The offensive line of the Boise State Broncos got off to a slow start, but growing pains can be expected with this young unit.
Offensive linemen often live in a catch-22 world. If they do their job well, they may not be known until postseason accolades roll in.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, poor performances will get your name announced and talked about. Their cloak of anonymity will essentially be torn apart.
It is no different for the offensive linemen for the Boise State Broncos.
Living up to a legacy’s standard can be tough (just ask Brett Rypien). At Boise State, a run of great line play over the years has set a pretty high standard to live up to.
Last Saturday against Troy, the current crop of linemen got off to a slow start. Blocks were missed, penalties were had and sacks were allowed.
All told, it was not the start new line coach Brad Bedell was expecting out of this young, but talented, group.
Part of it can be attributed to first-game jitters. Many were making their first career start. And to be fair, the group settled in after the first quarter and a half.
Time will be needed to gel for this line. And they are missing right tackle and redshirt senior Archie Lewis, who missed last week’s game and has an unknown status against Washington State.
The young line also factored into the playing of both Rypien and Montell Cozart in the victory. Cozart’s ability to extend plays will come in handy as the line learns to work together.
Game experience will lead to growth
Center Mason Hampton was the most experienced of Saturday’s group. And his leadership will be needed going forward.
One junior, two sophomores, and a freshman joined Hampton on the line. This is the youngest in recent memory that Boise State has started a season on the line.
The most talented of the bunch might be redshirt freshman Ezra Cleveland. He earned a start at left tackle against Troy.
Garrett Larson, Andres Preciado, and John Molchon were the other starters, with redshirt sophomore Eric Quevedo later replacing Molchon.
A thing to keep in mind is the relative inexperience the Broncos are putting forth at key skill positions. While the line had a little trouble getting much push in the ground game (44 carries for 147 yards), the Broncos are running out players with limited starts under their belts.
These may sound like excuses for a program fans have come to expect dominate every game. College programs experience growing pains from time to time and the Boise State Broncos are a young team.
Truth be told–despite three first quarter sacks allowed and multiple penalties–the line came together by the fourth quarter. Boise State was able to finish out the game with two solid drives led by the running game.
And most importantly, a notch in the win column.
This line will gel as will the skill players around them. And hopefully we won’t hear the names of the offensive linemen until December when they are securing all-conference awards.
And a punishing block or two along the way won’t hurt.