Sports

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Photo by Devin Ferrell
Boise State running back Jay Ajayi scores a touchdown in a 37-24 win over Colorado State at Albertsons Stadium on Sept. 6.

If Boise State (1-1, 1-0) still felt any ill affects after a 35-13 loss to Ole Miss in Atlanta, they didn’t show it in a 37-24 win over Colorado State (1-1, 0-1) Saturday night at Albertsons Stadium.

Jay Ajayi complied 280 yards of total offense and Grant Hedrick had two touchdowns in leading Bryan Harsin to his first win as the head coach at his alma mater.

“It’s cool, it really is,” Harsin said. “To be honest with you, it’s a little more emotional before the game. Just being back on the blue. That’s a special place.”

The win ties Boise State with Wyoming for the lead in the Mountain division of the MW.

Ajayi started off the scoring for the Broncos with an eight-yard run to the right side. The Rams were able to block the PAT, but Boise State never looked back, riding a 30-10 run until halftime.

The Broncos were able to hold Colorado State to 28 rushing yards on 23 attempts; only one week after the Rams ran wild for 266 yards over in-state rival Colorado.

“I think a lot of guys just bought into having to stop the run game,” nickel Corey Bell said. “That’s really what we wanted to focus our defense on. We still need to work on the pass game a lot more.”

Colorado State head coach Jim McElwain applauded the Broncos for being able to come up with stops against the Rams.

“We had some busts,” McElwain said. “But at the same time some of those busts were because Boise State is a good football team.”

Boise State saw vast improvements in nearly every faucet of their game, but more so in the improvement in quarterback Grant Hedrick.

Hedrick responded to his four interception performance against Ole Miss by completing 66 percent of his passes and throwing for 352 yards.

“I saw Grant go out there and make plays,” Harsin said. “Decisions down the field were good.”

A major part to Hedrick’s improvements were wide receiver Matt Miller, who now holds the school records for receptions in a career at 130 after his 151 yard performance on eight receptions.

The Broncos now turn their focus to a cross country trip to Connecticut.

The Huskies are 1-1 after edging out a 19-16 over Stony Brook.

Stay up to date on campus news at arbiteronline.com.
Catch Arbiter Minute broadcasts in the Student Union Building throughout the semester and online. New videos are released every Monday and Thursday throughout the semester.
Featuring Brandon Walton
Directed by Farzan Faramarzi
Edited by Farzan Faramarzi
© Boise State Student Media 2014

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Stay up to date on campus news at arbiteronline.com.
Catch Arbiter Minute broadcasts in the Student Union Building throughout the semester and online. New videos are released every Monday and Thursday throughout the semester.
Featuring Brandon Walton
Directed by Farzan Faramarzi
Edited by Farzan Faramarzi
© Boise State Student Media 2014

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Courtesy Boise State Media Relations.
Tyler Horn (69) will miss the rest of the season with a knee injury.

Boise State’s Tyler Horn, senior defensive tackle, will miss the remainder of the season with an unspecified knee injury the Boise State athletic department announced today.

Horn injured his knee in the third quarter of Boise State’s 35-13 loss to Ole Miss last Thursday. Horn did not return in that game.

Boise State head coach Bryan Harsin did not have an update on Horn’s status during his weekly press conference on Monday, but was optimistic the senior would return at some point in the season.

Horn tallied 44 tackles and one sack last season.

Horn will redshirt this season, and will have one season of eligibility remaining, if he chooses to use it, for the 2015 season.

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Boise State will debut the Bronco Walk on Saturday. The players and coaching staff will walk down University Dr. to the Bleymeier Football Center.

Notre Dame, Alabama and Tennessee: these are all storied programs with the tradition of enticing fans with a pregame walk to the stadium.

 Now Boise State head coach Bryan Harsin hopes to add the Broncos to the list with his own Bronco Walk, set to debut this Saturday against Colorado State.

 “We want to make it fun,” Harsin said. “We also want to make it where our players and our fans interact before the game. That helps our players out.”

At 5:40 p.m., roughly two and a half hours before Boise State kicks off against the Rams, the players and coaching staff will take the 15 minute walk down University Dr. and around the east side of Albertsons Stadium.

Once the team arrives at the Bleymeier Football Center, eight to ten fans will be brought inside with the team for a brief tour and a viewing of this years’ hype video. The fans will be randomly selected.

Harsin hopes to have as many fans as possible in front of the Bleymeier Center, where the ASBSU student tailgate has been relocated for this year.

 ASBSU president Bryan Vlok hopes the Bronco Walk will help ASBSU’s and The Corral’s “Come Early, Be Loud, Stay Late” campaign.

 “We’re hoping to draw more students to the game,” Vlok told The Arbiter. “I think that it’s an awesome opportunity for the students to have some sort of interaction with the players and the coaches.”

 With the recent decrease in ticket sales and student involvement at football games, Harsin hopes increased interaction with the fans can begin to turn things back around.

 “We expect to have a packed house against Colorado State and for it to be loud and be difficult,” Harsin said. “Our guys are excited about that. They’re excited to be home and playing on The Blue.”

 Boise State enters the game at risk of starting the season 0-2 for the first time since 2005. The Broncos will hope to get a head start in the MW race and give Harsin his first win as the Boise State head coach.

Kickoff is slated for 8:15 p.m.

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Coming off of a frustrating loss to Ole Miss, Boise State head coach is ready to direct his team towards Colorado State.

Boise State’s 35-13 loss to Ole Miss in Atlanta is nothing but history.

Head coach Bryan Harsin refuses to let his team continute to dwell on their third  straight season opening loss.

“We had our opportunities,” Harsin said. “The game might have been different had we made the most of those opportunities but it wasn’t, bottom line.”

Despite what the score indicates the game was actually close through three quarters before the Broncos fell apart, especially on the defensive side of the ball.

“The first three quarters went great and then the fourth quarter got away from us,” sophomore linebacker Tanner Vallejo said. “We really lost the game for us and if we could have held them, then we would have won that game.”

It wasn’t just the defense though as the offensive failed to move the ball effectively and only managed to score 13 points. The Broncos are accustomed to 30 plus points a game.

“We didn’t finish our drives,” offensive coordinator Mike Sanford said. “At the end of the day we are here to score points and we didn’t.”

Losses like this one tend to demoralize teams and the Broncos are hoping to buck that trend.

“Ultimately as a team we are not where we want to be,” Harsin said. “We want to be in that win category and we need to get better and get better in a hurry.”

The Broncos now move on to their conference opener against Colorado State who is coming off a win over Pac 12 opponent Colorado.

Colorado State is looking for their first ever win against Boise State.

“Overall you see a football team that has gotten better,” Harsin said. “We have a big challenge in front of us with these guys coming to our place to play.”

With their BCS bowl hopes seemingly dashed the Broncos will now turn their attention to their goal of winning the MW.

“This is really the start of our journey,” Vallejo said. “This is really where it starts and where it really matters.”

Adding even more pressure is the fact that this will be the home opener at the newly named Albertsons Stadium.

“Just being on the blue and hearing the roar of the crowd­­—it always brings something out of us,” Vallejo said. “We are just ready to open it up with a bang.”

The Broncos will look to put that loss in the back of their minds and get back to playing the type of football that fans have been accustomed to for over a decade now.

“We are going to come in with a little bit of a chip on our shoulder,” Sanford said. “We have something to prove because we know we can play better.”

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Courtesy of MCT Campus
Boise State was able to cash in on their loss against Ole Miss in the Chick-fil-A kickoff game.

The Boise State opener against Ole Miss didn’t exactly go the way the Broncos wanted, as they were stomped 35-13 by the Rebels. So, besides a loss, let’s look at what we can take away from this game.

1. The defense played well.
It wasn’t until the fourth quarter that the game got out of hand, with the Rebels outscoring the Broncos 28-7. Until that point, though, the defense for the most part held the Ole Miss offense and 2nd team All-SEC quarterback Bo Wallace in check. Wallace had a pretty mediocre first half and threw three interceptions before really excelling in the fourth quarter with three touchdown passes.

2. The offensive line has some learning to do.
The Ole Miss defensive front line proved to be too much for the young, inexperienced Boise State offensive line to handle. The offensive line was unable to get any blocks and didn’t give quarterback Grant Hedrick any time in the pocket. Going forward, the offensive line must improve at protecting Hedrick and creating space for Ajayi to run the ball.

3. Grant Hedrick has to make better choices with the ball.
Hedrick made some poor choices with the ball, throwing four interceptions in the game as well as some errant throws. Hedrick must be more patient instead of forcing throws that are not there if the offense is going to be successful this season.

4. The offense runs through Ajayi.
Ajayi carried the ball 20 times for 86 yards, but perhaps even more impressive was his 12 receptions for 93 yards and a touchdown. Ajayi will indeed be the focal point of the offense this year and could have his best season yet.

5. Don’t lose hope for the Broncos just yet.
With their most difficult game behind them, Boise State should play better the rest of the season. The Broncos have enough talent on both sides of the ball to be one of the favorites to win the Mountain West. They have a favorable schedule going forward, with their toughest games against Utah State, San Diego State, and BYU all taking place at home, a place where the Broncos rarely lose. Don’t push the panic button just yet.

 

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Photo by Nate Lowery
The Steuckle Sky Center was built in 2008 as a renovation to now Albertsons Stadium.

Albertsons Stadium has undergone many changes since the current stadium was first built in the fall
of 1970.

 Originally built with the seating capacity of 14,500, the capacity of the stadium has more doubled. Today the total stadium capacity sits at  36,387, making it the sixth largest stadium in the MW.

 Over the past five years, Albertsons Stadium has seen several major changes such as the construction of the Stueckle Sky Center and the construction of seating in the north and south end zones.

 Built in 2008, the Stueckle Sky Center marked the first major renovations to the formerly Bronco Stadium since 1997 when the capacity was increased to 30,000.

The completion of the Sky Center raised the total capacity of the stadium to 32,000.

 The 131,000 square feet  Sky Center features club seating, sky boxes, as well as the press box for
football games.

 In 2009, temporary seating built in the north and south end zones added an additional 1,500 seats to the Stadium before permanent seating in those same locations were completed in the summer of 2012.

 That renovation increased the stadium capacity to what it currently remains at today.

In partnership with the Double R Ranch, Albertsons Stadium was able to make a major upgrade with a new 47 x 78 foot video board in the south end zone.

 Besides the capacity increases and the construction of the Bleymaier Football Center to the north of the stadium, perhaps the biggest change to Albertsons Stadium occurred this past summer.

For 43 years, Boise State football competed in their home games at what used to be Bronco Stadium. A deal between Boise State and Albertsons reached this May led to the renaming of the stadium to Albertsons Stadium.

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Photo by Nate Lowery
The Outdoor Program is located at the back of the student recreation center.

Kevin Martin found himself in a conundrum last spring.

Needing tents and sleeping bags for a camping trip to Arrowrock Reservoir in early May, the junior communication major was hoping to avoid having to pay several hundred dollars on equipment at Cabela’s or Amazon for only one night.

It was then that a friend directed Martin towards the Outdoor Program.

“(The Outdoor Program) definitely helped me out a lot,” Martin said. “It was pretty easy to check everything out. I only had to spend a little over $50.”

Situated in the back of the Campus Recreation Center, the OP offers cheap equipment rentals to students.

From tents to kayaks, students can find a wide variety of equipment to suit their needs; all they need to do is stop by the rental shop between 1 p.m. and 7 p.m.

While some equipment, such as tents and rafts, have more specific check-out procedures, the process for renting most equipment is fairly simple, according to Rodo Leone, assistant director of the OP.

“Some specific equipment has some more specific details, more checking the equipment back in,” Leone said. “We want to make sure everything you’re bringing in is in good condition.”

Leone said the rental shop has certain guidelines for checking the equipment for damages. If equipment is damaged to the point that it can no longer be used, students will have to pay the full price to replace it.

Martin agrees that the OP was fair in checking the equipment for damage.

“They weren’t really going out of their way to try and find damage and charge me for it,” Martin said.

There is no limit on the amount of time students can rent equipment, but Leone suggests they look into buying their own equipment if they plan on renting it for longer than 20 days.

“If you are planning to take a backpack for more than 20 days, you will realize it’s better to buy your own backpack than just keep renting one from here,” Leone said. “I think we are serving people who don’t have equipment and are just going for some weekend outings.”

For more information, students can visit rec.boisestate.edu/rental-shop/.

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Junior Sara Baugh spent her summer playing in Europe as part of the MWC All-Star team.

It’s hard to top a summer abroad, playing the sport that you love. For junior volleyball player Sarah Baugh, that’s exactly what she got.

“I had an absolute blast,” Baugh said. “It was an experience of a lifetime, that’s for sure.”

Baugh was selected by Boise State volleyball head coach Shawn Garus to be part of the first ever Mountain West All-Star team to take part in the European Global Challenge.

“I talked to the other coaches in the conference to see who was going and figure out who would be the best representative for Boise State,” Garus said. “I thought, what a great opportunity for Sarah.”

Baugh is not the first Bronco to participate in the event.     Junior Katelyn Kinghorn competed in the event last year and told Baugh it was an opportunity she couldn’t pass up.

“She told me all these stories of how much it was worth going,” Baugh said.

Baugh left for the team on July 8 and then spent the next 11 days overseas where she went to Italy, Slovenia and then finally Croatia.

“I just had a great time seeing things that I hadn’t seen before,” Baugh said. 

Before the tournament started, the team spent the first few days training and getting to know one another.

“All of us came from different volleyball backgrounds and had different coaching,” Baugh said. “I think it made us better because we had to work together to win and we did really well.”

The European Global Challenge, which is in its 10th year, is an annual volleyball tournament event that takes place in Pula, Croatia. 

From national teams to club teams, the event had teams from Slovenia, Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Russia, Italy, Serbia, Austria, Romania and of course the United States.The Mountain West team took third place at the event, finishing only behind the U.S. junior national team and the Slovenia national team who won the event.

“We did really well and we exceeded expectations,” Baugh said. “I thought it was really fun getting to play the Slovenia national team because they were so good. It was satisfying to know that we were right up there with them.”

While the trip was mostly about volleyball, Baugh and the team did get to cut loose and have some fun.

“My favorite moment was when all of us girls went to karaoke night,” Baugh said. “Being with the girls and getting to see a different side of them was just so great.”

While Baugh did indeed have a lot of fun on the trip, more importantly she gained a lot of experience and will now bring that back to her team.

“She was able to get that competitive experience over the summer that kids just can’t get,” Garus said. “The things she learned over there—she will be able to take those things and make our program better.”

Boise State is planning on continuing to send a player to this event every year to continue to give their players the best opportunities.

“I would highly recommend it,” Baugh said. “It makes you and all around better player. It’s just an overall cool experience that you can take with you for the rest of your life.”

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Fans enter the Bleymaier Football Center. The Bleymaier Center has been monumental in recruiting for Boise State football.

Boise State football has developed a reputation for being both imaginative and innovative, while boasting the best winning percentage in the country over the past 10 years. Winning isn’t the only thing that attracts recruits however.

“A lot of schools are following the trend,” senior    cornerback Cleshawn Page said. “At the end of the day, things like uniforms and new facilities play a big part in recruiting.”

Shock and Awe

As visitors enter the Bleymaier Football Center, they’re greeted by five life-size mannequins sporting various uniform combinations from over the years. Trophy cases line the south window, displaying both 2007 and 2010’s Fiesta Bowl championship trophies; this is only the start of the facility’s visual tour of the program.

Every hallway and room is lined with inspirational messages reminding players and coaches of the hard work needed to make it to the NFL. As they go through meetings and watch films in media rooms, large graphics of former players who have made it to the NFL feed their inspiration.

“Seeing the people up there that have made it (to the NFL) motivates us,” Page said. “You want be the next guy up there.”

The Hype

Max Corbet, assistant athletic director,  feels this new facility is a large improvement from the old one. In the varsity center the rooms were small and the equipment inadequate.

“The locker rooms weren’t even air conditioned,” Corbet said.

He believes people are excited about Bleymaier Football Center, especially former football players and new recruits.

“We feel very positive about this new facility,” Corbet said. “It’s going to have a very positive effect on our recruiting.”

This is just another small step for the Boise State football program as it strives to continue its winning tradition.

“I’m pretty sure any recruit that comes and sees a facility like that is going to be impressed,” Page said.

Nothing but the Best

From the 12,000 square-foot weight room featuring a 30-yard blue sprint turf and 20 Hammer Strength lifting racks to a player lounge with video games, a ping pong table and six flat screen TVs, the multilevel facility has everything a student-athlete could ever ask for.

The best feature about the facility, and probably the most attractive to recruits is the locker room.

Each of the 115 lockers include a top shelf for pads, a drawer located underneath a padded seat for shoes and a steel nameplate featuring the name of a donor that sponsored that particular locker.

A large, illuminated Bronco logo hangs down from the ceiling which grabs visitors’ attention as they enter. In the center of the room sits the Hammer, honoring the player with the biggest hit or play on special teams for the previous game.

Next, is the 6,500 square-foot training room. It’s equipped with ultrasound machines, an anti-gravity G-force treadmill, three rehabilitation pools and many other equipment designed to help improve an athlete’s recovery.

For more informatio n visit the Bronco Sports home page.

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Courtesy Boise State Media Relations
Kevin Keane (46) long snapping the ball against Tennessee-Martin. Keane earned a scholarship during fall camp.

Kevin Keane only wishes to remain unseen: he’s doing his job if nobody knows his name.

“It’s a good game if you’re not mentioned at all,” said Keane, the Boise State long snapper. “It’s a good season if you’re not mentioned at all. I sort of like to be the invisible guy.”

Being the invisible guy was not in the cards for Keane – Boise State took notice of the junior walk-on and offered him a scholarship at the tail end of fall camp.

During a team meeting, head coach Bryan Harsin told Keane he might want to join the seniors in their senior talks. The coaching staff was having trouble with Keane’s eligibility, stemming from a medical redshirt he received as a freshman. They were unsure if he would be able to return for another season.

With his frustrations visible, Keane took his seat with the seniors. It was then that Harsin revealed the eligibility issues were just a ruse to fool Keane.

“He said he had two things for me,” Keane said. “The first thing was that it was false. The second thing was I was on scholarship. I sort of just broke down.”

Keane originally transferred to Boise State after starting three games at Division III school Ohio-Wesleyan. He never thought he would one day earn a scholarship.

“It’s nice to be rewarded and recognized for what I’ve been doing,” Keane said. “It was exciting and a special feeling.”

Despite having a scholarship in hand, Keane doesn’t plan on working any less hard.

“Every day at practice, we go out and we try and find something to tweak,” Keane said. “Every day you’re looking for something to work on.”

With all three specialists returning, many expect Boise State’s special teams to be one of the best in the nation.

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Jay Ajayi has thrown his name into the likes of Ian Johnson and Doug Martin as some of the best running backs in Boise State history; something that almost didn't happen.

When Jay Ajayi was a true freshman, he was arrested for stealing a pair of sweatpants from a local Walmart and pleaded guilty to petty theft.

“I was really immature and still doing dumb stuff,” Ajayi said. “Having such a big thing like that happen—it really shook up my world and really made me sit back and say, ‘You’ve got to really smarten up. You’ve got to mature up because you have an opportunity that a lot of people don’t.’”

As a result of this incident, Ajayi was very close to being kicked off the team by then head coach Chris Petersen.

“I had made a mistake and I messed up,” Ajayi said. “There were some consequences and it was a really close decision with Coach Pete. From what he told me that I was almost out of the program.”

Petersen gave Ajayi another chance and allowed him to remain on the team.

“He sat me down, talked to my parents and basically they said they’d give me one more chance and that I had a really thin rope and that I needed to win everyone’s trust back,” Ajayi said. 

“I was just grateful, immensely grateful, for the opportunity to still be here because that would have been a tough situation if I had gotten kicked out.”

If the situation wasn’t bad enough for Ajayi then, a week later he tore his ACL and was again unsure of what his future would hold.

“I felt like I was just useless and I almost went through an identity crisis with ‘what am I without football?’ and stuff like that,” Ajayi said. “But I held onto God, I held onto my family, my friends and my team. I worked through it and it’s good to see looking back at it, seeing what I’ve been through and seeing where I am now.”

Despite everything, Ajayi never once considered giving up.

“I had a lot to prove to myself because I still had not even played college football yet and that was my dream,” Ajayi said. “So for me to have left it would have been just like I did everything through high school and all that for nothing.”

The rest, they say, is history. Ajayi has gone on to prove himself in a big way.

He is coming off a season in which he ran for over 1,400 yards with 18 touchdowns. As a result of his spectacular season last year, he is on both the Doak Walker Award list, given to the nation’s best running back, and the Maxwell Award list for college football’s best player.

The future is indeed looking bright for Ajayi. If Ajayi has another season like he did last year, he not only could come away with a handful of awards, but could also be on his way to the NFL.

He is already on several NFL scouts lists as possibly one of the best running backs in next year’s draft. 

“It’s amazing to be here now and I am very blessed,” Ajayi said. “I’m extremely grateful for what I have been through and the adversity that I have gone through and be where I am now.”

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With Demarcus Lawerence (8) gone, it falls to Justin Taimatuia (90)to keep the Boise State defensive line intact.

For all of the hype associated with SEC linemen, the Boise State linemen couldn’t care less heading into their matchup against Ole Miss in Atlanta.

“They’re a big SEC offensive line, but we have big linemen too,” said Tyler Horn, senior defensive tackle. “It’s not like we’ve never played a big offensive line before.”

Horn argued that with the drastic improvement of sophomore defensive linemen Kamalei Correa and Gabe Perez, the Broncos will not be at a huge disadvantage against the Rebels.

After blocking against the defensive line every day in practice this fall, offensive lineman Steven Baggett can personally attest to the pressure Ole Miss quarterback Bo Wallace will be facing.

“Beau Martin; he’s tough to block on the end,” Baggett said. “Then there’s Tyler Horn and Armand Nance – the whole defensive line over there is pretty good.”

When it comes to skill players, the Broncos and Rebels match up evenly. Wallace and Boise State quarterback Grant Hedrick both can make plays in the running game.

The Rebels have sophomore receiver Laquon Treadwell, the 2013 SEC Freshman of the Year to combat his Bronco counterparts Matt Miller and Shane Williams-Rhodes.

With those even matchups, it falls to the battle for the line of scrimmage to decide who walks out of the Georgia Dome with a victory.

Baggett is up to the challenge. He will be open the season as the starter at right tackle after making two starts in that position last season. 

“There’s, pressure on us for sure,” Baggett said. “That’s why we want to go out there and we want to answer, come to the call, and do the best we can.”   

Despite the offensive line returning only two full-time starters from last season, Baggett believes the unit’s versatility will play into Boise State’s hands.

Starting left guard Travis Averill made three starts at right tackle last season, while starting right guard Mario Yakoo made a start at that same position last year.

“Any three of us can start at any three of those positions, so that’s the nice thing about that,” Baggett said.

Horn also believes the defense is up to the task.

“We always prepare to win,” Horn said. “You can kind of sense that everyone around here expects to win and that we want to win.”

Tackling was a major issue for the Broncos last season. According to defensive coordinator Marcel Yates, that issue was remedied during fall camp.

“I’ve been most pleased with, actually, our tackling,” Yates said. “It still needs to improve a little bit, but I think it’s a lot better than what I thought it was going to be at this point. And then a thing that needs to improve is just talking to each other.”

Horn attributes the improvement in tackling to the coaching staff adding tackling drills to every practice.

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Boise State men's basketball coach Leon Rice completely altered the team's roster with this year's recruitment class. Long known for playing "small ball", Rice added height to the roster this season.

It is no secret the Boise State men’s basketball team stuggled and ultimately had a disappointing season last year.

 With the loss of both Ryan Watkins and Thomas Bropleh, those struggles could increase exponentially. Head  coach Leon Rice has taken notice.

“We lost our best leaders,” Rice said over the summer.

To address this Rice has recently made some key additions to the men’s basketball program.

The new players include transfers Montigo Alford from the College of Southern Idaho and Kevin Allen from Pratt Community College in Kansas.

The three freshmen include Zach Haney from Houston, Texas, Davod Wacker Converse, Texas, and Chandler Hutchison Mission Viego,  California.

Even though the Broncos are returning with a lot talent, such as Derrick Marks and Anthony Drmic, Rice expects it to be a brand new team.

“We got five new guys and it’s amazing how much the landscape and the visual of a team can change with them,” Rice said. “With five new guys, it changes the chemistry, dynamic, and the look of our team and it’s going to be a different team in a lot of ways.”

Last season the Broncos struggled against other teams due to their lack of size. That was something that Rice looked for when recruiting players to join the team.

With Allen, 6’-10”, Haney, 6’-11”, Wacker, 6’-9”, and Hutchison 6’-5, the Broncos have indeed added size to their roster.

“I feel we now have Mountain West size and more Mountain West athleticism,” Rice said. “We have added size, but I don’t feel we compromised our skill level.”

Rice is always concerned on how well new players will adapt to the program.

“Hopefully it doesn’t take as long for these new guys to play well with the others,” Rice said. “I feel these guys are a great fit to the team.”

Time will tell if that is the case.

The Broncos open their season in November.

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Athletic Director Mark Coyle has led a wave of changes since being hired from the University of Kentucky in 2011.

Since being hired in 2011, athletic director Mark Coyle has continued the strong tradition of Boise State athletics, while laying the foundation for future success. Coyle sat down with The Arbiter to discuss the latest movements in the Athletic Department, as well as college athletics on a national level.

Q: Originally got your bachelor’s in English before getting your masters in teaching. How did you end up in Athletic Administration?

A: Well I did my undergrad at Drake University, I also played football there, and truthfully, I wanted to be a English teacher, coach and athletic director at the high school level. When I went to Florida State to get my masters, I kind of fell into the athletic administration side and just kind of fell into it. Knock on wood, I moved myself up that way.

 

Q: Did you ever foresee yourself becoming a college athletic director?

A: I would be lying to you if I said I did. When I was working at the University of Minnesota as the director of marketing and I was elevated to associate athletic director, that’s when I really started thinking about being an athletic director and that being something that I wanted to do. I really enjoy spending time with the student-athletes and watching them compete. I really fell in love with it at that time.

 

Q: A lot has changed for a program that’s enjoyed, for the most part, a lot of consistency. Is that just the nature of college athletics today?

A: Boise State has such a great tradition and a lot of history. Obviously a lot of people know about the football program with it being so dominant over such a long period of time. One of the things I learned when I got here and when I was interviewing for the job, was they have a lot of success in a lot of different sports. In the two and a half years I’ve been here, the gymnastics program has been in the top 25, our wrestling program has had a lot of success, our swimming and diving programs have won 4-out-of-5 championships, men’s tennis has won three straight conference championships and they’ve been to post-season play.

Sometimes I don’t think the public realizes that we’ve had a lot of success across many of our sports. In our track and field program, our women just finished eighth in the country, I think Boise State has such a solid foundation that it helps with that consistency moving forward.

 

Q: Was that one of your goals to try and make the public more aware and not be seen as just a football school?

A: Obviously, we talk about this a lot of the time, you need football in order to be a successful program. It doesn’t matter—wherever you are, having football being successful is such a key part because it drives so much of your revenue with the ticket sales and revenue. I was very fortunate working at Kentucky and Minnesota where those were broad-based programs, and when I had the chance to interview for this job with Bob Kustra, I talked to him about how I wanted to have a broad-based program, where a young man or young woman has Boise State written across their chest and they’re competing for this program. I want to make sure we do a great job of giving them a great experience. Having a broad-based program is definitely important to us.

 

Q: Coming from Kentucky where basketball is such a big part of the program, was it kind of a culture shock to come to Boise State where football was the main driving force?

A: No not really. It’s funny, obviously Kentucky has a rich tradition with basketball, but in the last five years I was at Kentucky, our football team went to a bowl game. There are similarities however. Kentucky had that strong basketball tradition, Boise State had that strong football tradition, but the fan bases are similar. So when I got to Boise State I wasn’t caught off guard.

 

Q: When you were hired, you said one of the first things you did was make a list of potential replacements for Chris Petersen. Do you have a list for Leon Rice now?

A: (Laughs) I have a list for all of our coaches. Obviously, Leon and I have talked a lot and I think it’s a great compliment. It shows you that what he’s doing here is the right thing. Making the NCAA tournament was awesome, but what I’m most proud of is our basketball team keeps having a higher and higher grade point average. I think we’ve had our highest GPAs and APR the last two years with that program. That’s awesome. That’s what I get excited about. Leon is doing things the right way, and obviously coach Petersen was doing things the right way. I can promise you coach Harsin will be doing things the right way. That’s part of the process of doing things in this business.

 

Q: The past few years, we’ve seen a decrease in ticket sales at the now Albertsons Stadium, how much does that worry you?

A: I think it’s a big concern across the country. In fact, I read an article this morning that West Virginia is down season tickets, Michigan is down season tickets, Ohio State is down, so it’s not just a Boise State issue. I think it’s a changing demographic and the students are such a big thing in what we do. When we have 5,000 students in that stadium, that throws so much energy in that stadium, and that’s the future. How we kind of look at it is, how can we engage our students and get them involved so when you all graduate and still want to be a part of our program.

 

Q: As Boise State grows a larger alumni base, is it the goal to keep those alumni engaged in the athletic program?

A: A lot of times, athletics is kind of the elastic band between the alumni. When students graduate from Boise State, they’re here, they go to the football games and their classes, and then they go move on. Now you’re getting your first job and doing some of those things, and you sometimes lose connection with your institution, but the one thing that keeps you connected with your institution, in my mind, is athletics. Oh wait, the Broncos are on TV. They’ve got a football game or whatever it may be.  We’ve worked closely with the alumni association; we’re excited with the new building that’s going in right across the street from the football stadium. We need to develop strong partnerships with them to keep them engaged.

 

Q: For now it looks like conference realignment is going to quiet down for a bit. Do you see Boise State potentially moving to a Power 5 conference sometime down the road?

A: That’s a hard question to answer. I don’t think conference realignment will ever settle. I think, obviously with the Power 5 and the NCAA government structure and some of the dialogue that’s going on at that level, I wouldn’t be surprised if you hear tomorrow if someone did this or someone did that with conference realignment. I think the key for us is we have to continue to grow and do what we’re doing. What I mean by that is, academically, 72% of our student-athletes are at a 3.0 or higher. We’re doing things the right way academically. Athletically are we competing at a high level, yes. We just have to continue what we’re doing and the university has to continue to grow and continue to expand. Those all help us if we decide to switch conferences, but we’re very happy with the MWC. We just need to keep on doing what we’re doing.

 

Q: Boise State has long been known for having their student-athletes succeed in the classroom as well as on the field. How do you maintain that standard of having some of the highest APR scores across the nation?

A: I think it’s the culture that’s been set long before Mark Coyle got here. I think Boise State has always taken great pride in our academics. We have a phenomenal academic staff that works with our student-athletes, we have a phenomenal partnership with campus. The professors work closely with us and our student athletes. I think that’s one of the great things about Boise State. It’s a big institution, but it’s small enough where you can know your professors and have that interaction.

When our coaches recruit kids, we talk about all of the time, they have to be able to fit in athletically and academically, because we want to make sure that when they leave this institution in four or five years, that they have that degree, because that’s going to help them so much more.

Q: It’s been Bronco Stadium for 43 years now, think anyone’s going to have trouble calling it Albertsons Stadium now?

A:  (Laughs) I’m sure there is going to be some sort of transition. Albertsons has had a long-standing relationship with this institution, with the library that they contributed to on campus. We feel very fortunate to be in this situation. Albertsons is a lot like Boise State, kind of roll up your sleeves, work hard, very proud. We’re excited about the relationship. We’re going to start putting up the Albertsons Stadium signs here very shortly to make the conversion to Albertsons Stadium.

 

Q: When you were hired, you said fundraising was a big thing you wanted to work on. Was naming rights for the football stadium one of those things you wanted to work on?

A: Yes. We’ve been working on the naming rights for several years. There have been lots of different conversations with people before I was here, after I came, and again we’re very fortunate to be in this situation with Albertsons because fundraising is such a critical piece. When we’re able to generate those revenues that goes right back to our student athletes and they experience that we want to provide for them.

 

Q: What are some of the major goals you have set for the Boise State Athletic Department in the near future?

A: Again, I think we just want to represent this place in the right way. We take great pride in that. The Bronco Nation has been so good to us. We talk all the time that this program is bigger than any one person. It’s about our student athletes, our history, our tradition: we just want to make sure we continue to serve as a positive window for this university. When our student-athletes are on ESPN and they’re on the radio, FOX sports, CBS sports whatever—when people see Boise State across the country, we want to make sure they see it in the right way.

 

Q: The big thing with college athletics the past several years has been amateur-status athletes getting paid, do you see that providing a big shift in college athletics in the near future?

A: I don’t know if I would say big shift. Obviously the O’Bannon Trial just concluded and the judge is preparing to make a decision on that here the next month. I think collectively, you hear a lot about these NCAA government changes and the Power 5 want to do this, well I can tell you we want to do the same thing. We want to provide for our student-athletes. I think you want to have open and honest dialogue with student-athletes, with other factors just so we provide that first-class experience. I don’t know if we’ll ever get to a point where we pay the student-athletes, but I’m excited that we are focusing on the student-athlete. So much over the past few years has been about conference realignment and we have lost focus on the student-athlete. I’m glad we’re getting our focus back onto the student-athlete and provide a great experience for all student-athletes.

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Bow fishing has seen growth over the years. Instead of fishing with a pole, bow fishermen use archery equipment.

Fishing with a pole may soon go out of style as people are now fishing with a bow?

“It’s real popular and everyone that does it can’t believe how fun it is,” said Mark Carson, Idaho Fish and Game District Conservation Officer.

So what is bow fishing exactly?

To bow fish, grab a bow of any kind and attach a reel and a fishing line to the end of it. The arrows are attached to the end of the line,  allowing you to reel the fish like you would with a normal fishing pole.

“Bow fishing is definitely something I would like to try,” junior sociology major Scott Fitzgerald said. “I love to fish, and to shoot my bow and it looks challenging and badass!”

Bow fishing can be done from the shoreline or a boat.

“I like fishing out of a boat because you have more mobility and can cover the water better,” Carson said. “But I have shot thousands of carp from the bank, so it can certainly be done there as well.”

The spring and summer months are the best time to go bow fishing.

“In the springtime (the carp) come up to the shallow waters to spawn and they will all be up in the water that is less then a foot deep,” Carson said.

While there are some formal training classes available, Carson says that students interested in learning to bow fish will most likely learn best by doing.

Carson recommends shooting often and if you are missing a lot aim lower as the  water makes the fish seem higher then they really are.

While bow fishing has indeed caught on it seems that it has a ways to go before it replaces the time tested way of catching a fish.

“While I’d like to try bow fishing, I will most likely continue to fish with my pole and reel,” Fitzgerald said.

Carson highly recommends bow fishing for all avid outdoor enthusiasts: hunters and fishers alike.

“I would do it all the time if I could and I would do it over any other form of fishing or hunting,” Carson said. “It’s just so much fun.

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Jay Ajayi has made a name for himself on the gridiron. What many don't know however, is he was once a star on the pitch.

In another life Boise State  junior running back Jay Ajayi could have been a star on the soccer field instead of  being one on the blue.

Ajayi is one of college football’s most elite running backs and the star of the Boise State football team. Last season he ran for 1,425 yards and 18 touchdowns. He is on the Doak Walker and Maxwell Award watch lists, given to college football’s best running back and college player, respectively. But did you know he could have been another type of football star?

“I love football, but soccer is right there up with it,” Ajayi said.

Ajayi could have easily instead been a soccer player for the Nigerian national soccer team.

Before Ajayi moved to the United States from London, he was an avid soccer player with dreams of turning professional.

“My dad at the time knew a lot of guys on the Nigerian national team,” Ajayi said. “Also, one of my coaches in my club team was one of the coaches on the national team and told me if I was serious about trying out, I should talk to him— so I had some opportunities.”

When his dad got a job as an information technologist, Ajayi and his family moved to Texas. It was there, at the age of eight years old, that he picked up the game of football.

“I went to a practice with one of my classmates and they mistook me for one of their team players,” Ajayi said. “They called me over and I grabbed a football, ran the ball.”

It was official: he was hooked.

“It made me watch the great backs like Marshall Faulk and Emmett Smith,” Ajayi said. “How they ran the ball with so much passion. It made me love the game even more and I have been a runnig back ever since.”

With soccer opportunities back home and football opportunities in the US, Ajayi and his family had a decision to make.

In the end, Ajayi and his family felt that the US was the best place for them to be and would provide them the best opportunities.

“I had made a lot of friends and I have kind of built a new life here,” Ajayi said. “I wasn’t ready to make a huge life change and go back. I just felt that playing football would end up being the right path for me.”

The result of the decision not only turned Ajayi into a star, but turned his entire family into big football fans.

“My whole family is into football now,” Ajayi said. “They love what I am doing now.”

With what appears to be a promising football career ahead of him, Ajayi seems to have made the right choice. He couldn’t be happier with his decision all those years ago.

“I am in a great college whose fans are super passionate about their team,” Ajayi said. “I am living the dream in playing college football at the highest level at one of the greatest colleges in America and I have no regrets at all. What more could I ask for.”

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Senior Mikhaila Bowden is feeling really good about her team this season and is ready for the season to start.

The Boise State women’s soccer team kicks off their season on Aug. 22 at the Portland State Tournament.

“The first games of the year are always interesting because both teams have not seen each other. It will be a fun challenge for us,” head coach Jim Thomas said.

The Broncos will open up the tournament against Drake, a team the Broncos have never faced before and at a time when every team’s confidence is at an all-time high.

“We are going to see the most confident and undefeated Drake,” Thomas said.

The team will then face the host team, Portland State which the Broncos own the series lead with a 9-1-1 record.

“Portland State did have a successful year last year and they will be looking to continue that and push on further and further,” Thomas said.

The Broncos have  put in a lot of work during the summer and is ready for the season to get under way.

“I am so excited for the season to start,” junior midfielder Brooke Heidemann said. “I have been working out all summer and I am ready to play.”

The Broncos feel all the work they have put in during the summer, has made them ready to go for the opener.

“I am super excited because our starting place is higher than it was at the end of last season,” senior defender Mikhaila Bowden said. “I know we are going to be ready.”

Boise State is hoping to start their season with a bang.

“We just want to go out there and win,” Heidemann said.

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Grant Hedrick The Arbiter
Grant Hedrick is on The Davey O'Brien watch list given to the nations best quarterback. Devin Ferrell/The Arbiter

The college football season is almost here and with it comes the release of awards watch lists. As it happens, the Boise State Broncos have several players featured on these lists.

Starting at the top is junior running back, Jay Ajayi. Ajayi was arguably the most prolific player for the Broncos last season. He ran for a staggering 1,425 yards and had a whopping 18 touchdowns. His performance was noted: Ajayi has been placed on the Maxwell Award list, which is given to college football’s best player, as well as the Doak Walker Award list, which is given to the nation’s top running back.

Next is senior quarterback, Grant Hedrick. Hedrick took over for injured teammate Joe Southwick last season and held onto the starting job for the duration of the season. He passed for 1,825 yards and had 16 touchdowns with only five interceptions. He has been placed on the Davey O’Brien Award list, which is given annually to the top quarterback in the country.

Senior wide receiver Matt Miller was named to the Fred Biletnikoff Award list, which is given each year to the country’s top wide receiver. Miller had 88 receptions for 1,140 yards and 12 touchdowns for the Broncos last year.

Junior wide receiver and return specialist Shane Williams-Rhodes was named to the Paul Hornung Award list, which is given to college football’s most versatile player. Williams-Rhodes led the Mountain West in punt returns last season and also hauled in 77 balls for 702 yards and six touchdowns.

On the defensive side of the ball, junior cornerback Donte Deayon and senior safety Jeremy Ioane were both named to the Jim Thorpe Award list, which is given each year to college football’s best defensive back. Both Ioane and Deayon were second-team all-Mountain West players for the Broncos last season.

Finally, senior kicker Dan Goodale has been named to the Lou Groza Award list, which is given every year to the nation’s top kicker. Goodale led the Mountain West in field goal percentage last season, going 17 of 19.

 

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Jim Thomas coaching philosophy has turned the program around.

It wasn’t that long ago that the Boise State women’s soccer team was stagnant and unsure of themselves. Then came head coach Jim Thomas.

“I came in as a fresh face and brought a new philosophy to the program which I felt is what it needed. And the players responded great,” Thomas said.

Thomas is entering his second year as the head coach of the program and has already made waves by guiding the Broncos to a 13- win season for the first time since 2009.

“I think he wants to establish a legacy here,” junior midfielder Brooke Heidenmann said. “Which I feel he has already done in just one year here.”

Before becoming the head coach here, Thomas was an assistant at the University of Washington and jumped at the opportunity to come to Boise State.

“Anytime you get the opportunity to be a head coach at a premier Division I program you have to take it,” Thomas said. “It was a great opportunity to coach at the highest level.”

Thomas brought with him a philosophy that strives to get the most out of his players.

“I’m a disciplinarian, but I’m a disciplinarian when it comes to things they are capable of,” Thomas said. “I will not let a player play sub-standardly.”

In addition, Thomas has brought with him his own unique style of aggressive attack play. The Broncos led the league in goals last year with 33.

Thomas prides himself as a motivator and has already pushed the program to new heights.

“He just motivated us in way we didn’t think we could be,” Heidenmann said. “There are always those extra steps you can reach and we were just not reaching them until he arrived here.”

During his brief time here Thomas has already made quite the impression on his players.

“He is not only a great coach, but a friend as well,” senior defender Mikhaila Bowden said. “He is definitely there for us no matter what and is always there for us to talk to about anything, it doesn’t have to be soccer related.”

More importantl than soccer, Thomas wants to prepare his players for life.

“The way he coaches, he not only teaches us soccer, but how to use the skills we have in life as well,” Bowden said.

Thomas sees himself as being here for the long haul, and couldn’t be happier about becoming a Bronco.

“It’s a great place for my family and there are not too many opportunities better than Boise State,” Thomas said.

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Jay Ajayi has been working hard in fall camp in preparation for the upcoming season. Farzan Faramarzi/The Arbiter

The Boise State football team opened its fall camp in preparation for the upcoming season earlier this month.

“We are still in that learning process right now of leading up to that first game,” head coach Bryan Harsin said.

So far, Harsin likes what he has seen from his team.

“I have seen a good effort on both sides of the ball and we have worked hard in practice,” Harsin said. “The guys, to this point, have been putting a lot of good effort in practice.”

Harsin has been particularly impressed with his defense.

“I do like what our defense is doing,” Harsin said. “Our defense has been the most consistent at practices and I feel that is where they needed to be at this point.”

The Broncos are just over one week away from their opener against Ole Miss and Harsin wants to make sure his team is fully prepared.

“It all comes to preparation and the guys have to continue to prepare harder,” Harsin said. “There can’t be any ‘I think I know,’ you have to know. When we are able to do that we feel confident, and when we are confident we will be playing with all our abilities.”

During the three-week camp the team has put in a lot of time and effort, especially in the beginning.

“The first five days is a lot of football, a lot of information and very little sleep,” Harsin said. “That’s really how it is and what we believe, how to train.”

As part of fall camp the Broncos have participated in the annual Bronco Olympics which sees the team compete in a series of different sporting events such as bowling and a home run derby.

“It’s something the guys enjoy and something we enjoy as coaches,” Harsin said. “It breaks up the monotony of camp, but at the same time, it’s still competitive for our team.”

The Broncos will continue fall camp up until the opener against Ole Miss on Aug. 28.

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Sports Editor Nate Lowery

Every year it’s the same old story: “This is our year!” fans yell. “Everything will be different this season!”

If the 2013-14 school year can serve us any purpose however, it’s that Bronco fans must temper their expectations.

Fans expected the struggles Joe Southwick faced in 2012 would be remedied and Boise State would return to BCS-busting glory. All thought a new offense would simplify their game and the Broncos would be just like they were in the glory days of Kellen Moore.

These expectations by fans were quickly crushed one game into the season. A 38-6 trouncing at the hands of Washington in the first game quickly proved that Boise State would not be returning to a BCS bowl game.

Joe Southwick would become one of the most infamous Bronco quarterbacks of all time, leading Boise State to their worst season since 2001, and ending the season in disgrace after being sent home early from the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl.

The Broncos would finish the season 8-5, with not even a share of the MWC Championship and two embarrassing losses against Pac-12 schools.

Men’s basketball was a similar story. Despite returning the top five scorers from a March Madness team, Boise State failed to clinch close games and were passed over for the NIT.

The football team has holes across both lines of scrimmage, and while Grant Hedrick is a vast improvement over Joe Southwick, he is still not, nor will ever be Kellen Moore.

Basketball will have its own challenges to face. A tougher schedule and the departure of Ryan Watkins are not the recipe for a March Madness team.

 Are the Broncos going to be the worst team in the MWC this season? Not even close. There is still plenty of hope for these rag tag boys in orange and blue, but Bronco Nation has to temper their expectations.

- Nate Lowery

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All-American senior Ciera Perkins is leading her team through summer workouts. Devin Ferrell/The Arbiter

While many students at Boise State get time off during the summer to enjoy a vacation, the Boise State gymnastics team has been hard at work prepping for their upcoming season­— even though it doesn’t start until January.

“Our sport is unlike other sports in you just can’t stop and start again,” co-head coach Tina Bird said. “You need that constant repetition and practice all year round.”

You won’t hear any complaining from the gymnasts.

“Dedicating our summer to a sport that we have dedicated our whole lives to is a lot more important than doing other summer activities,” senior Kelsey Morris said. “None of us would want it any other way.”

The team views these summer workouts as imperative if they want to repeat or expand on last year’s success.

“Being here now is the most important part of the whole season,” senior Ciera Perkins said. “This is the hardest part of the whole year. This time of season is the most crucial for us to keep up and keep working hard and pushing ourselves to the limit.”

The team practices four days a week, in the gym all four days and practice in the weight room for three.

“It’s hard but I know we are doing this for a reason,” Perkins said. “It only lasts for four years and before you know it, you are done, so being here now is worth it in the end.”

The team has been having summer workouts for many years now but feels this is their best one yet.

“Everyone’s been coming in and doing their job,” Morris said. “We have had a lot more production this summer compared to other summers.  The girls are doing more than they have to do which gets us excited for the season.”

The Broncos are coming off one of their best seasons in recent memory. They were a mainstay in the top 20 and had a fifth place finish at their regional tournament. In addition, both Morris and Perkins went to nationals, where Perkins earned All-American status in the floor exercise.

“Knowing how good we did last season is definitely motivation for this season,” Perkins said.

But the team wants more.

“This year we have a different mentality because we have nationals on our mind,” Perkins said. “We are pushing ourselves a lot harder in and out of the gym.”

The season may be several months away but that doesn’t matter.  To them it’s all about  preparing themselves for what could be their most historic season yet.

“We are here to make school history,” Perkins said.

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Coming off a successful debut season in sand volleyball, expectations could not be higher for Shawn Garus' squad this season.

Like a farmer, head coach Shawn Garus hopes the work the Boise State volleyball team put into spring will pay off in the fall indoor season.

The first sand volleyball season for the Broncos is in the books, and Garus can already see improvements in the Broncos’ game as they move back indoors.

“Their skills should be a little bit more well-rounded now,” Garus said. “Sand training has only helped what we do indoors.”

For starters, Garus can see better communication between his players. With sand volleyball being played in pairs as opposed to a team of six, players are forced to communicate more with their partner.

Senior Alyssa Gammel can also feel improvements in her conditioning and vertical jumping after spending the spring moving through sand.

“Playing in sand, all of our verticals have improved a lot. I’m excited to see the difference with that,” Gammel said. “We’re still trying to play Thursdays in sand so we don’t lose all of the improvements
that we made.”

Gammel also feels she gained more control in placing the ball. Normally a power hitter, Gammel had to learn added control playing with a lighter ball in the sand season.

Garus, a sand volleyball player during his playing days, had firsthand experience of the improvements his team could expect to see after spending an extra spring outdoors— one of the many reasons why he pushed so hard for Boise State to add sand volleyball.

“I definitely love the sport,” Garus said. “I think it’s a great way to learn the game and I want to see them playing it year-round now.”

Aside from the improvements in the technical skills and conditioning gained from a season of  sand volleyball, Garus hopes the sand season acts as a huge confidence booster for the Broncos.

With wins over Pac-12 schools Oregon and Washington during spring, Garus is going to do everything he can to keep those wins fresh in the Broncos’ minds in rematches with those schools in the indoor season.

Boise State is also one of the few teams in the MWC to play sand volleyball in the spring, something Garus plans to exploit as much as he can during the indoors season.

“I believe coming out of sand volleyball we are going to be stronger and healthier in all aspects of the game,” Gaurs said.

The Broncos open their season Aug. 29 against Gonzaga.