Reflecting on Saturday’s spring scrimmage, Boise State football coach Bryan Harsin found himself coming back to one thing over and again.
“The one thing we’re trying to get done is seeing who will compete, see the guys that can take the drills, the coaching, the techniques and actually go apply it. We just don’t do that very well right now,” Harsin said Wednesday. “We do drills, we sit in meetings, and the application of doing that where you go out and play, in all phases right now, it’s not good enough.”
Boise State’s spring game is 5 p.m. Saturday at Albertsons Stadium. A subpar offensive showing in the first scrimmage showed up because of that disconnect from off the field to showing the progress on it.
“We’ve got to go out there and be more competitive, we’ve got to go out there and finish,” Harsin said. “If you want to go look at the last season, those are probably two things that didn’t show up in the games we didn’t win — didn’t compete hard enough, didn’t finish well enough in those games.”
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One of those players who is consistently a competitor, Harsin pointed out, is sophomore quarterback Brett Rypien, who ended last season as the Broncos’ starter. Through 12 spring practices, he has done nothing to change that status.
“Right now, Ryp has really been playing well, been studying well,” Harsin said. “He’s one of those guys that every day is competitive. Every single day is a competition. Every single day is two hours on the field of improvement and a very focused individual. Those guys that do that, and we’ve got a handful of them that do that every single day, those are the guys we’re hoping rub off on everybody else.”
Rypien, who started the final 10 games last season as a true freshman, throwing for 3,353 yards with 20 touchdowns to eight interceptions, welcomed competition from junior Ryan Finley, who began 2015 as the No. 1 quarterback but suffered a season-ending ankle injury Sept. 18.
“Ryp’s done really well. Ryp’s had a really good spring,” Harsin said. “He’s much stronger, a lot better with a lot of the situational stuff. I think he’s practicing really well.”
Harsin noted Finley has worked himself back into football shape but still has room to make up behind Rypien.
“Fin is still kind of getting back into it a little bit, but I think he’s gotten better,” Harsin said.
With a veteran right now behind a youngster, Harsin said there is not much concern Finley may not want to stick around if he doesn’t win back the job, saying, “I don’t think I’ve seen that in anybody out there.” Noting he has been impressed with junior Tommy Stuart and the added dimension he adds as a scrambler, Harsin said the quarterbacks are out there on their own with no control on what the others do.
“I think Fin’s a competitor. He understands where he is now, things he needs to continue to work on. I think Tommy’s in the same boat, Ryp’s in the same boat,” Harsin said. “... If you’re doing that, that’s really what the competition becomes, especially in spring.”
Boise State Spring Game
▪ When: 5 p.m. Saturday, Albertsons Stadium
▪ Tickets: $10 per person, available at Boise State athletic ticket office day of game or at BroncoSports.com/tickets; $5 tickets for fans who bring non-perishable canned food item to Idaho Foodbank (3562 S. TK Ave.) between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturday.
▪ Parking: Complimentary parking available in stadium’s east lot and Lincoln Garage
▪ Schedule: Bronco Walk scheduled for 3 p.m. from Caven-Williams Indoor Sports Complex around south side of stadium; gates open at 4 p.m.; pre-game ceremony to honor Lyle Smith, who turned 100 on March 17