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OBNUG Roundtable: Spring Camp recap

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Boise State spring game Photo by Loren Orr/Getty Images

Spring is here. You know this because spring camp is over? Yeah, I guess that's right—Boise State spring camp has come and gone and with it, any hopes of watching live football for the next few months. So let's dig the last tasty morsels out of spring ball that we can to prepare for the long football-less winter (that incidentally happens to be spring and summer). Casey has been out for a few weeks while his wife was having a baby (a boy!) and he’s back in the fold with his takes as well. Welcome back, Casey.

Which player had the best spring?

Damien

AJ Richardson. In the battle to be the no. 2 WR, Mr. Richardson has made his presence known culminating in the spring game "breakout." We have been waiting for him to break through and this is his chance. Ever since he committed to Boise State I have been waiting for him to get touches. This spring we got that.

Michael

In all the media sessions I've been to this spring with coaches and players, the three names I think I heard mentioned the most were Ryan Wolpin, Tyler Horton, and Kekoa Nawahine. In the limited glimpses I had, where the media gets to be present for small segments of practice, I saw a lot of Kekoa Nawahine continually justifying the hype around him. Dude is just always making plays. Tyler Horton could also turn into a turnover machine--had two INTs in one practice.

Drew

I’m going to say the Williams brothers, Desmond and Avery (no relation). Avery, a walk-on CB from California powerhouse JSerra, had an INT in the spring game and has been playing every position in camp except punter, QB, and lineman. Des Williams—also from a California powerhouse (Centennial)—earned defensive scout player of the year honors after the season and this spring has already moved into the starting LB rotation. He was around the ball a lot on Saturday and I think will make a huge impact this season.

Casey

It sounded like Ryan Wolpin had a solid spring. With Mattison out, it is nice to hear Wolpin making the most of his opportunity.

Which player stood out the most at the scrimmage?

Damien

Leighton Vander Esch. Which isn't that big of a surprise. He was all over the field for the defense and seemed to be in on every tackle.

Michael

Outside linebacker, Desmond Williams. Not only is he very fast for the position, he also has great instincts and that's led to more than one turnover & TD in spring.

Drew

Freshman defensive end Curtis Weaver. I’ve had high hopes for Weaver ever since he signed with the Broncos last year and frankly, I was surprised he wasn’t one of the true freshman tabbed to play in 2016. He’s shed some weight and moved over to DE and he showed at the scrimmage he can be very disruptive—even if he’s not racking up tangible stats like sacks or tackles.

Casey

There were a few names I was hearing often. Curtis Weaver was a guy I kept hearing about. It sounded like he was pretty disruptive. The TEs got a lot of love as well, and rightfully so.

What was the biggest surprise of spring ball?

Damien

This is a pleasant one: how well Jake Constantine has come along. He certainly had a rapport with Richardson and it showed during the game. If he's pushing Rypien in any fashion that is a good thing.

Michael

Probably how comfortable I feel with where the defense is right now. After losing so many high-quality linebackers and two veteran DBs in Moxey and James, I was pretty nervous for next year. However, with the clearly evident improvement of Nawahine and Pierce at safety, along with Horton's growth at corner, and the improved depth along the defensive line, I actually feel really good about where the defense is. Not to mention the linebackers have really shown consistently strong play. This is a very charismatic group of high energy players that will be very fun to watch.

Drew

How quickly the defense has healed its wounds has been positively Wolverine-like. The secondary was very active on Saturday and close on the ball very fast...and it’s not just one or two of them. I saw amazing on-ball plays from Horton, A. Williams, D. Williams, Mike Young, Nawahine, Pierce, Happle, and more.

Casey

Avery Williams. I expected to hear some buzz on some of the guys who had redshirted last season, but not a walk-on. Sounds like he was a bit of a ball hawk.

Any concerns following spring camp?

Damien

I will go ahead and be the alarmist: dropped passes. I know that the offense is almost always behind the defense at this point. That the plays are vanilla. That there are still "wrinkles" that need to be ironed out. But last year, when the team would have problems pushing the ball downfield, it Would leave a painful feeling in the pit of my stomach. One that I felt a couple of times throughout the scrimmage. I have faith that they'll get it cleaned up by the fall but I just didn't feel great.

Michael

A consistently dangerous threat at wide receiver that's not named 'Cedrick Wilson'. Modster, Jefferson, Richardson, Butler and even (no joke) Brock Barr have all had really good days at different points. Modster and Jefferson get a lot of buzz from coaches and players, but I haven't seen any of them put together multiple, dominant performances. But, then again, with Wilson back, and 7 extremely capable tight ends, maybe they won't have to.

Drew

Jake Roh’s high-ankle sprain is a concern since he's coming off an injury-riddled 2016...but I assume he'll be whole again by kickoff. Really, my biggest concern is that Rypien is still overthrowing receivers downfield. This was kind of an Achilles' heel last season and I'm hoping that he'll get that out of his system or learn to throw the intermediate pass from time to time instead of going for the home run every at bat.

Casey

Honestly, there isn't a ton that you can be sure of after spring ball. Fall ball will be much more telling. It sounds like the secondary and defensive line will be in good shape. Velasquez can boot the ball. Definitely sounds like the offense still needs some work, but when is that not the case after spring?