The Boise State football team returned to practice after a week off for spring break. From all indications it was another productive and positive week for the Broncos, but now it's crunch time as they prepare for two scrimmages in the next eight days.
The first scrimmage will be held on Saturday April 5 at 5 p.m., and it will be open only to the media, invited guests, Boise State faculty, staff and students.
Chadd Cripe of the Idaho Statesman had an excellent breakdown of head coach Bryan Harsin's weekly press conference this week. In the article, Cripe quotes Harsin and his thoughts about the benefits of a campus community only scrimmage. Harsin said:
They're a huge support system for us, not just on game day. We do have student-athletes who play for us. There's a lot more to it than what goes on on game day. It's more about an appreciation of what they do for us, what they've done for us and what they can do for us.
This campus community scrimmage is something new for the Broncos in 2014, and another sign that the football team is definitely under new management.
The second scrimmage will be held April 12 at 5 p.m., and it will be the annual blue and orange spring game which is open to any and all who purchase tickets.
Boise State also released another all-access video this week, which brings the total to four such videos this spring, with the promise of a fifth one right around the corner. Like the campus-only scrimmage, these videos are a new addition to the spring routine, and so far they have been well received.
As far as the action on the field, several players stood out this week. Senior wide receiver Matt Miller was named in the list of players of the day twice this week, bringing his spring total to three.
Other notable players making the list this week were offensive lineman Travis Averill and defensive tackle Armand Nance.
A new name unfamiliar to many Boise State fans also found mention, as redshirt freshman wide receiver David McKinzie was named special teams player of the day on April 2.
A local player also made the grade in week four. Redshirt freshman wide receiver D.J. Dean made "several tough catches," according to BroncoSports.com, and that was good enough for him to be named offensive player of the day. Dean played his high school football at Eagle High School in Eagle, Idaho.
Cornerbacks Donte Deayon, Bryan Douglas and Jonathan Moxey also made the player of the day lists, but it was running backs and linebackers recognized as position groups of the day.
The next week of action is going to be a crucial one for the Broncos. Not only will they hold a pair of scrimmages on consecutive Saturdays, but they will also host about 100 high school juniors during those crucial scrimmage days.
Cripe also quotes Harsin about how important those visits can be:
We get a chance to meet them face to face and then take them through the facilities. They get to see the coaches coach. The biggest thing is being around in this environment. That’s why guys want to be on your campus and be around you. They know the stats. They’ve seen the games. They’ve watched the film. Does this environment fit? You want to make a good first impression when the guys come in here.
Harsin and his staff continue to install a brand new offense and defense this spring. Boise State fans will get their first look at the progress on April 12. It will be interesting to see how familiar it all looks to die hard fans who have been clamoring for more of what Boise State is about.
With Harsin's motto of "embrace the past, attack the future" you have to think there will be enough of a shadow to satisfy the traditional fan, but enough creativity to bring excitement and newness to it all as well.