Boise State quarterback Brett Rypien has a few things he’s focused on this spring — very specific things.
“Working on my foot quickness in the pocket, being able to be more evasive that way, and probably my deep ball accuracy,” Rypien said. “Especially throwing to my left, that’s something I noticed watching film.”
That’s a heck of a lot more honest answer than the boilerplate “get better everywhere” thrown out during most preseason workouts.
But as a senior, Rypien doesn’t really need to be cautious or coy about what he needs to improve upon or what goes through his mind.
Well in range to finish No. 2 in school history behind Kellen Moore in passing yards, touchdowns and completions, he admits he thinks about what sort of legacy he will leave after the 2018 season is done.
“I think about that all the time. One thing I came here (to do) was go to a New Year’s Six bowl,” said Rypien, who is No. 1 among active FBS quarterbacks with 9,876 career passing yards. “That’s the expectation, the highest standard for us. I haven’t done that my first three years.”
A major key in being able to get the Broncos back into a New Year’s Six game will be making sure the downs in a season are minimal, and don’t come right off the bat like they did in 2017.
Rypien didn’t throw a touchdown pass until October as the Broncos got off to a 2-2 start, and some wondered if backup Montell Cozart was the better option.
“I want to play a full year, being able to be productive from Game 1, that’s the thing I’m focusing on right now, being able to start fast and finish strong,” Rypien said.
Rypien finished last season with 2,877 passing yards, completing 62.6 percent, with 16 touchdowns to six interceptions. He threw one interception in 235 attempts in the last eight regular-season games.
“I’m predicting him to have an amazing senior year,” offensive coordinator Zak Hill said. “He’s preparing like no other … . His junior season was an interesting one — a lot of ups and downs — but he finished strong, and he learned a lot through the process.
“The guys are looking at him as the guy and the leader on this team. It’s going to be fun to see him take over this next year, and really push it to the next level.”
This spring may help Rypien gain confidence, and maybe push the offense a step ahead of where it was last summer.
The Broncos didn’t have their top running back, top wide receiver or three eventual starting offensive linemen for March and April practices last year because of injury. The only returning offensive starter currently out is running back Alexander Mattison.
“You try to build rapport with all the wide receivers, we’re very limited at that position right now,” Rypien said. “… It definitely helps having those guys out there.”
Boise State has five scholarship receivers on hand this spring, each vying to be part of replacing Cedrick Wilson. The Broncos will add five more in the summer. Rypien said part of why he and Wilson were a potent combo was their persistent offseason work.
Junior safety DeAndre Pierce said the defensive backs scheduled time with Rypien and the receivers to do one-on-one drills in the two weeks leading up to spring practices. He said he could feel some frustration on the quarterback’s part last fall, but senses he is in a good place now.
“I feel like this spring, he’s just been himself ... he’s enjoying football, which we all should,” said Pierce, who said Rypien had a 315-pound hang clean this offseason in the weight room.
Whether it is getting stronger, continuing to be the offense’s leader or fine-tuning smaller details, the spring hopefully will prepare Rypien for what may lie ahead. Hill said he is hoping to help Rypien “get ready a little bit for the next level.” All those habits, Rypien hopes, not only do that, but also translate into his best season.
“I want to go out on a high note,” he said.
Five down, 10 to go
Boise State held its fifth of 15 spring practices Monday, and before hitting spring break next week, the team will hold a closed scrimmage Thursday and another April 7. The spring game will be held April 14.