It’s the time of year when no one sees the Boise State football team — no fans, media, or even coaches, most of the time. But there is work being done, from weights and conditioning to player-run practices.
That last component long ago became standard in college football, and it can help build chemistry as fall camp approaches, plus let the Broncos hit the ground running when it does.
And there is one buzzword that every single player who has spoken to the media recently has uttered — giving a glimpse into what the Broncos are trying to accomplish and how they are on the same page.
“We’re a lot more disciplined this year, we’re a lot more player-driven, there’s a lot of players coaching each other,” junior cornerback Avery Williams said. “You have to drop your ego to take coaching from a teammate. We’re headed in the right direction.”
Williams said the team met in the winter and “discussed every possible way we could get better.” The common thread in each group that the team was broken down into was “that we need to be player-driven, accountable to each other.” It wasn’t necessarily an issue in the season, but the team agreed it had to be improved.
“We’re going to push each other and we’re not going to let each other slack because at the end of the day this is our team and we’re playing for each other and we’ve got a lot more than ourselves in this,” senior safety Kekoa Nawahine said.
Since coaches are allowed 8 hours of contact with players per week in the summer for strength and conditioning work, that leaves a lot of time the players must keep themselves in check. The work with coaches cannot involve any equipment (even footballs), so the players run their own practices with no eyes on them but their own.
“Coaches can only push that so far, to a point where we have to take over ourselves, and I think this year that’s really taken hold and it’s really impressive to see it work out in (player-run practices),” junior linebacker Benton Wickersham said.
There has been a sharp focus on each portion of those practices, too.
“We’re focusing on the purpose for each individual drill, each team period, having reasons for why we’re doing things, not going out there just to complete a practice, being more intentional,” senior offensive lineman John Molchon said.
Though the team lost a key senior in quarterback Brett Rypien, there are plenty of veterans who have a lot of experience and have kept things running smoothly. In fact, the accountability has made things a little more enjoyable, players say.
“What I’ve got to say is different than the last two seasons, there hasn’t really been complaining, people slowing down when things start getting hard, that just hasn’t been the case this year,” junior offensive tackle Ezra Cleveland said.