We’re counting down the days to the Boise State football team’s first spring practice with daily blog posts on players to watch. Spring ball begins March 9 and ends with the Spring Game on April 11.
10. QB Ryan Finley
Finley, a redshirt sophomore, is the only quarterback on the roster with game experience at the major college level. Most of his playing time came in the loss at Air Force, when he was 12-for-25 for 161 yards and two touchdowns with one interception and one sack while leading the Broncos’ only scoring drives of the game.
He’ll open the spring as the front-runner to win the starting job because of that experience and a long-standing trend at Boise State. Other than Kellen Moore in 2008, every Boise State starting quarterback of the WAC/Mountain West era (since 2001) served as the backup or co-backup before getting the job.
But this is the most difficult to predict quarterback race for the Broncos in that time, too.
The other scholarship quarterbacks include redshirt sophomore Tommy Stuart, who didn’t play last year after transferring from junior college; redshirt freshman Alex Ogle, who ran the scout team last season; and true freshman Brett Rypien, who enrolled in January and is one of the most-hyped recruits in school history.
The group will learn from a new quarterbacks coach, Eliah Drinkwitz, and Finley will play for the third offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach in his three years as a Bronco.
The quarterbacks will be surrounded by a talented, experienced offense that returns all five starting offensive linemen and nine starters in all — everyone except quarterback Grant Hedrick and tailback Jay Ajayi. But they also will face a defense that returns eight starters.
Notre Dame finally was set to make its coaching staff announcement this afternoon, but the press conference was postponed until Monday because of the passing of a former school president. Former Boise State offensive coordinator Mike Sanford accepted a job there about two weeks ago but hasn’t been formally introduced yet.
Washington coach Chris Petersen did an extensive interview this week with radio station KJR. Here is a full transcript from The News Tribune in Tacoma, Wash.
The last two questions were about the season opener at Boise State, against Petersen’s former team. Here’s what he said:
— On the Huskies playing at Boise State and the emotions of Petersen returning there: “I’m not worried about myself. What needs to happen around here is for everybody that’s going to play in that game from over here, they need to understand how emotional that game is. I mean, there will be as much energy and focus and excitement as any game in college football in a long time. I just know how that is. In the past when we played over there when it was a big game and a Pac-12 team would come in, everybody wants to see that, because there’s not many Pac-12 teams that go over there on the blue turf. So when that happens, the fans are excited, but the players will be extremely, extremely focused and ready to go. We’re still worried about ourselves around here, but down the road, everybody’s going to have to understand what we’re walking into.”
— On whether he gets emotional about going to Boise: “I’ll tell you this – it’s always hard when you’re playing your friends. We’ve done that over the years where you play some guys you’re very close to, and then certainly some of those kids we recruited over there. you don’t like to do that. But then when the game happens, the game happens. That’s how it is. When I was at Boise and we played Oregon, everybody was talking about the same thing, to go back there. and when the game starts, you’re just playing. You’re not worried about any of that type of stuff, and the game is always so emotional. I don’t see this like, OK, now it’s more emotional, it’s more important. Every game that we play is just so important and so emotional. And for us I think it’s always about as coaches to keep our emotions in check, and that will trickle down to the players, hopefully.”
When Rypien signed early with Boise State, I asked coach Bryan Harsin about the possibility of using the financial aid agreement for early enrollees more often. He said the coaching staff needed to be cautious because the school could face NCAA penalties if it signed a player who didn’t eventually enroll. Recruits who sign FAAs aren’t bound to the school, which is able to communicate with them more freely.
LSU recently got hit with sanctions for just that reason. Here is the story.
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