Like a bench player in basketball, sometimes the backup quarterback needs to be the hype man.
Boise State junior Tommy Stuart isn’t always on the sideline, serving as a change of pace to sophomore Brett Rypien with his ability to run, but he brings the energy at all times for the Broncos’ offense.
“Celebrations, that’s kind of my thing,” Stuart said.
After throwing his first collegiate touchdown pass last Sept. 18 against Idaho State, Stuart was the first to celebrate with tight end Holden Huff after he hauled in the 9-yard strike.
A redshirt junior, Stuart said “I’m kind of the old guy in the room now,” that he’s tried to bring an adult presence to the group, but that doesn’t mean he can’t let it loose sometimes.
“I do the bow and arrow at practice once in a while,” Stuart said. “Today, we scored a touchdown, so I was breaking out the bow and arrow down the sideline. Defense wasn’t too fond of it, but I had a good time doing it.”
Last season, Stuart’s first with the Broncos after redshirting in 2014 following his transfer from Butte (Calif.) College, he completed 12-of-18 passes for 114 yards with the touchdown to Huff, adding 62 yards on the ground and three more touchdowns. He only threw five passes outside of the Idaho State game, but now as the primary backup following the transfers of Alex Ogle and Ryan Finley, he’s ready for more. Stuart said working with co-offensive coordinator Zak Hill has improved his arm strength, adding that his spiral is stronger, too.
“I’m not going to run 50 yards, 60 yards down the field and beat everyone in a foot race, but if I can get small chunks and first downs on third down and second down, it can help the team a lot,” Stuart said. “... if I need to go in there and run the ball 10 times or if I need to throw the ball 10 times, whatever it takes to get the ‘W’ just like against Idaho State last year.”
One player creating some buzz in fall camp has been sophomore linebacker Leighton Vander Esch, the former walk-on from Salmon River High. The 6-foot-4, 236-pound WILL linebacker has 20 tackles last season, including a sack and a fumble recovery, plus had a 10-yard run on a fake punt. Also a state basketball champion at Salmon River, he showed his dunking skills Monday when the team played some basketball before practice.
“You guys will see a lot of him this year. He’s amazing,” junior STUD Gabe Perez said.
Boise State’s true freshmen are not available for interviews, but the Broncos will be posting short profiles on them during fall camp. The first was released Tuesday with tight end John Bates.