Conventional wisdom assumes that a job gets easier with experience.
That wasn’t the case for Boise State true freshman quarterback Brett Rypien, who used the first part of the football team’s pre-bowl break to evaluate his performance.
He reviewed every snap from the nine and a half games in which he played.
“Being consistent — that’s the hardest thing to do,” he said. “You’ve got to be able to focus on every detail. At the same time, you’re going to make new mistakes. You fix one mistake and then you make another one. And once teams get more film on you and they start scheming for you more, it only gets harder. That’s the thing that you’ve got to learn as a quarterback. That’s the thing I learned this year.”
Rypien has thrown for 2,973 yards and 17 touchdowns going into the Dec. 23 Poinsettia Bowl in San Diego against Northern Illinois. He ranks sixth in the Mountain West in pass efficiency (137.5).
He was named the All-Mountain West first-team quarterback — the first freshman quarterback honored in league history — and the Mountain West Freshman of the Year.
Rypien’s career began Sept. 19 in the second half of the Idaho State game after starter Ryan Finley broke an ankle in the first half.
“It’s a credit to the work he put in prior to being named the starter,” coach Bryan Harsin said. “He had an opportunity, and he seized it.”
The Broncos are 6-3 in Rypien’s nine starts. They might have relied on him too much in the November losses to New Mexico and Air Force but rediscovered a balanced attack in the regular-season finale at San Jose State, where Rypien was 25-for-33 for 197 yards and two touchdowns without a turnover.
“He had some really good games,” Harsin said. “He had some games where he struggled. And at the end of the year he was recognized for the better performances.”
Rypien’s video review showed areas where he improved and others where he regressed. He’ll try to clean up those fundamentals, such as his footwork, during bowl prep.
One of his biggest disappointments was his inability to hit deep balls in the past three games after connecting on them with seeming ease before that.
“It’s just a good learning experience,” he said of the video review, “just knowing there were plays over the last few games that were there to be made. You can’t do anything about it now. You have to learn from it.”
Rypien should benefit from his whirlwind freshman year in 2016. He expected to enter that season with zero career pass attempts.
Instead, he’s at 389 and counting.
“I was talking to my parents the other day: It’s crazy how things can change so fast,” Rypien said. “You go from not thinking you’re going to play at all this year to coming in and playing nine games and then winning first-team honors. It’s been a great year and it’s been a heck of a learning year.”
As Rypien goes ...
Brett Rypien’s personal performance is directly related to Boise State’s results this season. His efficiency rating was above 145 in all six of his wins as a starter, and under 112 in all three losses.
at Colorado State
at Utah State
at San Jose State
POINSETTIA BOWL AT A GLANCE
▪ Who: Boise State (8-4, 5-3 Mountain West) vs. Northern Illinois (8-5, 6-2 Mid-American)
▪ When: 2:30 p.m. MT Wednesday, Dec. 23
▪ Where: Qualcomm Stadium (71,500, grass), San Diego
▪ TV: ESPN
▪ Series: First meeting
▪ Tickets: $39, $61 or $78 at BroncoSports.com/bowlcentral. Tickets about $10 more through SanDiegoBowlGames.com.
▪ Notable events: Stadium Spectacular — a fireworks show that uses technology new to North America — will be staged on the field and above the east scoreboard after the game. The Gaslamp March featuring the schools’ bands playing holiday music is at 6 p.m. Dec. 21. The team luncheon at the USS Midway Museum is at 11:15 a.m. Dec. 22 ($50).