Boise State football coach Avalos in the first scrimmage of the spring

Boise State safety Tyreque Jones relishes a taste of victory as he watches the Broncos offense do push-ups after losing a team-building contest at the Caven-Williams Sports Complex spring camp.

Boise State safety Tyreque Jones relishes a taste of victory as he watches the Broncos offense do push-ups after losing a team-building contest at the Caven-Williams Sports Complex spring camp.

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Spring training is about creating competition, Boise State football coach Andy Avalos said, and his staff are finding creative ways to do that.

Boise State has taken time out of every practice this spring for competitions that go beyond positional drills and 11-on-11 setups.

Offensive linemen tried their hand at punts. Defensive linemen attempted to throw the perfect spiral, and kickers raced to find a football buried in piles of dummy tackles and be the first to score a field goal.

On Monday, players fired at a football goal defended by one of their teammates. It was attack versus defense, and the losing team had to do extra conditioning drills – coaches included.

“We sometimes have to mix things up,” Avalos said. “We have to find different ways to compete. We’ve been doing this here for a long time. »

Avalos said he has a whole slate of team-building contests to choose from this spring, but his staff have been thinking outside the box to find ways to create competition before practice begins. spring.

The Broncos showed off what Avalos called “unity games” during their four-week winter conditioning session. The players were divided into 10 teams, with a full-time coach heading each unit.

The teams met at 6 a.m. every Friday morning to compete in physical and mental exercises. They played red light, green light – with Avalos signaling when to move with a whistle. They pushed sleds and pulled out wrestling mats to crown the best grappler on the team, all in the name of competition.

The winner was the No. 9 team, which was led by new running backs coach and special teams coordinator Keith Bhonapha.

“We could have changed shifts for whatever I wanted,” Bhonapha said. “It’s about competing and getting these guys to work together.”

The competition was kicked up a notch during spring training this week. Boise State has completed seven of its 15 allotted practices, and the team held its first scrimmage of the year on Wednesday.

The Broncos have next week off for spring break, but they’ll be back on campus by March 28 and the team is scheduled to play again on April 2. The spring game is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. on April 9.

Here are some observations from Avalos about the scrum, which was not open to the public or the media.

The defense held the offense in check for most of the day, but that was to be expected given the number of starters the offense is missing due to injury. The offensive line is without left tackle John Ojukwu and guards Garrett Curran and Ben Dooley. Tight end Riley Smith and wide receiver Latrell Caples have also been on the shelf.

The offense and defense were on the field for about 25 plays before coaches focused on the punt return, where wide receivers Stefan Cobbs and Cole Wright saw plenty of reps as the league’s top returners. team this spring.

The team also worked on the red zone and third down situations before ending the scrum with a two-minute drill. Avalos said the one game situation the team hasn’t worked on this spring is working when they’re deep near their own goal line, but it’s top of the agenda when the team returns from spring break.

Boise State quarterback Sam Vidlak throws a pass during drills at Broncos spring camp at Caven-Williams Sports Complex Friday, March 11, 2022 in Boise. Darin Oswald [email protected]

Avalos praised former Oregon State quarterback Sam Vidlak for how quickly he has returned to the playbook since joining the team in January. He was also impressed with the improved mechanics of redshirt freshman quarterback Taylen Green as a passer. Green’s handgun delivery was reminiscent of former Texas quarterback Vince Young last year, but he carries the ball more over his shoulder in a traditional throwing motion this spring.

Avalos said former Borah standout Austin Bolt looked strong working with the wide receivers in the early spring, but he got injured and wasn’t able to do much in the game. during the last four training sessions. Bolt shouldn’t be out for long.

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Ron Counts is the Boise State football beat writer for the Idaho Statesman. He’s from Virginia and covered James Madison University and the University of Virginia before joining the Statesman in 2019. Follow him on Twitter: @Ron_BroncoBeat

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