Bronco Beat

QB Ryan Finley ‘earned’ right to take all first-team snaps in Boise State football scrimmage

Sophomore quarterback Ryan Finley took every first-team snap Friday night at Albertsons Stadium in the Boise State football team’s open fall scrimmage.

Finley, the front-runner to win the starting job all year, still hasn’t been named the starter.

He was 13-for-17 for 111 yards and a touchdown in a scrimmage that was limited mostly to situations like red zone, goal line and the 2-minute drill. Finley played against the second-team defense.

“He’s earned that up to this point,” coach Bryan Harsin said of Finley’s first-team reps. “It’s a matter of whether he’s earned that after this.”

Finley hit one deep ball but many of his completions were on short throws. Offensive coordinator Eliah Drinkwitz said he didn’t mind those decisions.

“I want to see him complete some passes – if you're above 60 percent, you're going to be very successful,” Drinkwitz said. “Coverage dictates where the ball goes. We'll go back and watch the film, see if that's the right decision. Any time you're getting completions and moving the ball down the field, that's always a positive thing. Without watching the film from the press box, I thought he made a lot of really good decisions tonight.”

Harsin wanted to review video of the scrimmage and watch the quarterbacks play in a few more practices before making a decision. He expects to announce the starter before the Sept. 4 opener against Washington.

“When we know, it’s time for everybody to know,” Harsin said. “We’re not going to get into a situation where we try to hide it till the last minute. We just haven’t gotten there yet.”

Harsin still has some situations he wants the quarterbacks to face in practice. He also wants to see what happens as the offensive coaches get closer to putting their top 11 guys on the field together.

“It’s getting the right group and then see how we operate when we think we have the right combination in there,” Harsin said.

True freshman Brett Rypien got off to a hot start with a pair of touchdown passes in red-zone work but also threw an ugly interception late in the scrimmage. He was 10-for-19 for 94 yards.

“He led a scoring drive versus the starting defense,” Drinkwitz said. “It was a nice throw in the back of the end zone, that's pretty impressive. He's not scared of the moment.”

Sophomore Tommy Stuart, the other contender for the backup job, was 4-for-8 for 25 yards with two interceptions.

Redshirt freshman Alex Ogle showed significant improvement from the spring playing with the third team. He was 11-for-16 for 108 yards and a touchdown.

Other scrimmage notes ( full stats here):

– The three interceptions were collected by sophomore safety Kam Miles, senior cornerback Donte Deayon and true freshman cornerback Tyler Horton. Junior nickel Chanceller James also intercepted a lateral.

– Horton has spent most of camp with the second-team defense and is expected to contribute this year. Another true freshman, wide receiver Akilian Butler, continued his impressive camp with a one-handed catch on a ball thrown behind him on a crossing route. “Tyler Horton had an interception to finish off the scrimmage there – I think he’s had a really good camp,” Harsin said. “He’s played well. Akilian Butler made some catches in there – I heard some ‘oohs’ with the one-handed grab. Those two guys have stood out.”

– Sophomore tight end Jake Roh scored a touchdown on a 1-yard run on a dive play. He guessed that it was his first rushing attempt since third grade. “It was cool to get the ball on that kind of play,” Roh said. “It turned out well.”

– Junior kicker Tyler Rausa was 5-for-7. He made kicks from 31, 43, 46, 20 and 48 yards. He missed from 43 and 44.

– Redshirt freshman wide receiver Sean Modster made four catches for 44 yards and a touchdown. Junior Chaz Anderson caught a 45-yard deep ball from Finley.

– Guys who didn’t play: wide receivers Rick Smith and Shane Williams-Rhodes, center Marcus Henry and defensive tackle Justin Taimatuia. All should be able to play in the opener, Harsin said.

– James started at nickel. Sophomore Archie Lewis started at right tackle, with junior Steven Baggett moved to right guard. Junior Mario Yakoo started at left guard. That left junior Travis Averill, a starter last year, as the odd man out. But the line hasn’t been finalized, offensive line coach Scott Huff said.

Live Blog Boise State fall scrimmage

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Boise State teamed with Boise Police to create a special day for a local child battling cancer. The 8-year-old boy, Officer Rashid, was put on the case of the missing Boise State Hammer. Check out his day in the videos below:

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