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Sprang: Spring camp takeaways

NCAA Football: Las Vegas Bowl-Boise State vs Oregon Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

I didn’t get to be as involved with Boise State’s spring camp as I’d like to have been...but I was fortunate enough to attend their last two scrimmages and I also can read good that we’re facing several football-free months (don’t worry, the draft and countdown are coming soon-ish), what sort of things did we learn during spring camp that might be useful to us come fall (or be rendered completely irrelevant)? Here are a few items:

  • Brett Rypien looks good—real good. The kid has been a 3-time all-conference performer, so it’s not a huge surprise that the kid looked more than decent in camp...but after losing Thomas Sperbeck and Cedrick Wilson in consecutive years, some have wondered if he’d be able to find a new muse. If the scrimmages are any indicator, he has...and that muse’s name is Octavius “Doc Ock” Evans (countdown nickname sneak preview, y’all).
  • Octavius Evans. You should remember this fella from the previous sentence of this article and also from going OFF at the spring game, hauling in just five passes...but totaling 124 receiving yards and 2 TDs. The previous week I saw this kid pull in a ridiculous-looking corner fade in the back of the endzone—this kid is going to be good. Just a true sophomore, Evans showed flashes last season as a frosh, but with the playmaker vacuum that formed with Wilson’s graduation, Evans has really blossomed. To be quite honest, even if we didn’t have FIVE awesome wideouts arriving in the fall, I’d still feel pretty okay about our current WR situation. Evans, CT Thomas, and AJ Richardson could be another productive “big three”—add Modster, Damon Cole and our bevy of incoming guys and Ryp won’t be hurting for targets.
  • Chase Cozart? No one wants to talk about it, but Brett Rypien is in his final season in blue and orange (unless he’s drafted by Denver) and even though it’s a terrible strain, we need to have one eye on the future. That future could be chock full of Chase Cord, who looked cool, calm and collected during Saturday’s scrimmage. Cord didn’t air the ball out with the same acumen as his senior counterpart, but he was still 7-of-10 for 67 yards and a TD. Most importantly, he showed his versatility by scampering for a 67-yard TD, making him a good candidate for “this year’s Cozart” and next year’s Chase Cord.
  • Secondary is deep, but inexperienced. I think we’re better and deeper at safety than we’ve been for quite a while but at corner, things are just a tad more dicey. We’ve got some guys there, but the younger guys struggled in the scrimmage. Sure, they won’t face many QBs (if any) better than Rypien this year, but that’d be a hotly contested race in the fall. Luckily, the top two dudes, Horton and Avery Williams, looked game-ready. As long as we’re rolling with our “ones’, we should be very tough back there.
  • D-line is deep, and very experienced. The Broncos return just everybody here and showed they can be a dominant unit even with some of the regulars in street clothes. Sam Whitney and Durrant Miles didn’t play in the last two scrimmages, but should be ready for fall camp which is ridiculous since Moa, Locher, Weaver, Frazier, Lui, Fesili and more return. That’s going to be a really fun unit to watch and if Frazier and Weaver don’t get 20 sacks betwixt them I’ll be rather surprised.
  • Tyreque Jones: memba the name. There are several youngsters coming off redshirts that should find a role in 2018, but from what I’ve seen, the most impressive thus far is Tyreque Jones. The kid is built like sophomore George Iloka and has a ton of range and hitting power. I don’t know how all the great safeties on the roster are going to get playing time, but he seems to be earning some.
  • Linebacking corps will look a LOT different. Of course, we said the same thing at the beginning of last season after jettisoning Weaver, Vallejo, Lee, and Martarano. Leighton Vander Esch was a wrecking ball last season for the Broncos in his DPOTY year, but don’t forget about guys like Tyson Maeva, Will Heffner, Des Williams, Riley Whimpey, or the guy who will take the “preppy-sounding rich dude” mantle from Leighton Vander Esch: Benton Wickersham. There are even more dudes than the aforementioned waiting in the wings (like the very capable but injured Blake Whitlock), but I’m choosing to highlight the fellas that played last season. RS freshman Zeke Noa and Breydon Boyd will also factor in—Noa especially, methinks—although Pit might want to get 10-15 lbs off him during the summer.
  • 2018 is going to be fun. In a sense, this team arrived ahead of schedule in 2017...and definitely didn’t lose enough guys to change much. The home schedule is fantastic, with BYU, UConn, Fresno State, SDSU, Colorado State, and USU coming to town—so think of the offseason not as a layoff, but a long runway to build up enough speed for another fantastic season. That analogy was bad and I feel bad.