Boise State offensive lineman John Molchon entered the 2019 season as a senior captain expected to lead the Broncos offense from his left guard spot.
Before the first game was over, he was playing right tackle because of an injury to John Ojukwu.
Two weeks later, he was playing left tackle in place of injured starter Ezra Cleveland.
It’s not at all how Molchon expected this year to go — not that he minds.
“It’s already a season to remember,” he said. “It’s been awesome. Being able to play with different people and different positions has been super helpful for me. Kind of just doing whatever I can to help the team is my biggest mindset. My goal is to win a championship. There’s no individual goal that I’m really worried about besides helping the team.”
Molchon could return to left guard Saturday at UNLV (8:30 p.m., CBS Sports Network) with Ojukwu on the mend and Cleveland returning for the Air Force game two weeks ago.
And that would only be part of the homecoming for Molchon: He also will be playing in his hometown of Las Vegas. His parents attend most games, but this is the only time Molchon will play a regular-season game in Las Vegas.
“They get to save some money on this trip,” Molchon joked.
Molchon’s versatility has been a key factor in the Broncos’ 4-0 start, as were his two fumble recoveries. The Broncos returned all five starting offensive linemen from last year but already have given three linemen their first career starts.
Coach Bryan Harsin said Molchon didn’t really have a hand in the decision to move, but “that’s what a captain does, right?”
“That’s because of his football intelligence, because of the type of player he is,” Harsin said of the versatility. “... I think we showed some depth at the offensive line position, but having a guy who can do all those things has been exactly what we needed.”
Boise State will continue to use backup quarterback Chase Cord and third-stringer Jaylon Henderson in packages, Harsin said. In fact, he hopes to leave Cord in the game for consecutive plays.
“Chase, he’s improved himself and he’s proved himself in practice, where he can go out there and operate,” Harsin said. “... It gives a little bit different look to our offense, as well, when he’s back there, and I think that gives us an advantage.”
‘Moa Constrictor’ fully unleashed
Since his surgery to repair a torn Achilles tendon in January, defensive tackle David Moa has been on a regimented recovery plan.
Moa was cleared to play in the Broncos’ season opener at Florida State, but his reps have been limited through the first four games. Starting Saturday, the training wheels come off.
“I feel so fresh right now, especially coming off that bye week,” Moa said. “I’m always talking about it, but the doctors had a plan for me, and the game plan was after four games, they’re just gonna let me loose and you’re full go after that. No more excuses.”
The sixth-year senior, who was granted an extra year because he played only one game last season, has nine tackles and one fumble recovery.
“We always talk about enjoying the journey, too,” Moa said. “And my journey has been long — as we all know. Still, it’s just those little things — the practices, working out, just sitting back and saying like, ‘Dang, this is my last year doing these things.’ It’s been awesome.”
About that dinner ...
ESPN has referenced a sushi dinner between starting quarterback Hank Bachmeier and offensive linemen after the Florida State game as a potential “sorry” from the blockers.
But Molchon said it was actually a chance for he and center Garrett Larson, both seniors, to chat with the true freshman quarterback and get his perspective on the game and a better feel for what he’s seeing in the pocket.
“We just wanted to take some time to just hang out with him, kind of somewhat get our minds off of football,” Molchon said, “but also chat about it. ... That first game was really a lot and we wanted to kind of chat with him and kind of help him in any way.”
BOISE STATE AT UNLV
When: 8:30 p.m. MT Saturday
Where: Sam Boyd Stadium (35,500, artificial turf), Las Vegas
TV: CBS Sports Network (Carter Blackburn, Aaron Taylor, Jenny Dell)
Radio: KBOI 670 AM/KTIK 93.1 FM (Bob Behler, Pete Cavender)
Records: Boise State is 4-0 overall, 1-0 Mountain West; UNLV is 1-3, 0-1
Series: Boise State leads 7-3 (last meeting: Boise State won 42-25 in 2016 in Boise)
Vegas line: Boise State by 22 1/2
Weather: 85 degrees, sunny, light winds