Photo via Pam Davis

Boise State Football: Seldom Mentioned; The Centers

What Does Donte Harrington and Garret Larson Have In Common With Carol Kaye?

Many have never heard of Carol Kaye but have heard her. She’s a studio musician. Without her, some of the best and most widely heard music in the pop and rock field may not have ever been heard.

She plays probably the least appealing and yet most important instrument in a rock band, the bass guitar. The Beatles Paul McCartney originally did not want to play bass because it wasn’t sexy enough.

With rock ‘n’ roll well into its seventh decade, it is hard to imagine any song without the bass.

Bass guitarists are often the musician in the background playing the flat sounding notes. Alone they sound like a monotonous dirge at best. Yet, the music can’t really come to life without the bass.

Carol Kaye has taken meaningless and uninspiring little ditties and made them into memorable classics.

The center in football is like the bass player in the band.

A Kid Named Tubby

Many of us remember neighborhood or schoolyard pickup games. The last guy picked was the kid named Tubby. He was slow and awkward and the only thing he could be trusted with was to hike the ball.

By the time Tubby is a senior in high school, he’s turned some of that blubber into muscle. On Friday nights he snaps the ball and knocks people down. He’s good at it—in fact so good he has a dozen or so college offers.

And the kids who picked him last in those neighborhood and schoolyard games—they’re only the cast of characters surrounding him now. In a few years, they will be asking him for free tickets when he’s drafted into the pros.

The Center Is The Bass or The Base

It took a while to get to this point but the centers are THE MAN. They are the nerve center, brain trust, the glue, the heart and soul of the most important function of the offense—blocking and blocking assignments. Unfortunately the only time we hear their names beyond announcing the starting lineup is when there is a bad or fumbled snap.

They go about there business on the line of scrimmage calling out blocking assignments, snapping the ball, holding their man (sometimes illegally), and running downfield to find someone else to level. They are incredibly tough, smart, and gifted athletes.

It starts with the center. Besides the quarterback, he may be the most valuable player on the team. He’s the first guy to touch the ball. After the snap, he has to overcome a 300 pound plus nose tackle whose only assignment is t0 hurt the center and make his life miserable.

Any good or great offensive line is not so, without an equally good or great center. Of all the people on the field, the quarterback is most grateful to his center.


Donte Harrington comes from San Clemente, California. He was the 13th ranked center nationally in the 2016 high school recruiting class.

He stands 6’2” and weighs 306. That makes him one of the shorter offensive lineman for the Broncos.

He redshirted his first year and last year appeared in a reserve role in seven games. Apparently, he has taken that experience made a marked improvement in the offseason.


Garret Larson is from nearby Fruitland, Idaho.

He redshirted his first year, appeared in four games his second year, and 14 last year. Seven games were starts.

Garret is 6’4” and is a biscuit under 300. He looks like one of those mayhem causing defensive lineman who takes bites out of the helmets of quarterbacks. However, that persona is channeled into the precise execution of his blocking assignments.

“The World Will Little Note…”

Boise State’s Donte Harrington seems to have the nod as the starter this year. He is closely followed by Garret Larson. Although underclassman they are not newcomers to the program. Harrington is in his third year on the Bronco squad and Larson his fourth.

Having two centers the caliber of Harrington and Larson compete for the same job makes them better and makes the team better.

Frankly, I hope their name is never mentioned this year except as All Americans or All-Conference.

When the season is completed and all the stats are tallied, remember the two guys who may be most responsible for them—Donte Harrington and Garret Larson. They will be like the steady beat of a bass guitar that binds the music and makes it memorable but seldom mentioned, if ever.


About Kenton Lewis

Kenton Lewis
Kenton lives in Boise. He is the former publisher of the Boise State sports site, Smurf Turf; writing exclusively about Broncos football and basketball. He is also a novelist and short story writer.

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