Thomas Sperbeck and Cedrick Wilson are getting a majority of the production in the Boise State passing game, that is no secret.
The wide receiver tandem has caught 86-of-166 completions this season, or 51.8 percent. Add in receptions by junior running back Jeremy McNichols (27), and it’s 68.1 percent.
But other wide receivers are emerging, particularly on the outside. Senior Chaz Anderson and sophomore Sean Modster have helped provide more options in recent weeks.
“Any time you can build depth and distribute the ball to different guys, for a defense, it makes it harder to prepare for ... especially going later into the season,” Boise State sophomore quarterback Brett Rypien said.
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And they get it done with different styles.
CHAZ ANDERSON: BRINGS INTANGIBLES
He is the Broncos’ fourth-leading receiver this season with 22 receptions for 284 yards. A converted cornerback, he takes pride in being the one who often gets a group of reserved personalities going.
“I’m considered a small wideout, so I have to bring some type of energy, grit and attitude to the position. That’s what I try to do,” Anderson said. “Sometimes I’m running like a chicken with its head cut off out there, but as long as I do my assignment, just try to do it with a smile on my face.”
Often used as a deep threat the previous two seasons, he averaged 21.7 yards per catch as a sophomore, but had one fewer reception than he does in 2016. He has nine catches for 128 yards in the past three games.
“A very infectious personality,” wide receivers coach Junior Adams said. “He comes out to practice, when he’s smiling, laughing, joking around and playing fast, he’s pretty darn good.”
Though he is behind his 42-reception, 578-yard pace of last season, Anderson has become a more well-rounded receiver. His blocking on the edge has helped aid some of McNichols’ long runs this season.
“My mentality is to impose my will on a defender. That’s what I’m going to try to do every play to spring ... everybody free,” Anderson said.
Anderson said in his senior year, “I’m just having fun.” He’s said the growing pains of moving from defense to becoming a key target on offense, the drops he dealt with over the past year, trusting he would get better and being patient was virtuous.
“I thought the saying was so cliche. ... I see it every year that it really makes sense, it really hits home with me,” Anderson said.
SEAN MODSTER: PATIENCE PAYING OFF
Always an intriguing talent, Modster has shown considerable ability in practices and scrimmages. But on game days, it had yet to show up until two weeks ago.
That’s when Modster had four catches for 82 yards against BYU, then added two for 27 yards against Wyoming on Saturday. He had four catches for 50 yards in his first 14 games before his breakout showing against the Cougars on Oct. 20.
“I had to be patient, but once my time came, I was ready for it,” Modster said.
The sophomore is on the other end of the motivational spectrum than Anderson. He said he “doesn’t have a big voice,” preferring to be the lead-by-example type.
“He’s really quiet, not a big rah-rah guy,” Rypien said. “... He can play in the slot, he can play outside, a well-rounded receiver.”
Seeing his most action in the past two games, Modster said, “Being out there really has given me a lot of confidence.”
And with Sperbeck and Anderson graduating this year, he should be a key part of the passing game in the future.
“My role right now is a backup. If any starter goes down, I want to go in there, take (over) his spot and get the job done,” Modster said.
San Jose State at No. 24 Boise State
- When: 8:15 p.m. Friday
- Where: Albertsons Stadium (36,387, FieldTurf)
- TV: ESPN2 (Dave Lamont, Ray Bentley)
- Radio: KBOI 670 AM/KTIK 93.1 FM (Bob Behler, Pete Cavender)
- Records: Boise State 7-1, 3-1; San Jose State 3-6, 2-3 Mountain West
- Series: Boise State leads 12-0 (won last season 40-23 in San Jose)
- Vegas line: Boise State by 28 1/2
- Kickoff weather: 50s, with light winds