Bronco Beat

Boise State football to name starting QB on Sunday

Boise State football coach Bryan Harsin will hold a press conference at 10 a.m. Sunday to announce the team’s starting quarterback for the Sept. 4 season opener against Washington, the school announced Saturday.

Sophomore Ryan Finley, the front-runner all year, took every first-team snap in the open fall scrimmage Friday.

Finley opened a “big gap” in spring ball, Harsin said this summer, and “earned” the right to take all the first-team reps in the scrimmage.

Harsin just wasn’t quite ready to make Finley’s starter status official Friday.

“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.”

Finley’s high school coach, Donnie Yantis, told me earlier this month that he expected Finley to win the job and excel.

“He’s not going to let up,” Yantis said. “He’s going to battle every single day. I don’t think it matters that he’s not the guy. When he becomes the guy, the confidence will pour out of his veins.”

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QB debuts

Here are the results of the first starts by quarterbacks since 2001. This does not include the Senior Day start by Bush Hamdan, who was intercepted on his only pass.

Ryan Dinwiddie (2001, loss at South Carolina): 18-of-31, 162 yards, 1 TD, 1 int., 106.15 rating

B.J. Rhode (2001, win vs. Central Michigan): 13-of-27, 191 yards, 1 TD, 1 int., 112.39 rating

Jared Zabransky (2004, win vs. Idaho): 11-of-16, 234 yards, 0 TDs, 1 int., 179.10 rating

Taylor Tharp (2007, win vs. Weber State): 14-of-19, 184 yards, 1 TD, 0 ints., 172.40 rating

Kellen Moore (2008, win vs. Idaho State): 14-of-19, 274 yards, 2 TDs, 0 ints., 229.56 rating

Joe Southwick (2012, loss at Michigan State): 15-of-31, 169 yards, 0 TDs, 1 int., 87.73 rating

Grant Hedrick (2013, loss at BYU): 25-of-42, 232 yards, 1 TD, 1 int., 109.02 rating

Combined totals: 4-3 record (2-3 vs. FBS opponents), 110-of-185, 1,446 yards, 6 TDs, 5 ints., 130.41 rating

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Based on what we saw in the Boise State football team’s fall scrimmage Friday night, here’s a projected depth chart going into the season:

Quarterback: Ryan Finley, Brett Rypien

Note: It’s unlikely the Broncos will play Rypien as the backup, so Tommy Stuart and Alex Ogle could be competing for the No. 2 snaps. Ogle performed well Friday but played with the third-teamers.

Tailback: Jeremy McNichols, Kelsey Young/Devan Demas

Note: McNichols looked good as the featured back in the scrimmage and seems like the most multi-dimensional back on the roster. Young, Demas, Jack Fields and possibly even Cory Young likely will be used in spot roles.

Wide receiver: Thomas Sperbeck, Austin Cottrell/Akilian Butler

Wide receiver: Chaz Anderson, D.J. Dean

Slot receiver: Shane Williams-Rhodes, Rick Smith

Note: Williams-Rhodes and Smith didn’t play in the scrimmage. I don’t feel particularly confident in my choices for the backup receiver spots. Butler is an intriguing true freshman who I expect will play.

Tight end: Jake Roh, Holden Huff

Note: Now healthy, Huff has been terrific in camp by all reports. Roh, last year’s starter, continues to impress, too.

Left tackle: Rees Odhiambo, Troy Bacon

Left guard: Mario Yakoo, Travis Averill

Center: Marcus Henry, Mason Hampton

Right guard: Steven Baggett, Andrew Tercek/Kellen Buhr

Right tackle: Archie Lewis, Jerhen Ertel

Note: Lewis’ rise has pushed Averill out of the starting lineup for now, but the top five isn’t set. Bacon has done a great job at tackle and seems like a future starter.

Stud end: Kamalei Correa, Gabe Perez/Jabril Frazier

Defensive tackle: Tutulupeatau Mataele, Antoine Turner

Nose tackle: Armand Nance, Justin Taimatuia

End: Tyler Horn, Sam McCaskill

Note: The four tackles are almost interchangeable but Correa and Horn are standouts at end. Frazier has capitalized on Perez not being on the field for part of fall camp.

Middle linebacker: Tanner Vallejo, Joe Martarano

Weak-side linebacker: Ben Weaver, Tyler Gray

Note: It will be interesting to see how the Broncos keep Martarano and Gray involved given the productivity of Vallejo and Weaver.

Cornerback: Donte Deayon, Tyler Horton

Cornerback: Jonathan Moxey, Raymond Ford

Nickel: Chanceller James, Mercy Maston

Strong safety: Dylan Sumner-Gardner, Kam Miles

Free safety: Darian Thompson, Cameron Hartsfield

Note: Keep an eye on Horton, who has made a smooth transition to college as a true freshman. The Broncos need a third cornerback to emerge behind the two starters.

Kicker: Tyler Rausa

Punter: Sean Wale

Long snapper: Kevin Keane

Holder: Sean Wale

Punt returner: Donte Deayon/Shane Williams-Rhodes

Kickoff returner: Jeremy McNichols/Kelsey Young

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Stories from the scrimmage:

McNichols looks like starter

Scrimmage recap: Finley takes all the first-team reps at QB

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Texas Monthly has some more details on Sam Ukwuachu’s final days at Boise State.

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