The last three times the Boise State football team went into the offseason without a clear starter at quarterback, coaches used nearly all of the available time to solidify their choice.
Coach Bryan Harsin said Tuesday he expects a similar timeline this year.
The Broncos resumed spring ball Tuesday after a week off for spring break. They’ll hold a closed scrimmage Saturday and the Spring Game/Kellen Moore celebration April 11 (5 p.m.).
Sophomore Ryan Finley, sophomore Tommy Stuart, redshirt freshman Alex Ogle and true freshman Brett Rypien are the quarterback candidates. Only Finley, last year’s backup, has played a down of major college football.
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“When you’ve got four guys that you’re trying to rep in there, it’s difficult,” Harsin said. “We’re going to have to cut down those a little bit, but not much, because spring is giving guys opportunities. Where they’ll start to separate is in the summertime because I still think you can get a lot done, especially at that position.”
Fall camp opens Aug. 6. The season opener is Sept. 4 at Albertsons Stadium against Washington.
The last three Boise State quarterback derbies culminated with starter announcements on Aug. 26 (2012, Joe Southwick), Aug. 20 (2008, Kellen Moore) and Aug. 24 (2007, Taylor Tharp).
Those were five (Southwick), 10 (Moore) and seven (Tharp) days before the season openers. Harsin was the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for the Moore and Tharp decisions.
Based on past schedules, the Broncos likely will begin game-specific practices around Aug. 27.
“We want it right,” Harsin said. “We’ve kind of been in that 10-day window prior to the first game. We may have made the decision prior, but that’s kind of when we get to the announcement. That’s where we get more into some scout work.”
But there isn’t a sense of urgency to make a decision until August, Harsin said. A competition, he says, needs time to play out. The quarterbacks, like every other player on the team, will have 1-on-1 evaluation sessions with their position coach (offensive coordinator Eliah Drinkwitz) and Harsin after spring ball.
“They’ve got that entire summer to (improve) and these guys will be different,” Harsin said. “They’ll show up and be different in fall camp. We don’t need to have a guy coming out (of spring). They’ll all lead in the summer. ... Come fall camp, we don’t want to be in this situation. We have to really separate ourselves, and somebody will do that based off summer and what they do in fall.”
Nickels add value
Senior nickel Mercy Maston grabbed two interceptions in Tuesday’s practice, Harsin said.
Maston and junior college transfer Kam Miles have given the coaches hope that they’ll be able to stick with plans to have a defensive back play nickel and Tanner Vallejo play middle linebacker.
McNichols on mend
Sophomore tailback Jeremy McNichols (hernia surgery) remains sidelined. Harsin hopes to get him at least into some drills before the end of spring ball.