Bronco Beat

Boise State running backs coach Lee Marks: Demas has ‘leg up,’ freshmen will get shot to play

Boise State’s five offensive assistant coaches met with the media Monday, and each offered a glimpse at their groups heading into fall camp, which begins Thursday.

Running backs coach Lee Marks said he was eager to get to work, especially having such a large group (seven), including junior Jeremy McNichols. A hot topic has been who might be in line for carries behind the workhorse, with Kelsey Young graduated.

“Devan Demas has a leg up right now, he’s been around a while and he’s been working hard to get those carries,” Marks said.

Demas, a redshirt senior, has 75 carries for 469 yards in his Boise State career. Other veterans vying for playing time will be junior Ryan Wolpin and sophomore Cory Young. Marks was enthusiastic about incoming freshman walk-on Jake Roper, along with highly-touted signees Robert Mahone and Alexander Mattison. One or possibly both could play right away.

“Especially me, I’m not going into it thinking I need to redshirt those guys, it’s truly open,” Marks said.

Zak Hill, co-offensive coordinator/quarterbacks

On QB Brett Rypien: “His knowledge of the offense and having a little more exposure’s been good for the guys out there. I think they’re on the same page through the summer and it’ll be fun watching them.”

On handling offense with co-OCs and coach Bryan Harsin calling plays: “I think it’s a great thing. We’ve got a great offensive staff, coach Harsin obviously has a ton of offensive knowledge and quarterback knowledge, and we’re all going to do a great job of communicating. We’ve done that through spring and into the summer.”

On Rypien’s upside: “Brett’s a special player. He prepares like no other, he’s a very hard worker, he’s very dedicated, he cares about football and the people around him. He’s kind of got that it factor. He sees the field really well, he’s got a great strong arm, naturally accurate, moves in the pocket well to create time.”

On what Rypien can improve upon: “Since I got here, we’ve been working on fundamentals, trying to get the ball out a little bit quicker ... getting your feet set, tighting the motion up a little bit.”

Scott Huff, co-offensive coordinator/offensive line

On the offensive line: “I like the depth, I think we’re going to have more depth this year than we’ve had in a really, really long time. We’ve got a lot of guys that can play multiple positions ... we’re a little heavy on the senior class, but we feel like we’ve got some really good young guys in the program, so we need those guys to pass down the culture, leave this place better than they found it.”

On senior tackle Archie Lewis: “We’ve got really high hopes for him, he’s had a really good offseason after not getting to do a lot in the spring, taking care of some injuries. He’s up over 300 pounds, stronger than he’s been. My message to him is to just play consistent at the level we know he can ... he’s had some games where he’s played really well, some where he’s had some tough showings, but I’ll take him any day.”

On senior tackle Mario Yakoo: “He won’t be limited in terms of what he can do (in fall camp), but he’s going to get in, get his work done and get out. He won’t have a huge volume. He can play guard or tackle. He’s a smart of a guy as we’ve ever had here.”

Junior Adams, wide receivers

On his group: “That group’s a year older, Thomas and Chaz are emerging as true leaders. It’s awesome to see those guys grow in that department. We had some young guys last year that played in some backup roles that are emerging in this offense ... then you add the Cedrick Wilson piece, I’m excited to see him, where he goes with us.”

On Cedrick Wilson: “When he first got here, he’s lock himself in the receiver room for two hours, just teach himself the offense. I thought that was big ... he has unbelievable ability, we’ve just got to make sure we put it on display.”

On Thomas Sperbeck: “He understands the whole is greater than the parts. In that room, everyone has a role, and we expect everyone to star in their role. When you see Thomas and you watch Thomas, he plays the same speed on snap one as he does on snap 60.”

On second-team receivers: “They’re taking an immense pride in their roles. No one wants to be a backup, that’s why we compete every day ... those guys want to start games too, and get the ball just as much as Thomas Sperbeck does. We encourage that.”

Kent Riddle, tight ends/special teams

On the tight ends: “We know what we have in Jake Roh, but still trying to expand his role and do more with him. We certainly have a proven commodity there. Alec (Dhaenens) has definitely been on the field some, but he’s going to have a greatly expanded role ... also figuring out what can Chase Blakley, Jake Knight and Matt Pistone, and even the two freshmen (John Bates and Nick Crabtree), what can they handle, what can they do well consistently.”

On Dhaenens: “He’s just gotten more consistent, better understanding of the whole offense, the big picture, playing physical and especially staying healthy. I expect him to have a really great year for us.”

On Blakley: “To get him back at full speed, ready to roll, is great. He was really coming on last fall before he hurt his Achilles. Getting him out there and letting him go, seeing what kind of plays he makes, it can make us better.”

On the returners: “I think we have an idea where we’re headed with that stuff. It’s always a work in progress ... Cedrick Wilson, Jonathan Moxey, Jeremy McNichols is a guy we can always use. Chaz (Anderson), Akilian Butler being healthy, we have some options. Ced was a guy that definitely impressed us in the spring. I think Moxey, we knew he was good enough to do it, but it was hard to get him out there.”


Now that all 32 NFL teams have begun training camps, here’s a look at the 22 former Boise State players currently on a roster, after Billy Winn signed with Denver this weekend:

Kamalei Correa, LB, Baltimore

Charles Leno, OL, Chicago

George Iloka, S, Cincinnati

Jamar Taylor, CB, Cleveland

Tyrone Crawford, DL, Dallas

DeMarcus Lawrence, DL, Dallas

Kellen Moore, QB, Dallas

Orlando Scandrick, CB, Dallas

Matt Paradis, C, Denver

Billy Winn, DL, Denver

Jay Ajayi, RB, Miami

Tyler Gray, LB, Miami

Blake Renaud, FB, Minnesota

Shea McClellin, LB, New England

Marcus Henry, C, New Orleans

Kyle Wilson, CB, New Orleans

Ryan Clady, OT, New York Jets

Donte Deayon, CB, New York Giants

Darian Thompson, S, New York Giants

Rees Odhiambo, OL, Seattle

Doug Martin, RB, Tampa Bay

Kelsey Young, RB, Washington

Related stories from Idaho Statesman