BOISE — Dylan Herberg knows it sounds crazy, but he’ll be eating his normal pregame meal around 5:30 a.m. on Friday.
“Chicken, pasta, vegetables — a typical morning,” the Timberline High graduate said with a chuckle.
Make no mistake, there’s nothing normal about what will happen Friday.
Boise State and San Diego State will kick off at 9 a.m. on Black Friday so the game can air nationally on CBS. It’s great exposure for the Broncos and the Mountain West, but it also means altering their schedule for a rare early morning kickoff.
Boise State and San Diego State typically play at 7 p.m. or even 8 p.m. most games. So boarding the busses while its still pitch black around 6:15 a.m. for a 9 a.m. start will be new to everyone.
“It’s pretty crazy to think about,” senior linebacker Riley Whimpey said.
Boise State at least has a little bit of experience doing this. The Broncos kicked off at 10 a.m. earlier this season for a road game in Logan. They had pregame meal around 6:20 a.m. and arrived to the stadium before the sun was even up around 7:30 a.m.
The actual time for Friday’s game is the same — 10 a.m. MST — but it will be an hour earlier local time in Carson, California. The Broncos plan to try and stick to the same morning schedule that worked in Logan, but an hour earlier to accommodate the time change.
Whimpey said that means he’ll be waking up around 3:45 a.m.
“It’s pretty unique,” Whimpey said. “It will be at 10 a.m. in Boise which we played the Utah State game at the same time so as far as the schedule goes we should have an idea what to expect, which is good. We’ve been emphasizing to get our sleep this week. We’re looking forward to playing bright and early.”
Boise State dominated Utah State 27-3 earlier this season in what was one of the earliest starts in school history. Friday’s game will be either the earliest or second-earliest local start time (depending on when the ball is actually kicked off) in school history.
The Broncos kicked off at 9:02 a.m. at San Jose State in 2004 in a game they eventually won 56-49 in overtime.
One thing working in Boise State’s favor again like it did earlier this season at Utah State? Boise State practices in the mornings, which means body clocks won’t have to be adjusted much on Friday.
“The nice thing is our practice starts every day around 9 a.m., so our guys are up every day about 5:30,” offensive coordinator Tim Plough said. “So they are pretty trained for that anyways. I think it’s harder for us to play the 7 p.m. games to be honest because sometimes we’re just sitting around.
“Sometimes its better to just wake up and roll, but were going to have to do a tremendous job to make sure we have urgency at the start, and I think that will be a big part of the game, who can come out and play well.”
Boise State will offer players wanting to keep their routine the chance to have the normal pregame meal including items such as chicken breast, pasta and vegetables. Breakfast items will also be available for those that would prefer eggs, pancakes and bacon before the sun comes up.
Whimpey said he’ll go for breakfast foods, while the EDGE rusher Herberg — who scored a touchdown after scooping up a blocked punt last week against New Mexico — said he’ll stick with the usual stuff.
“I’m a pregame meal guy over breakfast,” Herberg said. “Have to get my chicken and pasta.”
As for whether or not he enjoys the early start, Herberg called it a “love-hate relationship” because while he doesn’t love getting up that early, he will enjoy being back in Boise by late Friday afternoon.
“You get in there, you get the game done and then we go home and I can see my family,” Herberg said. “It’s Black Friday, but I don’t think I’ll be doing much shopping.
“It’s an early wakeup for sure but we’re ready. We wake up early every day so we’re ready for it. The biggest challenge is we have to get ready and be mentally prepared because it comes fast. You don’t have that buffer period in the morning to get ready. You have to be ready the night before.”
San Diego State played one home game at 12:30 p.m. earlier this season but otherwise has played mostly in the evenings. They kicked off at 8:30 p.m. local time last week in Las Vegas.
The Broncos are again embracing the uniqueness of the situation like they did against Utah State. Coach Andy Avalos even jokingly invited media members to the team hotel early Friday morning for coffee.
Playing on CBS is a big deal, so both teams say the tradeoff is worth it. And it’s a huge game for both teams as well. Boise State needs a win to stay in contention for a Mountain Division title, while the Aztecs will clinch the West Division with a win.
A lot on the line — but not much time to sleep.
“It’s going to be different,” defensive coordinator Spencer Danielson said. “Things are going to happen fast on game day. … But it’s a huge game for this program and it’s a huge game for them to. Our guys are extremely excited for this game.”