Brett Rypien came to Boise State with plenty of buzz, expectations and confidence.
The quarterback played as a true freshman in 2015, the first BSU passer to do so in the 22 years prior, but as he quickly earned a starting role, he wanted the offense to follow his example instead of being vocal about it.
Now, with 23 straight starts under his belt and the Broncos losing some stalwarts on his side of the ball, Rypien knows the second half of his career will be quite a bit different than the first.
“I definitely think it’s changed,” Rypien said. “As a freshman I wasn’t really that vocal ... (I’m) trying to be that guy, talking to the younger guys especially, maybe if they’ve had a bad day, because we all go through those times. You may feel like you’re on the top of the world one day, then the next day feel like the worst player ever.”
Rypien said he has gladly taken on the change to do what’s expected of a leader, even if one of his ideas does involve staying fairly quiet.
The junior quarterback recently took wide receivers A.J. Richardson and Cedrick Wilson out golfing, which included etiquette lessons about not putting bags on the green, not talking while others are swinging and mainly not yelling on the course in general.
“Because A.J.’s a very loud person,” Rypien said.
Rypien, a captain last season, bonded with junior linebacker Leighton Vander Esch, a potential captain himself this year, by going out to shoot guns for the first time. Rypien also took some of his receivers to his hometown of Spokane earlier this month for a relaxing weekend.
Outside of Wilson (56 catches for 1,129 yards and 11 touchdowns last season), the Broncos’ receivers have a combined 29 career receptions. Three of the four team leaders in receptions — Thomas Sperbeck, Jeremy McNichols and Chaz Anderson — departed.
“With Tom being gone, we had a pretty good chemistry, same with Chaz, Jeremy as well, it just takes a lot of time together,” Rypien said. “The biggest thing is spending time off the field and getting to know them.”
And it goes both ways. Rypien’s teammates, and his fans, got to see a different side of him this summer. For instance, he twerked at the Broncos’ women’s clinic on June 1. The players were showing off the team’s new-look uniforms, and Rypien had to follow junior cornerback Tyler Horton, a fine dancer himself.
“He went off and got everybody fired up ... it just kind of happened,” Rypien said. “I saw it on Twitter the next day, and my sisters gave me a lot of grief.
“There’s no shame in it at all. You’ve got to do what you’ve got to do to get them fired up at the women’s clinic.”
As Boise State’s offseason rapidly winds down, Rypien will captain the offense at the Broncos’ charity softball game on July 20, represent the team at the Mountain West Football Media Summit in Las Vegas on July 25-26, and then begin fall camp on Aug. 1.
He said the team’s workouts have “drastically changed” during his time in Boise, focusing on up-tempo ideas. He joked that when asked whether they were the hardest workouts he’s had, he said, “I feel like I hear that every year.”
With the offense needing to develop new weapons, Rypien hopes his off-field work can help. He was a counselor at Steve Clarkson’s Quarterback Retreat in Coronado, Calif., along with some of the nation’s best collegiate passers.
What he saw and learned from the likes of Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson, of Louisville, opened his eyes. Even if you’re not the fastest or the strongest, you have “to find those niches in your game where you can take advantage.”
“I was able to kind of gauge where I need to be,” Rypien said. “It motivates you to keep working harder.”