be good that you’re home,” senior defensive tackle Armand Nance said. “Playing video games with your friends, you feel like you have an advantage because you have your controller instead of his controller.
“You just have to have fun. That’s what it comes down to — if you have fun with your brothers, it’s going to be a good day.”
Next year’s opener is back on the road, at least tentatively : Sept. 3, 2016, at Louisiana. The Broncos are home for the 2017 opener against Troy.
TO PLAY OR NOT TO PLAY ...
The first week of school gave coaches a chance to look at their true freshman decisions from another angle.
They knew who had the football skills. They had a strong idea who could handle the mental side of the game.
But the third element involves school and a freshman’s ability to thrive on and off the field simultaneously.
“Now their schedule is set,” said defensive backs coach Julius Brown, who has four true freshmen competing for likely two spots on the field this year. “Now you’re seeing how their bodies respond, how they respond mentally, how they respond physically on the field. This week gave us a little bit of a gauge. We’ll continue that until next week.”
Cornerback is the only position at which the Broncos are certain to play a true freshman. They only have three scholarship cornerbacks in the other classes.
Tyler Horton appeared to be the top freshman corner in fall camp, but coaches haven’t committed publicly to any freshman decisions.
“We don’t know how many we’ll have to play,” Brown said. “... We have to have depth where guys can get a spell if they need one. There’s not a real, true number. As a staff, we’re not going to put anyone in there we feel is not ready to play.”
The other freshman cornerbacks are Darreon Jackson, Donzale Roddie and Ladarryl Blair.
Junior college transfer Raymond Ford will play a key role in determining how many freshmen play. He arrived in January and is the only scholarship cornerback behind starters Donte Deayon and Jonathan Moxey who was on the team before this summer.
“Ray’s a kid who had a good fall camp,” Brown said. “He’s a fast, competitive, tough kid. ... I’m looking forward to him helping us win.”
NOW TRENDING ...
Senior tight end Jake Hardee walked on at Boise State out of Bishop Kelly High. He received a scholarship last year and the Broncos posted a video of the reveal.
That’s become a popular trend among college football programs.
“That was something I really worked hard for,” Hardee said. “I had it circled on a whiteboard in my bathroom. I’ve seen a lot of scholarship videos. ... Seeing that kind of stuff, it’s emotional. It kind of brings back that memory and makes you appreciate it every day.”