By Chadd Cripe
Boise State junior defensive end Ryan Winterswyk earned first-team All-WAC honors last season while battling an injured knee and a torn rotator cuff. He also was named the Broncos’ co-MVP on defense.
He spent the offseason, though, thinking about the plays he didn’t make. He charted them and counted at least five sacks he lost because of poor footwork near the quarterback.
Winterswyk finished the year with 11.5 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks.
“That was kind of an eye-opener,” Winterswyk said of his offseason project. “It made it easy for me to see what I needed to get better at.”
Winterswyk missed the season opener with a knee injury and played the second half of the season with the shoulder injury. He missed all of spring ball after having shoulder surgery.
He’s healthy now and taking on a leadership role on a defense with just one senior starter.
“It’s like he didn’t miss a beat,” junior offensive tackle Matt Slater said. “He’s so fast, so strong — he does things guys his size shouldn’t be able to do.”
Offensive line coach Scott Huff is pleased with the work his players did on their own during the summer.
“It really kind of felt like the last day of spring was the day before fall camp started,” Huff said. “You could tell they were in and out of their stances all summer.”
Huff wants six or seven linemen to pull away from the tightly bunched group. He’d like to start whittling it down after the first scrimmage, which is Thursday.
“At this point, they’re all real close and the mentality is going to be the thing that probably separates them,” Huff said. “The guys that want it the most are the guys who are going to take that next step.”
The linemen showed their commitment during the summer, when they added as much as 25 pounds (tackle Nate Potter). Huff expects to field a line averaging around 290 pounds.
Last year, youth and injuries forced some players into the lineup sooner than expected.
“Most linemen that we recruit here, they’re going to need two or three years to develop,” Huff said.
The offense didn’t commit a turnover Saturday morning for the second straight day. It was a sloppy practice with a bunch of dropped passes and five offside penalties on the defense.