Boise State football coach Bryan Harsin’s quarterback exam will continue into late August, he said Thursday night.
The Broncos held a closed scrimmage Thursday. While sophomore favorite Ryan Finley has performed well in the first nine practices of fall camp, Harsin said, his young challengers have narrowed the gap last year’s backup built during spring ball.
Harsin had predicted the gap would shrink as sophomore Tommy Stuart, redshirt freshman Alex Ogle and true freshman Brett Rypien improved their knowledge of the offense over the summer.
“The gap has closed,” Harsin said. “Ryan has done a very nice job. He’s executed. He’s managed the offense. He’s made plays. Tommy has done the same thing, has executed the offense well, has made plays. Rypien has really done a great job of catching up, being a young guy. And Alex Ogle, from spring to where he is now, his knowledge is better and he understands it and we know he has some great physical tools.”
Harsin has plenty more tests he wants the quarterbacks to face before making a decision, including an open scrimmage at 6:30 p.m. Aug. 21 at Albertsons Stadium. Admission is free.
Finley is the only quarterback who has played in a game for the Broncos.
“There’s so many scenarios we still have to cover in practice and let these guys go out there and practice that scenario and then evaluate what happens,” Harsin said. “We’re just not there yet. That will tie into the second scrimmage and then after that, we’ll have most of the scenarios that we need to make the decision done and then we’ll figure out from there what the timeframe is to do that.”
The school didn’t release stats from the scrimmage. The quarterbacks fared well as a group, Harsin said.
“There were some bad things that happened and they didn’t make it worse,” he said. “They made some plays as well and directed the offense. That’s what we want.”
Finley has taken as many second-team snaps as first-team snaps, Harsin said. Coaches have tried to expose each of the quarterbacks to each group.
“All those guys have pushed on certain days,” Harsin said.
A crowd at tailback
The crew of tailbacks competing for a spot in the rotation delivered “some really good, physical runs” in the scrimmage, Harsin said.
“There were some 2-, 3-yard runs in there, but they were physical and that’s really what we were looking for,” he said.
The Broncos haven’t sustained any injuries during camp that will affect game availability, Harsin said.
Junior wide receiver Rick Smith continues to work his way back into playing shape. Harsin indicated before camp that Smith wouldn’t be full speed right away as he returns from an injury that occurred in a locker room incident earlier this year.
“He looks good out there,” Harsin said. “He has worked himself back into football shape. So far, so good. He still needs time just to get back in there and take a few more reps. ... We want to make sure our guys are prepared and ready to go out there before they play and I think we have a pretty good plan for that.”
Junior Chanceller James, a starter at safety before he was injured in November, is competing with senior Mercy Maston at nickel. Maston redshirted with an injury last season.
Sophomore transfer Kam Miles, who played nickel in the spring, is playing safety in fall camp.
“(James) is going to bring that physicality to that position,” Harsin said. “He did tonight. I thought he played physical. It was good to get him back out there. He has done so much to rehab himself back into where he’s at right now and competing for a starting position.”