Bronco Beat

Thinned roster allowing Boise State football to get healthy players plenty of snaps

The Boise State football team held its first scrimmage of the spring Thursday behind closed doors, but coach Bryan Harsin met with the media afterward to discuss what he saw.

Harsin said he was happy to see the players who redshirted last year, who mainly did scout team work, able to “cut it loose.” He said the team’s technique emphasis has shown up, but there is still plenty of work to be done. Redshirt freshman Joel Velazquez could be the Broncos’ kicker and punter this season, and Harsin said he kicked well in field goal and extra point situations.

With a long list of potential/likely starters out, this spring has been a prime opportunity to build the depth Harsin has sought, but did not have last season. Among the walking wounded are running back Alexander Mattison, receiver Cedrick Wilson, offensive linemen Archie Lewis, Mason Hampton, John Molchon and Garrett Larson, STUD Jabril Frazier and safety Evan Tyler.

“They’re handling it well,” Harsin said. “Those guys are taking advantage of it, they’re getting more reps. ... We’ll probably get 1,200 reps overall this spring, not every guy’s getting that many, but you want to see these get 400-500 reps. I think (especially) at running back, linebacker, they’ve been able to do that.”

From using players like Durrant Miles and Sam Whitney at STUD with Frazier and Gabe Perez dinged up, or someone like freshman Tyson Maeva at middle linebacker, the Broncos did have to dip into their reserves a bit last season. Harsin hopes if it comes to that, the team is ready, and at best, can use a deep rotation at certain positions.

“We want to be three-deep,” Harsin said. “You go back to our season, you guys know how fast we were into our third-string guys that were playing.

“Do we have guys out there that will be playing in the fall right now? No. As far as the guys that are playing, they need to play, because you never know what’s going to happen.”

▪  Senior running back Ryan Wolpin broke off two long runs and a long reception when the media was at Saturday’s practice. He’s the most experienced player getting consistent snaps in the group.

“He’s really stepped up, I’m really happy with Ryan: I think everybody has, not just offensively, but on special teams,” Harsin said. “He’s accepted the challenge, with Alexander being out, this is his opportunity to be the most experienced guy, getting those reps. He’s done an excellent job.”

▪  The team will have a meeting Friday before heading off into spring break, reconvening next Sunday in another meeting before getting right back at it with Monday, March 27’s practice. Will the week off have an effect?

“We’ll see, every team is different,” Harsin said. “Usually, when we come off spring break, we’ve taken that Monday and we’ve ran, we’ve worked out and practiced the next day. We’re not doing that this year. We’re coming back, we’ll be in shells right away.

“To me, that’s going to tell me a lot about this team.”

▪  Boise State officially signed middle linebacker Joseph Inda on Wednesday. Harsin spoke about him for the first time Thursday.

“We were looking at the linebacker position regardless of Joey (Martarano’s) situation already,” Harsin said. “... He’s overcome a lot. I was extremely excited, we sat down like ‘this is a no-brainer.’ He can play, we have the need and this guy’s character, from my standpoint, was exactly what we’re looking for.”