Boise State Athletic Director Curt Apsey and football coach Bryan Harsin both said last week the Broncos’ blue turf is nearly due for an upgrade.
If Harsin has his way, the iconic blue field at Albertsons Stadium will be bigger and better in time for the 2019 season.
Harsin said he would prefer the turf extends over the concrete areas surrounding the field where the track once was, as players tend to slip on it when coming off the field.
“I’ve seen a lot of people (slip) since I’ve been here, myself included,” Boise State sophomore cornerback Avery Williams said after the opening day of fall camp Friday. “I’ve probably slipped once or twice just running off the field. It gets kind of slippery over there.”
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The Blue at Albertsons Stadium was last replaced in 2010 at no cost to the school by FieldTurf, which responded to complaints from fans and TV viewers about the turf’s dull, uneven shade of blue.
Artificial turf fields usually have a life span of 8 to 10 years, and this will be the ninth season played on the current field. The field passed its most recent safety test in May.
Boise State first installed blue turf in 1986 as a way to attract attention to the program. New blue turfs were installed in 1995, 2002 and 2008. The 2008 installation cost $817,000, and Apsey said he expects a new field before the 2019 season could cost as much as $1 million.
“We are going to find a way to do it,” Apsey recently said on KTIK 93.1 FM. “It’s not a want. It’s a need.”
Harsin also mentioned last week that the sidelines are no longer perfectly straight, noting that a BYU interception return for a touchdown in 2016 was aided by the bowed line.
“I haven’t noticed that it’s not straight, but I’ve noticed that they’re not one, like there’s two pieces. Now that I know that, I’m going to look for one of those (bowed) spots,” Boise State junior running back Alexander Mattison joked after Friday’s first practice.
PLAYERS GIVE PROPS TO POPOVICH
First-year cornerbacks coach Jeff Popovich earned some immediate respect with his new team by joining the Broncos for conditioning this summer.
“He ran 20 decks with us when we ran over the summer,” Boise State junior safety Kekoa Nawahine said. “That’s the first time I’ve seen a coach run all 20 with us, and I like that a lot.”
Popovich played cornerback at Miami (Fla.) from 1996 to 1999 and later spent time on preseason rosters for the Buccaneers and Falcons in 2000 and 2001.
According to players, Popovich is still in impressive shape.
“He’s probably the most beast athletic guy in the DB room, and he’s not even playing,” Williams said. “It’s just nice to have someone that does the work with you. Not just talks about it, but is actually about it. He’s a great leader for us, and I’m really glad we picked him up.”
ROSTER, NUMBER UPDATES
Boise State’s roster expanded as fall camp opened Friday, and the lone number change is junior safety Evan Tyler, who goes from No. 15 to 5.
Among the notable freshmen numbers, receiver Khalil Shakir will sport No. 2, which has been worn by recent standouts at the position such as Austin Pettis and Matt Miller.
Twelve new walk-ons were placed on the roster, including receiver Connor Riddle, a Timberline High graduate whose father, Kent, is the Broncos’ tight ends and special teams coach. Emmett High running back Spencer Keene is the son of boxing great Kenny Keene, who was 51-4 as a pro. Safety Mujeeb Rufai is the younger brother of defensive end Kayode Rufai.
The other walk-ons are TE Kaden DeLuna (McCall-Donnelly High), WR Maclaine Griffin (Westlake Village, Calif.), DE Isaiah Grover (San Juan Capistrano, Calif.), STUD Dylan Herberg (Timberline High), OL Dalton Lins (Lahaina, Hawaii), QB Zach Matlock (Las Vegas), DT Jacob Pinkney (Timberline), OL Keegan Ulrich (Enumclaw, Wash.) and S KJ Walker (Orange Coast College).
SINGLE-GAME TICKETS ON SALE
Tickets for each of Boise State’s six home games at Albertsons Stadium went on sale Friday, and prices start at $19 for general admission in the North End Zone.
Prices for an adult ticket in the curves start at $33, and adult seating in the main stadium begins at $65. Discounted rates are available for juniors and senior citizens.
Season tickets, mini plans and group tickets are also on sale. They can be purchased at BroncoSports.com/tickets or by calling the athletic ticket office at (208) 426-4737.