Boise State Football

Harsin pleased with starters in scrimmage on ‘separation day’

Boise State football coach Bryan Harsin, post-Aug. 19, part I

Boise State football coach Bryan Harsin discusses the Broncos' closed scrimmage and his team's progress in fall camp Aug. 19, 2016.
Up Next
Boise State football coach Bryan Harsin discusses the Broncos' closed scrimmage and his team's progress in fall camp Aug. 19, 2016.


Two weeks from the opener at Louisiana, the Broncos’ first-team units have coach Bryan Harsin feeling good.

Boise State held a scrimmage behind closed doors Friday, and Harsin felt positive about what he called “the usual suspects,” such as sophomore quarterback Brett Rypien and the veteran linebacking corps.

“I thought the majority of the starters played like starters, I thought the majority of the backups played like starters. ... Still too many guys playing like backups,” Harsin said. “I thought the (No.) 3s and the young guys were just OK. I thought the (No. 3) offense was not very good today. I thought the defense played well.”

The scrimmage was what Harsin called “separation day,” giving the staff an opportunity to see who would fit where on the depth chart and who would be best suited to work on the scout team. That included a crop of true freshmen who may play right away. Harsin pointed to walk-on nose tackle Sonatane Lui, kicker/punter Joel Velazquez, running back Alexander Mattison and defensive tackle Chase Hatada.

“Chase Hatada’s a guy that we’ve all been impressed with. We don’t know what that means yet. ... it got real, he got to play against some better players today,” Harsin said. “How he performed today will determine whether we do something with him.”

A few notes from Harsin’s media session Friday:

▪  Sophomore Jabril Frazier and redshirt freshman Sam Whitney have been competing for first-team snaps at STUD defensive end. Junior Gabe Perez has missed a few practices, Harsin said, but is still in the mix.

▪  Senior Will Adams and junior Archie Lewis continue to battle for the starting left tackle spot and “we’ve got to solidify that in the next couple days.”

▪  Harsin again said no major injuries have happened thus far in camp.

▪  Speaking for the first time since the Broncos publicly acknowledged they will make a pitch to the Big 12 for possible membership, Harsin said “it’s been a presidential conversation ... the document they used, there’s great stuff in there.” He said he hasn’t had many discussions about it, but President Bob Kustra and Athletic Director Curt Apsey have asked for “some advice” from Harsin, who spent the 2011 and 2012 seasons at Texas.


Harsin said the team put redshirt junior walk-on long snapper Matt Cota on scholarship Thursday. The Eagle High graduate has also worked at Cabela’s in addition to his football and school responsibilities, Harsin said. Cota is the second walk-on put on scholarship during fall camp, joining offensive lineman Kellen Buhr (Capital High). “It was a good moment in the team room,” Harsin said.

“There’s not very many guys on our team that’s ever had that schedule, so I think those guys appreciate that a whole lot.”

Cota is the 14th walk-on the last six years to be put on scholarship, the 10th from Idaho.


A name that has been mentioned quite a bit the last three weeks is 6-foot-1, 208-pound junior linebacker Blake Whitlock, a walk-on from Saddleback (Calif.) College.

Defensive coordinator Andy Avalos noted how well he ran in the offseason prior to fall camp, and special teams coordinator Kent Riddle said Thursday he’s standing out.

“He’s got quite a few reps — he doesn’t know everything, but he’s actually played fairly well,” Harsin said. “He’s certainly putting himself in a position to contribute.”

Dave Southorn: 208-377-6420, @IDS_southorn

Related stories from Idaho Statesman