Bronco Beat

Boise State football spring game primer: format, what to watch for and more

The Boise State football team will conclude its allotted set of 15 spring practices with the annual spring game at 5 p.m. Saturday at Albertsons Stadium.

▪  With a few players out recovering from injuries, not allowing the team to be two-deep across the board, the format will not be offense versus defense, as it was last year. Instead, the team will be split into two squads: Boise State and the Broncos. Captaining the Boise State team, driving toward the north end zone, will be junior tight end Jake Knight and redshirt freshman defensive back Avery Williams. The captains for the Broncos will be junior quarterback Brett Rypien and junior linebacker Leighton Vander Esch.

▪  Scoring will be traditional, eschewing the altered format when the defense faces the offense. Possession changes will include live special teams, an area of focus for the team this spring. The first half will feature two 10-minute quarters, with the second half consisting of two 8-minute quarters with a running clock.

▪  For some fans, it will be a very interactive experience: two fans will be chosen as honorary captains for the coin toss, and two will be selected as honorary coaches, joining the staff on their headsets. At halftime, the team will do a tug-of-war, with a fan represting each side, and the winning fan gets an autographed football from coach Bryan Harsin. Between the third and fourth quarter, two fans will compete for prizes in a field goal kicking competition.

▪  Tickets are $10 at BroncoSports.com/tickets or the athletic ticket office on the west side of the stadium. Parking is free around campus, except for the West Stadium Lot, which is reserved for Stueckle Sky Club patrons. The Bronco Walk will take place at 3 p.m. from the Caven-Williams Sports Complex around the stadium to the Bleymaier Football Center. The main stadium gates open at 4 p.m., and the first 5,000 fans will get 2017 schedule posters. Fans can come onto the Blue after the game to get photos with coaches and players.

▪  Harsin said on Monday “you’re seeing some new faces out there, overall ... I think the young guys that are getting more reps has really helped those guys.” Some newer names that redshirted or played smaller roles last year to look for Saturday include Williams, redshirt freshman quarterback Jake Constantine, redshirt freshman linebacker Desmond Williams, redshirt freshman offensive lineman Ezra Cleveland, sophomore STUD Sam Whitney, redshirt freshman tight end John Bates and sophomore cornerback Reid Harrison-Ducros.

▪  This will be the third scrimmage of the spring for the Broncos. In the first, the defense had the upper hand, and in the second, the offense dominated. Defensive coordinator Andy Avalos said last Saturday, “We’ve been waiting for a day like this to come where we give up some touchdowns, because we want to see how they respond.”

Dave Southorn: 208-377-6420, @davesouthorn

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