Boise State first-year co-offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Zak Hill was immediately impressed with Brett Rypien’s ability when he joined the Broncos’ staff. The next step is turning him from good to great. “He’s fairly polished. It’s just kind of now putting the finishing touches on things,” Hill said. “He’s fun to work with.’’
With a season under his belt and the game slowing down a bit for him, Rypien said he’s spent the offseason continuing to digest the offense, which former QB Kellen Moore joked has an “infinite” amount of plays.
“He knows that playbook like the back of his hand,” junior running back Jeremy McNichols said.
Said senior receiver Thomas Sperbeck: “I’d say he’s more comfortable with his reads. Going from (option) one to two, even three to four. I think that’s a huge step for him, and he’s definitely improved in that area.”
Asked to pinpoint an area of needed improvement, Rypien said: “deep ball accuracy.”
He said this fall camp, the quarterbacks have spent more time than last throwing deep balls and sharpening deep pass techniques.
In June, Rypien tossed a football from midfield into a basketball hoop behind the sideline, flashing a glimpse of that accuracy.
“We’ve got guys that can make plays and are going to be able to get open. A lot of that was working time as well, getting with the guys this summer and making sure we know we’re throwing a fade versus press coverage versus off coverage, that type of stuff,” Rypien said.
Rypien was sacked 13 times in the three losses when he played last season. The offensive line has said it wants to give him more time, and it’s a big part of what the quarterbacks have worked on this offseason.
Rypien said in the spring, if a throw wasn’t perfect, Hill would point to a too-long stride or an off-angle motion. Hill’s offenses at Eastern Washington often had quarterbacks throw quickly and throw a lot.
“We’ve been working on fundamentals, trying to get the ball out a little quicker ... tightening the motion up a little bit,” Hill said.
One of the things head coach Bryan Harsin noticed about Rypien going into fall camp was that “he just looks different.” Rypien has added a few pounds and hopes it enables him to move around better in the pocket, perhaps shed some sack attempts.
“The biggest change was muscle mass. I dropped about 4 percent body fat. I think that’s helped me with my overall stamina, think my core has gotten a lot better, too, working some different pocket stuff,” Rypien said.
Hill said he has focused on Rypien’s footwork, and how that can help him in any situation, be it moving around inside the pocket, out of it, or simply setting a solid base. More quick feet drills have been used to bring that up, and Hill said it has worked.
“More athleticism ... he’s getting his feet set a lot quicker,” Hill said. “Play action, just feeling that hard plant foot, the balance of being able to rhythm into a throw or be able to really stick it and get a ball out. I think he’s really improved over camp.”