It should come as no surprise to anyone watching the Boise State football team the past two seasons that it needs to improve on defending Air Force and New Mexico’s option offenses.
The Broncos are 1-3 in their past four games against the Falcons and Lobos, losing to both last season and yielding 36.3 points per game in those four matchups.
With that in mind, Boise State has put in plenty of work this spring on the option.
“It’s a lot more than we have before,” defensive coordinator Andy Avalos said.
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Following Saturday’s scrimmage, Avalos said the final week of spring practices, which conclude Monday following Saturday’s Spring Game, have been spent looking at ways to slow down the option. Junior quarterback Tommy Stuart has been the primary man taking the snaps against the first-team defense, junior linebacker Joe Martarano said.
“It’s been a big point of emphasis, the most we’ve worked on it since I’ve been here, which I think is something we needed,” he said.
Coaches hope working on the option this spring will have a residual effect.
“It’s a different deal,” Boise State coach Bryan Harsin said. “... It’s something where spending time on it and doing it a little bit, you have a chance to tweak it, and have some things on film for the guys to look at in the summer. When it does get to the games, those are different styles. You have really three days to prepare for it (game week). If you can sprinkle some of that in throughout, it’s going to have hopefully a better effect when you recall it during that week.”
Though the offense no doubt must hold up its end of the bargain against those teams, not turning the ball over or giving the ball back quickly, the defense is fired up to show it can defend the tricky offensive system.
“We’re improving a lot. You can see it on film. I think we’re doing a really good job with it, getting on it early so we can take it to them during the season,” sophomore linebacker Leighton Vander Esch said.
NCAA rule against satellite camps could hurt Broncos
Another head-scratching move from the NCAA came Friday when it announced football teams’ satellite camps will be ended immediately.
The camps were used by schools in key recruiting areas to allow them to evaluate high school players in their home area, also helping the potential recruits who may not be able to afford to fly to the school for their hosted camps or for unofficial visits. Now, schools can only host camps on their campus. The Broncos’ camp will be held in June.
Boise State had scheduled at least six satellite camps this summer in California, Texas, Washington, Oregon and Utah.
Two years ago, the Broncos held their first such camp in Texas, and last summer had a pair in California. Among those that passed through the Broncos’ camp in Long Beach was defensive back DeAndre Pierce, who signed in February.
“That’s how I got Boise State and how you can expose yourself to college coaches without paying expenses. Stupid,” he tweeted.
A big winner in the ruling, as usual, is the SEC and most southern-based power conferences, which had raised complaints last year when Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh and staff held camps in Alabama, Florida, Texas, Indiana, Pennsylvania and California. Surprisingly, the Mountain West voted to end satellite camps, according to ESPN’s Brett McMurphy.
Last May, Harsin was supportive of satellite camps when asked about it soon after the Harbaugh story gained steam.
“It’s a good idea, because it’s easier for us to get to areas than it is for everybody to get to us,” Harsin said. “I understand not every conference does it, so there are issues for some coaches ... it gives us an opportunity to get out and work with other coaches. If it changes and everybody’s on the same page, then you’re back to where it was, trying to bring people to your campus, which ultimately is what we want to do, it just isn’t always feasible.”
At ‘steak’ in the spring game
Boise State’s spring game kicks off at 5 p.m. Saturday at Albertsons Stadium. The offense will take on the defense. The winning team gets a steak dinner, the losing team gets foil-wrapped hot dogs. The game will consist of four 10-minute quarters. Following a 12-minute halftime, the third and fourth quarters will feature a running clock.
Here is the scoring system:
6 points — touchdown; 3 points — field goal; 3 points — fourth down conversion; 2 points — 20-plus-yard play; 1 point — PAT
6 Points — touchdown; 3 Points — turnover; 3 points — fourth down stop; 2 Points — three-and-out; 2 Points — sack; 1 Point — field goal inside red zone
Boise State Spring Game
▪ When: 5 p.m. Saturday, Albertsons Stadium
▪ Tickets: Tickets are $10 per person, available at the Boise State athletic ticket office or at BroncoSports.com/tickets; $5 tickets for fans who bring non-perishable canned food item to Idaho Foodbank (3562 S. TK Ave.) between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturday.
▪ Parking: Complimentary parking is available in the stadium’s east lot and Lincoln Garage.
▪ Schedule: Bronco Walk scheduled for 3 p.m. from the Caven-Williams Indoor Sports Complex around the south side of stadium; gates open at 4 p.m.; pre-game ceremony to honor Lyle Smith, who turned 100 on March 17.