BSU Spring football practice 2021

Members of the Boise State football team gather to motivate one another during a spring football practice March 12.

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The countdown has dipped below 50 days for Boise State’s marquee season opener in Orlando against UCF on Sept. 2.

As of Thursday, the game is just 49 days away.

“The coaches have said it since the beginning of the summer: We don’t have much time,” senior captain Riley Whimpey said Wednesday. “One thing we’ve done a great job of the past few weeks is we understand that we don’t have much time, so the things we’re doing, we’re focused on the details and getting in and watching film because before we know it, Sept. 2 is just around the corner and we’re going to find out sooner than later whether we’ve been preparing for that.

“We know what’s ahead of us and we know what we need to do and we just have to continue on the days ahead of us.”

Boise State and Central Florida have combined for five of the six BCS/New Year’s Six bowl wins from Group of 5 teams. The game, which was moved to the opening Thursday of the season to air in prime time on ESPN, is being billed by some as the biggest in history featuring two Group of 5 teams.

And the Broncos are already focused on the Knights as summer workouts continue ahead of the start of fall camp on Aug. 4.

“It’s exciting, the whole summer we knew it would fly by,” senior nickel Kekaula Kaniho said Wednesday. “From the first meeting when we got back we talked about taking advantage of every day because before we know it fall camp will be here and the season is going to be here.

“We’re excited to get down there. It still feels far out because there’s a lot we have to do before then, but we’ll handle that stuff and once we get down there game week, we’ll be ready to roll.”

Kaniho said the Broncos have already started watching film of UCF. That includes studying star quarterback Dillon Gabriel, who like Kaniho grew up in Hawaii.

“We know they have an explosive offense with a really good quarterback who I played against in high school growing up back in Hawaii,” Kaniho said. “We have a lot of things to prepare for with them, a lot of really good players.”

Like Boise State, the Knights also have a new coach heading into the 2021 season. Former Auburn coach Gus Malzahn takes over the Knights, adding to the intrigue of the opener.

“We have an idea of what they do and there’s a few things we have our eye on,” Whimpey said. “As far as personnel we don’t know too much but we know what their offense does and as we get closer to the game we’ll continue to put a closer eye on that. We do have a general idea of what we’re looking at and we’re going to be ready on Sept. 2.”

NIL RULES STILL NEW FOR BRONCOS

No Boise State football players are known to have officially inked NIL deals with companies yet. Players are now allowed to make money for endorsements, speaking appearances, sponsored social media posts and receive other benefits from their name, image and likeness.

“With anything it can be good or bad. I think it’s the way you go about it,” Whimpey said. “I think it’s awesome players have the opportunity to make money off their name, image and likeness, but their are rules set in place and if you don’t follow those rules you can eventually lose your eligibility, so depending on how guys go about it is huge. Boise State has done a great job setting up programs and partnering up with companies that will help us do it right way so we don’t lose our eligibility.”

Whimpey said the players were cautioned not to rush into any deals as more information becomes available on what is allowed and what is not.

“We’ve also been told we should let other teams and players dip their toes in the water and figure it out first so if there’s any bumps in the road it’s not us losing any eligibility,” Whimpey said. “At the end of the day we have great programs set up in place to benefit from our name, image and likeness and to do it the right way.”

BRONCOS ADD DEFENSIVE LINE COMMIT

Three-star defensive tackle Mason Graham of Servite High School in Anaheim, California, announced an oral commitment to the Broncos on Wednesday.

The 6-foot-4, 295-pound Graham visited the Broncos last month. He had offers from Oregon State and several Mountain West schools including Utah State, San Jose State, Colorado State and UNLV before picking Boise State.

Graham is the 12th known commit in Boise State’s 2022 recruiting class.

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