Bronco Beat

Boise State football coach Bryan Harsin on QBs, scrimmage, secondary

The Boise State football team still doesn’t have a starting quarterback – and won’t for a while, coach Bryan Harsin said Thursday night.

The Broncos held a closed scrimmage Thursday.

The three challengers have closed the gap on favorite Ryan Finley, Harsin said, but Finley has played well.

Harsin has plenty more tests he wants the quarterbacks to face before making a decision, including an open scrimmage at 6:30 p.m. Aug. 21 at Albertsons Stadium. Admission is free.

Finley, a sophomore, is the only quarterback who has played in a game for the Broncos.

“The gap has closed,” Harsin said. “Ryan has done a very nice job. He’s executed. He’s managed the offense. He’s made plays. Tommy (Stuart) has done the same thing, has executed the offense well, has made plays. (Brett) Rypien has really done a great job of catching up, being a young guy. And Alex Ogle, from spring to where he is now, his knowledge is better and he understands it and we know he has some great physical tools.”

Harsin said he doesn’t want to make a decision yet.

“There’s so many scenarios we still have to cover in practice and let these guys go out there and practice that scenario and then evaluate what happens,” he said. “We’re just not there yet. That will tie into the second scrimmage and then after that, we’ll have most of the scenarios that we need to make the decision done and then we’ll figure out from there what the timeframe is to do that.”

Other notes from Harsin:

– On the scrimmage: “It went well, just the energy. ... I liked the way they executed for the most part and then to see the new guys, the new faces, we have a lot of new faces out there, just to watch them fly around and play and cut it loose and make mistakes ... it was a whole lot of fun.”

– The crew of tailbacks competing for a spot in the rotation delivered “some really good, physical runs” in the scrimmage, Harsin said. “There were some 2-, 3-yard runs in there, but they were physical and that’s really what we were looking for,” he said.

– Some young guys who caught Harsin’s eye during the scrimmage: defensive end Durrant Miles, linebacker Marquis Hendrix, cornerback Darreon Jackson and safety Cameron Hartsfield. Overall in camp, cornerback Tyler Horton, Miles, Hendrix and wide receiver Akilian Butler have impressed him.

– Horton has consistently made plays with the second-team defense, Harsin said. He and Jackson are among four true freshman cornerbacks competing for one or two spots on the field this season. “We’ve got to be prepared to play one of those guys, and that was one of the big things in recruiting at that position – that you’re going to have an opportunity to come in here and play right away,” Harsin said. “They’ve been competing that way.”

– Miles is coming off of a two-year church mission. “You can see him now, his body is just reacting to the lifting and the eating and getting back into shape and he’s getting bigger,” Harsin said. “He looks really good.”

– The Broncos haven’t sustained any injuries during camp that will affect game availability, Harsin said.

Junior wide receiver Rick Smith continues to work his way back into playing shape. Harsin indicated before camp that Smith wouldn’t be full speed right away as he returns from an injury that occurred in a locker room incident earlier this year.

“He looks good out there,” Harsin said. “He has worked himself back into football shape. So far, so good. He still needs time just to get back in there and take a few more reps. ... We want to make sure our guys are prepared and ready to go out there before they play and I think we have a pretty good plan for that.”

– Junior Chanceller James, a starter at safety before he was injured in November, is competing with senior Mercy Maston at nickel. Maston redshirted with an injury last season.

Sophomore transfer Kam Miles, who played nickel in the spring, is playing safety in fall camp.

“(James) is going to bring that physicality to that position,” Harsin said. “He did tonight. I thought he played physical. It was good to get him back out there. He has done so much to rehab himself back into where he’s at right now and competing for a starting position.”

– Harsin on senior defensive tackle Tutulupeatau Mataele: “He’s been caged up for two years, so hopefully it’s ‘watch out.’ ”

– Wide receiver Austin Cottrell, a junior college transfer who was a late add to the recruiting class, has drawn raves from teammates. Harsin has noticed. “He has executed his assignments for the most part,” Harsin said. “He has made plays when he’s had opportunities to make plays. He’s got a great approach and attitude to each and every day. ... The guys, this summer, when they were around him, they thought, ‘This guy really fits.’ ”