In 2016, for Boise State quarterback Brett Rypien, there is one man he should be compared to. And it’s not Kellen Moore.
Comparisons happen all the time in sports. Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers is compared with Brett Favre. Steve Young was put up next to Joe Montana. Kobe Bryant to Michael Jordan, Lebron James to Michael Jordan and even Harold Miner to Michael Jordan.
For the Boise State Broncos, Rypien feels the same heat.
Looking at it, there is only one man that Rypien can fairly be compared with. It’s not Moore, but with a person I like to call “2015 Brett Rypien”.
More so than that, he can be given another comparison: Brett Rypien to “Previous Game” Brett Rypien.
Rypien is coming off a three-interception performance two weeks ago in the victory over the Washington State Cougars. It wasn’t as horrible as it sounds, but it gives one pause when seeing that stat standout above the rest. Are these interceptions a harbinger of things to come?
There were a lot of factors that played into those picks. One of those was the rhythm of the offense. When the opposing team is controlling so much of the clock, it’s hard for an offense to find continuity. Rypien’s incomplete passes didn’t help–nor did the interceptions–but it’s all part of the growing process.
Two of those interceptions were by a veteran defensive player, a player who was honorable mention all Pac-12 last season. Those sort of things are going to happen.
As for the third pick, when Boise State was trying to seal the game, who knows what was going on. Yes, he could have just thrown it away if nothing was there. But perhaps he was instructed to throw the deep ball, knowing if it was picked off it the result was as good as a punt. Or maybe Rypien saw the Washington State safety run onto the field late, figuring the safety couldn’t recover in time and Rypien would have an open receiver.
It’s difficult to say. It even appeared head coach Bryan Harsin had implemented more of a conservative game plan. There were no crazy plays. No real multiple motion sets. Perhaps the Broncos had a game plan to try to run the ball to keep the Cougars off the field. No matter what the case, the quarterback is often the face of the offense. The game plan needs to be in trusted hands. If Rypien weren’t trusted, he wouldn’t be in there.
Rypien still maturing
The true test for Rypien is coming up on Saturday. Will he bounce back from what might be deemed a mediocre performance? Coming off a bye week, there should be no reason that Rypien doesn’t come back strong.
The Broncos are two games into Rypien’s sophomore campaign. It was only a year ago that he was thrust into the lineup as a true freshman. In an ideal world, Rypien would have had the opportunity to study and learn for a year on the bench. Ryan Finley, Grant Hedrick, Joe Southwick and Moore–yes, the very same man that Rypien is most often compared to–had a redshirt season to get acclimated to the college game.
Rypien got his acclimation on a game-to-game basis. Rypien struggled at times, shone at others, yet still led Boise State to a convincing win in last season’s bowl game.
Can it be frustrating to not see a flawless game from this kid who has been labeled “the next big thing”? Yes, but no more so than previous quarterbacks that manned the backfield since Moore. We haven’t even seen the best Rypien has to offer. Yet from our couches, bar stools and bleacher seats we are quick to judge.
The Boise State program and their fans were blessed with Moore. In the end, I have a feeling we will feel blessed with Rypien behind center. In many aspects, we already have been.
He is still growing. Hitting the receiver in stride on a long ball will come. The turnovers will diminish. One day the seasoned veterans on opposing team’s defenses being made the fools. The multiple sets and formations will return, Rypien captaining the ship like coaches, players and fans know he can.
And one day, somewhere down the line, we will be comparing a quarterback to Rypien.
As for the bumps in the road? Those hiccups will soon be forgotten. As long as Rypien continues to grow, to learn from his mistakes and put them in the past, the Broncos will find success. And then, Rypien will find the one man he can truly compare to: himself.