Nobody has benefited more from the Boise State football team’s quarterback switch than junior wide receiver Thomas Sperbeck.
Sperbeck has 11 catches for 254 yards and three touchdowns since true freshman Brett Rypien became the Broncos’ quarterback in the second half of the Idaho State game. That’s about 100 yards per game and 23.1 yards per catch.
Sperbeck had 11 catches for 94 yards without a TD with Ryan Finley and Tommy Stuart at quarterback. That’s about 37 yards per game and 8.5 yards per catch.
With Rypien throwing, Sperbeck has catches of 46, 64, 51, 30 and 21 yards. All came on vertical routes.
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“It feels good,” Sperbeck said. “With those (first two games), you know that’s going to happen throughout the year. It happens to a lot of receivers. You just have to be patient and know the offense is going to start rolling eventually.”
Sperbeck isn’t known as the Broncos’ deep threat but he has proven potent on those routes.
Last year, he didn’t have a catch of 40-plus yards after the Oct. 24 game against BYU. Much of his damage was done on routes over the middle that allowed him to run with the ball. He averaged 17.2 yards per catch.
This year, he ranks fourth in the Mountain West at 15.8 yards per catch — a number that is rising quickly.
“I haven’t run a lot of deep routes, so I think maybe the defenses are sleeping on me,” Sperbeck said. “I don’t know — I’ve just been able to get open.”
His highlight-reel play last week against Hawaii was the 21-yard TD. He dragged one foot just in bounds in the back corner of the end zone.
The play drew coaches’ praise for Sperbeck’s catch and Rypien’s decision. The play was designed to go to tight end Jake Roh but Rypien read that the Hawaii safety wasn’t going to be able to get to the corner of the end zone and threw to Sperbeck instead.
Sperbeck never expected to get the ball in that situation.
“I was kind of surprised, but I was happy, too,” he said. “It’s definitely a big confidence booster for everybody because that’s such a hard decision to make and he just went for it.”
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In the practice highlights below from Tuesday, the first clips are from a ball security drill. Coaches frequently referenced Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson, who fumbled at the goal line in a game-deciding play on Monday Night Football, and Seahawks safety Kam Chancellor, who forced the fumble.
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Here are some of the interview videos from the week. I’ll have posts later this week on some of what’s in them. The Julius Brown interview provides great perspective on Darian Thompson and Donte Deayon.