Gathered among the top quarterbacks in college football, Boise State junior Brett Rypien found himself deep in conversation with the most decorated one of them all.
Speaking from Steve Clarkson’s Quarterback Retreat in Coronado, Calif., Rypien said he spent about a half-hour Friday night getting to know Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson, the 2016 Heisman Trophy winner.
Rypien and Jackson are among the handful of camp counselors working with the approximately 75 quarterbacks from grades 6-12, leading drills Saturday and Sunday, then having a little quarterback challenge of their own.
“Getting to hang out with the other top quarterbacks, get away from all the pressures we face at our position, it’s a great experience,” Rypien said. “You kind of talk about what they go through as well, what they deal with.
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“I was drawn to Lamar because he was so humble, he could act differently since he won the Heisman and all. We talked about staying focused, being consistent despite the attention you tend to get.”
The Broncos’ quarterback and the rest of the team get back to campus next week. Rypien was a key leader last summer, earning captain status before the start of the 2016 campaign. That role will only continue to grow in the coming weeks before fall camp.
In spring practices, Rypien did not have his likely top receiver (Cedrick Wilson), top running back (Alexander Mattison) and potentially four starting offensive linemen (Archie Lewis, John Molchon, Mason Hampton and Garrett Larson). That gave him a prime opportunity to take command of the offense.
“It definitely helped,” Rypien said. “I’m an upperclassman now, so this will be a big summer for me and this team. We haven’t accomplished our main goal of a Mountain West championship since I’ve been here. We’ve got to be able to take it to another level and work harder, whether it’s more time in the gym, on the field, in the film room.”
Rypien said he hopes that work “builds camraderie when it counts.” In the Broncos’ three losses last season, mistakes compounded on him. He said this spring he at times puts too much on his shoulders and wants to trust teammates to make plays. Offensive coordinator Zak Hill said in March of Rypien: “I think he’s going to take a huge jump.” So, how does he intend to do that?
“I want to be a more complete player, be able to extend plays, be the guy where everyone knows what they’re going to get week in, week out,” Rypien said.
Perhaps Rypien can take a tip or two from Jackson on extending plays: he rushed for 1,571 yards and 21 touchdowns as a sophomore last season.
With 6,999 career passing yards, Rypien is No. 9 on the Football Bowl Subdivision’s active career passing list and second among juniors. He also is a two-time first-team All-Mountain West pick. But he knows he will be tested after losing three starting offensive linemen, top running back and three of his top four receiving targets, hoping his improvements can help offset any adjustment pains.
“There are still a lot of new faces, but I know they’re very hungry,” Rypien said. “I’m going to do everything I can to make us be one of the best offenses in the country again.”
NEW-LOOK UNIFORMS COMING TUESDAY
The Boise State football team will unveil its new-look uniforms at a news conference at 12:30 p.m. Tuesday. Initially, they were to be unveiled May 23, but was pushed back a week.
It will be the first tweak to the team’s uniform template since 2011. Stay tuned to IdahoStatesman.com for photos and video, and see the unveiling live at Facebook.com/boisestatesports.