If Riley Smith’s role on the Boise State football team were described using Facebook relationship terminology, the most applicable description would be “it’s complicated.”
Officially, the 6-foot-4, 214-pound redshirt freshman from St. Augustine, Florida, is listed at quarterback. But Smith has been on the field for two snaps this season, and both times he’s lined up at receiver.
“That just tells me what kind of teammate we recruited,” Boise State coach Bryan Harsin said. “When you’ve got a guy that comes in here as a quarterback, you’ve got another quarterback that’s starting, you’ve got a couple guys ahead of him and the guy’s just like: ‘Get me on the field. I’ll do whatever it takes.’ ”
When Boise State (2-0) hosts Portland State (1-1) at 8:15 p.m. on Saturday (ESPN2) at Albertsons Stadium, Smith could get in the game at a number of positions, from quarterback to receiver to tight end.
“You’ll see him on the field here and there,” Boise State tight ends coach Kent Riddle said. “He’s a guy I think as the year progresses you’ll see more and more from him.”
Smith’s size, athleticism and willingness to experiment convinced coaches to invent ways to get him involved in the offense. He even pulled out a pair of receiver gloves during a practice earlier this season.
“I don’t know where he got them,” Harsin said, “but he throws them on, catches a couple balls and we’re like: ‘Alright, this guy can play receiver for us.’ ”
In Boise State’s opener at Florida State, Smith entered the game as a receiver on the Broncos’ second drive of the third quarter on third-and-5 from their own 22-yard line. Quarterback Hank Bachmeier completed an 18-yard pass to receiver Akilian Butler on the play.
Smith once again lined up at receiver on a similar play in his Albertsons Stadium debut last Saturday. This time, Bachmeier overthrew Butler in the end zone with the Broncos facing fourth-and-27 on the Marshall 35.
While Smith has yet to get his hands on a football in game action, his continued presence on the field is likely to cause opposing defenses confusion.
“He’s not where he needs to be weight wise and all that, but Riley Smith can run,” Harsin said. “He’s gonna do some things at wide receiver, tight end, weapon, whatever you want to call him. But we’ll get this guy hopefully more in the game plan, and he can help us.”