So far this year, Spring has been a big tease. Yesterday, I gazed longingly out my office window at the blue skies and sun illuminating the foothills. I cast off my jacket and ran outside only to be greeted with a gust of 30° wind. Not cool, Spring. Not cool.
Okay, so it's not technically Spring yet...despite the picture window appearances (and this weekend looks to be pretty nice here in the Treasure Valley), but regardless of what the calendar shows, Spring football WILL begin in earnest on Monday morning and there are storylines aplenty for the defending MWC champs (us). Here are a few to keep your eyes on (or ears, if that's your fancy).
It's Drink's offense now
We've grown accustomed to different offensive philosophies here at Boise State over the last few years. We thrived with Pete's Poison, kept trucking with Harsinic, had solid results with Pease's Porridge and then took a major nosedive with Prince's...um...pudding? Last year, the Broncos offense experienced a bit of a resurgence due in large part to the return of Boise State alum and rising coaching star Mike Sanford. The Broncos found their trickeration again and remembered that we have tight ends on the roster. It was a banner year after a couple of sub-par ones...but then Mike Sanford skipped town much earlier than many of us thought and now the offense will rest on the shoulders of a man who just six years ago was coaching high school ball in Arkansas.
That man is Eliah Drinkwitz, last season's tight ends coach, a heckuva recruiter and public speaker. What will a Drink offense look like? Similar to Sanford's one would guess, as he shared a booth with Sanford during the 2014 season. Don't expect the tight ends to suddenly be marginalized or for the Broncos to lose their trickiness—a bigger question may be what the quarterbacks look like under Drink's tutelage. For my money, Sanford worked miracles with Grant Hedrick last season...who went from warming the 4th quarter bench against Air Force to leading the nation in completion percentage and landing on the MWC second-team. All eyes were bound to be on the quarterback race this Spring anyway, but Drinkwitz's fingerprints will be interesting to scope as well as he molds the young signal-callers and of course...sends them the signals to call.
About those QBs...
So, there's a position battle of some import beginning on Monday morning and it's one we'll be talking about, speculating about and probably wringing our hands about for the next 6 months. Yes, the quarterback position is back on the table after a season and a half under the stewardship of Grant Hedrick. Four men will compete for the honor and there isn't a slouch among them. Sophomore Thomas "Tommy Football" Stuart is a JC transfer who won a national championship at Butte College (as a freshman), Fellow sophomore Ryan Finley is a lanky, if not a tad skinny, signal-caller from Arizona and last year's backup—does his game experience make him the front-runner for the job? Well not if these freshman have anything to say about it. Redshirt frosh Alex Ogle was hand-picked by Mike Sanford on his visit to Florida last January and has all the tools you look for in a QB...also might have the most "D1 body" of the group. Then of course, there's true freshman Brett Rypien, who's been on campus now for about two months. Rypien should be playing baseball at Spokane's Shadle Park right about now, but he's here trying to win the starting gig for the Broncos. All Rypien did in high school was set the state record for career passing yardage and single-game yardage...oh, and tie Kellen Moore for the Washington State mark in single game TD passes with eight (twice). All this sets up a rather epic competition and one the likes of which we really haven't seen since the wide-open 2008 preseason (freshman Kellen Moore won that horserace...didn't amount to much after). All bets are off. Wait, no...I'll take bets now.
There are plenty more storylines to discuss and questions we'd like answered please...but why blow it all on one article? Besides, we have a San José basketball open thread tonight, so let's pace ourselves. Look for parts 2 and 3 later this week.