With some key seniors departed and their offseason workouts recently drawing the NCAA’s eye, the Boise State Broncos have experienced a bit of change this summer.
Still, that doesn’t mean anything has changed for the worse.
Boise State enters the 2011 season with expectations once again sky-high from the outside and on the inside. One of, if not the most talented senior classes in recent memory, is playing a big part in getting the team ready for its first year in the Mountain West Conference.
“It is been one of the toughest summers we’ve had,” senior offensive tackle Nate Potter said. “It’s paying off, I think. We lost some leaders, but I think we have a strong group of seniors this year that have been around, played a lot and I think are helping everyone get prepared the right way.”
Along with just about every other school, Boise State has made offseason workouts a part of its success. A practice that was somewhat rare a decade ago is commonplace, where players stay in town during the summer, and newcomers arrive a month or more before fall camp.
In the spring, Boise State was investigated by the NCAA, and secondary violations were found, as incoming players stayed with current players — and the school penalized itself for the impermissible housing, meals and transportation. In the ensuing weeks, the school made it so freshmen had to enroll in summer school and live in the dorms.
“The freshmen have been pretty impressive,” senior safety George Iloka said. “They’re taking classes now, too, so doing that with our workouts is giving them a really good headstart.”
The Broncos have organized player-run practices three times a week in the afternoon and do workouts and weightlifting four times a week.
“Everyone’s been working really hard — I think guys know we can do some great things this year, so that’s helping push us,” quarterback Joe Southwick said. “They’ve been hard. We’re grinding.”
The Broncos’ senior class has accomplished a massive amount in its time, and boasts a whole gamut of experience. Some, like Potter, grayshirted then redshirted, while Iloka enrolled early and played as a true freshman in 2008. Quarterback Kellen Moore redshirted in 2007 and is poised to become the NCAA’s all-time winningest quarterback.
“When you’re a senior and you can say this offseason has been the toughest, you know it’s making you a better player,” Iloka said. “I think we have a really good veteran group, and because of that we’re running some plays we probably wouldn’t have been able to before. Fall camp is a whole different thing, but I think we’re ahead of where we’ve been in the past going into it.”