Imagine your team’s starting quarterback getting injured, the outlook not so good and a significant amount of time away from the field is result. It’s a solution that should have an easy answer. It’s the very problem being presented to the Boise State Broncos this very second.
Brett Rypien? Tommy Stuart? The solution is not straightforward and the answer for now appears to be that both men will get an opportunity to display their worth.
Now, this debate might rage on well past the result of Friday night’s game against Virginia (6pm MST, ESPN). One of these men might step up and firmly clutch the reins of the Boise State offense. Or both might falter. Or, in the best outcome, both of the quarterbacks will shine, each bringing their unique talents to the game. (And hopefully securing a victory in the process.)
The foregone conclusion of Rypien’s future has already been detailed here and here. Rypien has the tools of a pro style passer and has the high school stats to back it up. He is a true freshman that, for over a year now, has been proclaimed Boise State’s quarterback of the future.
In the here and now, there is another quarterback ready to prove his worth to Boise State and the quarterback hierarchy. He is a man that replaced Ryan Finley after a broken ankle forced Finley from last Friday’s game against Idaho St. A man that played well in leading Boise State on three scoring drives.
Thomas “Tommy” Stuart is a 5’11 RS sophomore. His stats for the Idaho State game were respectable. He completed 69% of his passes while throwing for 69 yards and a touchdown. Stuart also proved his worth on the ground, carrying the ball 11 times for 46 yards.
Stuart arrived at Boise State after playing one year for Butte College in California. While at Butte he threw for 1927 yards with 29 touchdowns against only 3 interceptions while also running for 153 yards. Throw in the fact that Butte College was named a co-national champion and we have on our hands a proven winner to captain the offense.
The same winning attitude stretches back to Stuart’s high school days in which he led Calvert Hall College High School to a 21-3 record. He led the school to their first state title in school history as a junior and racked up more than 3500 total yards as a senior. Quite the resume for a young man many believed might never see the field in a game at Boise State.
Stuart brings a dynamic to the field that will keep the opposing defense guessing, especially if he’s sharing time with Rypien. Defenses won’t be able to assume that Stuart is only going to run the ball. This is definitely an asset with Stuart and one that will be utilized but he is certainly no one-trick-pony.
Stuart didn’t get much of a chance to throw the ball downfield in the Idaho State game, averaging 5.3 yards per attempt. He was accurate, though, and moved the ball well, both strong indicators that Stuart has a good grasp of what he’s on the field to do. To be determined is if he gets the start or will simply be playing only on situational downs. No matter the case, Stuart deserves his chance as much as the other guy sharing time with him.
Rypien may very well be the quarterback of the future but Boise State must play for the now. And if that means Rypien shares quarterback duties with Stuart, I’m fine with that. Maybe Stuart will have the better game and he can continue a friendly competition with Rypien, making each quarterback better in the process.
And who knows, maybe Coach Bryan Harsin will fool us all and his choice for starter at quarterback will be the man that has a perfect quarterback rating this season: Thomas Sperbeck.
Keep ’em guessing. After all, that’s the Boise State way.