Boise State Spring Football Fan Round Table
Broncos spring football is getting underway
Get a few different perspectives on Boise State spring football
The 2017 college football season saw the Boise State Broncos resume their dominant ways. Finishing the season 11-3, the Broncos captured the Mountain West Conference title, gave the Oregon Ducks of the Pac 12 a beating in the Las Vegas bowl, and finished the year ranked #22 in the final AP Poll. The 2018 season will see the Broncos return a strong roster and most of their coaching staff.
With spring ball right around the corner, I gathered up a few friends to share their thoughts on the upcoming season along with my ‘expert’ analysis on their opinions. Make sure you find and follow these fine gentlemen on Twitter.
- This is the first fan round table for Boise State at Mountain West Wire. I appreciate you guys helping me out on this article, can we get a quick introduction before we get started?
My name is Joel, I grew up in Boise and am an alumni of Boise State, class of 2001. My first game was when I was 6 years old and have had season tickets for the last 15 years in spite of moving away from Boise 8 years ago. I currently live near Detroit, Michigan and suffer from east coast time zone west coast fandom late nights. @jaywhy17
My name is Bryan and I have been a fan for about 10 years. It has been an up and down battle with Coach Pete leaving to Coach Harsin arriving while going to multiple Fiesta Bowls in between. It’s been a wild journey. Follow me on Twitter @TheBryanNolen
My name is Collin and I have lived in Boise my whole life and have been attending Bronco games for as long as I can remember. Every year that passes I seem to become a bigger fan of Boise State (although my family and friends swear every year that’s not possible). My 2017 season highlight was traveling to Fort Collins to witness the epic comeback to once again beat the Rams and shaking hands with Coach Harsin as he climbed through the end zone seats and personally thanked Bronco fans for making the trip. @PolarisMan17
Expert’s Analysis: All 3 of these guys are great follows on Twitter. Bryan has a great show he hosts with some fantastic guests. Joel and Collin were both at the epic comeback at Fort Collins, that’s enough street cred in my book.
- The 2017 season saw some dramatic ups and downs. Bronco Nation was in a full panic after a humiliating home loss to Virginia but the team responded incredibly well including a remarkable comeback win versus Colorado State and capped off the year with a dominant bowl victory over Oregon to earn a final AP ranking. What grade would you give Coach Bryan Harsin and Boise State for the 2017 season?
Joel: I would give Harsin an A. He lost his starting QB early in the season and was able to work with the staff to juggle the 2 QB system when he was healthy (along with Zac Hill of course) to win a Mountain West title. He also beat Air Force, which was a real problem the last 3 years. Goals for every season are win the MWC title and the bowl game, which they accomplished. I was at the Colorado state game and it was one of the most enjoyable games to see in person ranking only below Fiesta Bowl vs Oklahoma. I enjoyed this season very much, and the win over Oregon was an unexpected cherry on top.
Bryan: I would give Bryan Harsin an A- because even though we had some tough losses, we still persevered and hosted a MWC Championship game AND WON the game. We also won the Vegas bowl by beating Oregon who is a huge game and rival in itself.
Collin: Overall, I believe Boise State had a solid season so I’ll give them a B+. As anyone on social media knows, this question has been answered differently depending on if that particular fan feels out of conference games are more important than conference games or vice versa. I felt that it was especially important for the Broncos to win the Mountain West this year (2014 felt like an eternity ago), so they definitely get credit for accomplishing that feat, but the Virginia loss on the Blue was inexcusable.
Expert’s Analysis: I got to agree with Joel and go with an A. The goal is MWC Championship, win our bowl game, and finish ranked. Check, check, and check. Nice job coach, that elusive A+ would be for winning the NY6 and I think Coach Harsin and the Broncos are setting up a nice shot at that for 2018…
- While Boise State returns 3 time all conference quarterback Brett Rypien and star running back Alexander Mattison, they will lose otherworldly wide receiver Cedrick Wilson. Which Bronco on the offensive side are you most excited to see in 2018?
Joel: I’m excited for the offensive line to gel for a full season. RB’s and QB’s can’t do much without the holes and time a good line creates. With a full summer under their belt and hopefully some rhythm, I hope they can achieve great things in 2018.
Bryan: I am excited to see Brett Rypien; to see how he bounces back after a tough 2017 year. He got hurt, benched, started again, and then proceeded to lead the team to a Vegas bowl win. It was an odd offensive scheme as we often saw a two quarterback system in most of the games, if not all of the games of the 2017 season.
Collin: I will start with a bit of a cop-out type answer and say Brett Rypien, but only because I have faith that he will finally have a positively consistent season that I believe he has earned through 4 years of hard work. A bit more exciting answer would be the young but talented receivers that Coach Kiesau is pumped to mold into the next great group of Bronco receiving weapons (look for a few true FR to help accomplish this). A bonus pick is the offensive line that came into its own late in 2017, I believe they will continue to improve despite the loss of our two All Conference performers (Hampton and Lewis).
Expert’s Analysis: I am huge on Rypien in 2018, he is going to have a season for the record books and play his way into the NFL draft conversation. I am really digging the love for the offensive line. That unit started off slow in 2017 before finishing the season on a tear. I think a young WR (Freshman, RFreshman, or Sophomore) breaks out in 2018 and my early prediction is Octavius Evans.
- On the defensive side of the ball, Boise State will be stacked. They are returning 9 of their 11 starters including a slew of all-conference selections. Despite the loss of the Mountain West Conference defensive player of the year, Leighton Vander Esch, this should be a dominant unit. Which Broncos from the defensive side of the ball are you most excited to see?
Joel: On the defensive side I’m looking forward to seeing Deandre Pierce take the next level. His instincts are already good, but another year of seasoning could produce greatness. All the secondary is intriguing to me actually. Hopefully the increased turnover trend continues next year.
Bryan: I am stoked to see Kekoa Nawahine shine in the 2018 season. We did not expect to see him be this good, this quickly but he proved the doubters wrong in 2017. I am looking forward to seeing him ball out in 2018.
Collin: I’ll start by saying Vander Esch is one of my all-time favorite Broncos and he represents all great things associated with Boise State, he will be missed but is taking advantage of his opportunity to be great at the next level. As for our current defense, I am most excited to continue to watch Curtis Weaver humiliate tackles and harass quarterbacks. I believe he is well on his way to being the next great edge rusher for the Broncos. I’m also excited to see how Coach Avalos develops our young linebackers in route to replacing Vander Esch (especially Noa and Boyd).
Expert’s Analysis: Weaver along with Frazier, Lui, Miles, and likely NFL bound David Moa is an unfair 5 man unit on the defensive line for the rest of the MWC to contend with. Eerily reminiscent of that legendary 2011 crew. Nawahine is a stud but let’s not forget about future NFLer Tyler Horton either.