Boise State resumes spring practices with question marks all over the field and a bad taste in their mouth from their rough finish to 2016. Due to injuries, graduation and a couple players entering the NFL Draft early, the Broncos will only have a handful of starters from the Cactus Bowl available for spring ball.
In 2016, Boise State did not make the Mountain West title game for the third time in the past four seasons.
“If you don’t finish the right way, the only thing you want to do is start preparing to get back,” said Boise State coach Bryan Harsin.
Last season, Boise State lost at Air Force in the last game of the regular season when they could not score a game-tying touchdown in the final minutes. This ended up keeping the Broncos out of the Mountain West title game.
The Broncos then went on to lose to Baylor 31-12 in the Cactus Bowl.
Heading into the offseason, Boise State lost leading rusher Jeremy McNichols, leading receiver Thomas Sperbeck, three offensive linemen and five starters on defense from the 2016 team.
Now with spring ball here, Boise State has many key players for this year’s team injured and not participating. However, this spring has been a chance for many young players to impress the
coaching staff and move up on the depth chart.
“We’re in a situation now where this is good for our team. These guys are maximizing their reps and all of them are taking it that way too. Every chance they get they are trying to maximize whatever reps they are getting,” Harsin said.
The Broncos have lost starters at wide receiver, running back, offensive line, defensive line, linebacker and the secondary, which means Harsin will be actively looking for young players to step up.
“Obviously, a lot of production at wide receiver will be lost. Our running back position and not having Alexander (Mattison) out there, you’re going to put a little more on some of the other guys, and then our linebacker position.”
The Broncos will hold their annual spring ball scrimmage on April 8, which is open for fans.
With a lot of questions heading into the 2017 season, Harsin and his coaching staff are preparing the Broncos for what could be a year with a team made of a majority of young players.
Boise State held its annual Pro Day Thursday—March 30—on campus. Pro Day consists of measurements and testing—vertical leap, bench press, and broad jump—in the football weight room. Then the players move to the Caven-Williams Sports Complex for on-field testing—40- yard dash, shuttle runs and position drills.
16 Broncos competed this year with coaches and scouts from 26 NFL teams on hand, as well as several former and current Boise State players and coaches.
Thomas Sperbeck, Boise State’s all-time leader with 3,601 receiving yards and fourth all-time with 224 receptions, had 80 catches for 1,272 yards and nine touchdowns this past season.
“I think especially today I kind of surprised some people with my times. Some guys don’t think I have the athletic ability, but I think I do, and I’m pretty football smart, so I have that going for me,” said Sperbeck, according to a video the Idaho Statesman posted after the Pro Day.
McNichols, Sperbeck and Tanner Vallejo have the best chances to get drafted in the NFL Draft this upcoming month due to their collegiate performances.
The first round of the NFL Draft is April 27. The second and third rounds will take place on April 28. Rounds 4-7 will be April 29.