Redshirt senior defensive tackle David Moa and redshirt junior safety DeAndre Pierce acted like exuberant rookies on the first day of the Boise State football team’s fall camp Friday morning.
Both veterans have good reason to be grateful after recovering from extensive injuries last season.
Moa had surgery in January to repair a partially torn Achilles tendon he sustained during player conditioning last July while running up the steep, sandy hill at Camel’s Back Park. After missing the first two games of the 2018 season, Moa was cleared to play against Oklahoma State, but ended up reinjuring his Achilles just 12 plays into the game.
“Going into Oklahoma State, it felt pretty good, the best it’s been since I got injured,” Moa said. “Part of me just wanted to be out there with our guys, too, especially a big game like that. So I might have rushed it a little bit, but we’re here now, got everything settled and the first day of practice today felt good.”
Pierce revealed Thursday that the spleen laceration he sustained at Wyoming last season was the result of sickle cell trait, which is an inherited blood disorder. He will have to monitor the condition throughout his career, particularly when playing at high altitude.
“When we played at that high of an altitude — at 7,200 feet — my blood thins out,” Pierce said. “So my spleen was losing oxygen, and over the course of the game, it just got weaker and weaker, and then it just busted.”
Pierce participated in spring practices but said he was limited. He has since bulked up from 173 pounds last season to 185, and is lifting more weight than he did before he sustained the injury.
“I couldn’t do anything for three months,” Pierce said. “October 1st to January 15th, I was just sitting on my butt. I couldn’t do a push-up. I couldn’t jog. I couldn’t do sit-ups. I couldn’t do anything.
“... Everything being 100 percent and not holding anything back, it’s been great to go out there, especially now that it’s for real. We’re about to start the season.”
Linebacker earns scholarship
Coach Bryan Harsin announced after Friday’s practices that redshirt junior linebacker Bruno DeRose was put on scholarship.
That leaves the Broncos with one open scholarship.
“We’ll use it,” Harsin said.
Ostrander, Rypien honored
While their college careers are over, Allie Ostrander and Brett Rypien received one last nod from Boise State on Friday.
Ostrander and Rypien were chosen as the Broncos’ 2018-19 Female and Male Athletes of the Year, respectively.
In June, Ostrander became the first three-time national champion in Boise State history with her third consecutive win in the women’s 3,000-meter steeplechase. She also earned first-team All-American honors in cross country and indoor track. She graduated from Boise State in May with a degree in kinesiology and a 4.0 GPA.
Rypien polished off his four years as the Broncos’ starting quarterback with Mountain West Offensive Player of the Year honors. He became the league’s all-time leader in passing yards (13,581), completions (1,036) and 300-yard games (21). Rypien also was a four-time academic all-conference pick and graduated with a degree in business.
True freshman running back George Holani participated in Friday’s veteran practice. “For a young player, he has proved himself at least to come out here and practice with the first group,” Harsin said. “Today he did a good job.” ... The Broncos released their 2019 football roster Friday morning, and there were two returners who switched numbers. Offensive lineman Garrett Curran went from 74 to 69, and linebacker Nick Provenzano swapped 95 for 45. ... Redshirt senior kicker Eric Sachse, a graduate transfer from Trinity College in Connecticut, was added to the roster as a walk-on. ... Redshirt sophomore Ezekiel Noa was moved from weakside linebacker to middle linebacker.