BOISE — Troy Ware is hoping that this can be his breakout season.
Last fall, Ware got caught deep in the Broncos depth chart at wide receiver and was limited to 10 catches for 107 yards.
“I definitely thought I was going to get more (time),” said the junior, who had two touchdown receptions last year. “It is what it is. I feel like I made the most out of my opportunities. This year I should get a lot more, so I’m looking forward to that.
With the graduations of Geraldo Boldewijn, Kirby Moore and Aaron Burks, Ware knows now is the time to step up if he wants to become the No. 3 option behind Matt Miller and Shane Williams-Rhodes.
“All three of those guys left, so there’s a bunch of spots open,” said Ware, who appeared in 12 games last season, but had no catches in five of them and never had more than two in any single game.
Miller and Williams-Rhodes are the established 1-2 punch at the position, returning after combining for 1,842 receiving yards and 18 touchdowns a season ago.
On Thursday, coach Bryan Harsin praised the wide receivers group and mentioned Ware, along with sophomore Thomas Sperbeck and redshirt freshman Tanner Shipley, as receivers who have been performing well through the first two practices of spring.
“We’ve got some guys at that position,” Harsin said. “We need to get better with those guys, and they will. ... As far as the talent, and what we have to work with, and how those guys practice, I like what they’re doing.”
While Miller and Williams-Rhodes are the returning veterans of the group, Harsin hinted that the team might take an unconventional approach to how they are utilized at certain points during the season.
“We’ve got some ideas on how to move them in different spots,” Harsin said. “That’s one thing, I think, the personnel that we can get in to and get out of, we can put those guys in different alignments. They won’t always be in their one spot, so we can move them around maybe for matchups or different ways to get them the ball. We’ll find ways to do that and maybe get creative with them.”
FINLEY LET LOOSE: Boise State coaches planned to limit the use of quarterback Ryan Finley this spring as he returned from an injury. The redshirt freshman had other ideas.
“He tried to insert himself the other day, and we pulled him out of there,” Harsin said. “We just kind of basically have taken the training wheels off and just said ‘You’ve got to let us know how you feel.’ So we’ll let him get some team reps now.”
Finley underwent shoulder surgery in the fall, but Harsin said that he keeps progressing in his recovery.
“The more he throws, the better he feels,” the coach said. “It’s just keeping his arm loose. He’s starting to get more confidence with it.”
BRONCOS PUT ON PADS: After two practices, the Broncos put on shoulder pads for the first time today.
Boise State players wore helmets for the first two practices, Monday inside the Caven-Williams Sports Complex and Wednesday on the Blue at Bronco Stadium.
The Broncos will be practicing in helmets and shoulder pads today, before putting on full pads on Sunday night.
“We take the pajamas off and we get into our pads on Friday, so we actually get to hit somebody,” Harsin said. “That’s one of the things that we’re all looking forward to.”
Boise State will have its first scrimmage on Thursday, with the spring game scheduled for April 12.
EIGHT BRONCOS SET FOR PRO DAY: Boise State will host its pro day on Monday, and eight former players will try to impress NFL scouts and improve their draft stock.
Boldewijn, Burks, offesnive linemen Matt Paradis and Charles Leno, quarterback Joe Southwick, defensive linemen Demarcus Lawrence and Ricky Tjong-A-Tjoe and punter Trevor Harman will all be participating.