Breaking down the Broncos' offensive linemen; Sapien talks about decision to retire

By Chadd Cripe
ccripe@idahostatesman.com
© 2010 Idaho Statesman

The Boise State football team returns nine offensive linemen with at least one career start — the benefit of playing the last two seasons with a young and often-rotated line.

The Broncos also have some promising young players who are ready to contend for serious playing time.

Add in injuries to three of last year’s primary starters — right guard Kevin Sapien (12 starts) retired and center Thomas Byrd (14 starts) and right tackle Garett Pendergast (11) will miss spring ball — and you have an intriguing spring on the offensive front.

Everyone expects intense competition.

“It should be (competitive) and it needs to be,” said Chris Strausser, who started coaching the offensive line this spring. “We’ve got some young guys we think have a lot of talent who can come in there and push a little bit.”

Here’s a quick look at the Broncos’ line situation:

Priorities — Fundamentals, creating depth at center, developing hard-nosed mentality.

Returning starters — Byrd, a junior, has started 26 games at center. Senior Will Lawrence started all 14 games at left guard last year. Pendergast started 11 games at right tackle. Junior Nate Potter started nine games at left tackle and was named to the All-WAC first team. The only starter who isn’t back is Sapien.

Other potential contributors — Junior Matt Slater (five starts at left tackle), sophomore Brenel Myers (one start at right guard, one at right tackle), sophomore Joe Kellogg (one start at right guard) and sophomore Michael Ames (two starts at right tackle) spent time in the starting lineup last year. Myers, who started at right tackle against TCU and held Jerry Hughes without a sack, likely will fit into the lineup somewhere. Meanwhile, sophomore Faraji Wright and freshman Charles Leno Jr. are getting most of the practice time at left tackle while Potter experiments at left guard.

Not practicing — Byrd, Pendergast and junior Cory Yriarte, who missed all of last season with a torn ACL and has reinjured his knee. Yriarte’s status for 2010 hasn’t been determined. He has three career starts.

Also on the roster — Junior tackle Zach Waller, freshman tackle/guard Jake Broyles, freshman guard/center Spencer Gerke, sophomore guard/center Bronson Durrant and freshman guard Matt Paradis.

We’ll have more on the offensive line in Tuesday’s newspaper.

Here’s my wide receivers preview.

•••

Byrd is the only lineman who played center in high school. That didn’t used to be a problem, Strausser said, but the shotgun snaps are difficult for beginners. Look for the Broncos to recruit more centers in the future. Durrant, Kellogg and Gerke are playing center this spring. Pendergast also has experimented at center in the past.

“We don’t have a bunch of guys who are really natural at snapping the ball,” Strausser said. “They’ve got to get better at it.”

•••

Sapien said that he had up to 10 stingers in a single day last year as he fought through pain to finish the season. The stingers would cause his arm to go numb for anywhere from seconds to minutes.

He also had problems the past two seasons with his shoulders popping out of joint. He had surgery on one and likely would have needed surgery on the other if he wanted to play this year.

He also has had three surgeries on his right knee over the years.

“Everything piled together is bad, but the nerves and spine kind of scared me,” he said.

What bothered Sapien more than the pain was how the injuries made him practice and play.

“I was hesitating, I guess, a bunch during the season on big contact plays,” he said.

I’ll have more on Sapien next week.

•••

Quarterback Kellen Moore on his top priority for spring:

“It’s your mechanics, stepping into the ball, pocket presence — it’s little detail things where you review the season and see opportunities to get a little better.”

Here’s a storyI wrote earlier in the week on how Moore can get better.

•••

Potter on move to guard:

“It’s a good thing for our depth. To become a well-rounded player, you have to learn other positions.”

•••

It's a crazy day for the Oregon football program with two star players in court. Follow the news here.

You can follow Bronco Beat on Twitter.

1268431931 Breaking down the Broncos' offensive linemen; Sapien talks about decision to retire Idaho Statesman Copyright 2014 Idaho Statesman . All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

".....natural at snapping the ball."??

maybe they just need to spend more time practicing that "task" - snapping. Watching Byrd last season was, at times, painful!

linemen

wac calibre linemen nothing morwe this team will finally play competoitipn bronco natiom

I congratulate you for

I congratulate you for emphasizing that you have nothing intelligent to say by saying it in a completely unintelligent manner.

E. Fudd suggests THESAWUS HEH HEH HEH

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Stop whining about the stupid signature and think for yourself.

weisberg

duh umm yuuoejj dhyytd nhyuus

C'mon now don't suggest you need rehab more than he does...

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Stop whining about the stupid signature and think for yourself.

boys

just dissing you bronco nation lighten up nerds

Unintelligible posts...

Are not dissing! They are simply unreadable posts nobody understands.

Typical from a true Bronco hater. Again...lay off the booze before noon if you are going to write stuff on here.

Hey syncster.......?

....just ignore those kinds of posts and eventually they will find someone else to get a raise out of......just sayin.

Flag him and somebody will finally call rehab

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Stop whining about the stupid signature and think for yourself.

seriously...

At 2:52 in the afternoon, it's obvious you have had too much to drink already.

This DE posting from down in Arizona or something?

Nahhh

The spelling is too good to be Drunk Erickson's efforts.

Masoli gets a 1 year suspension (thanks ESPN).......

knowing Kelly and Oregon' past behavior, Masoli will be evaluated and found to be "making great progress in his rehab" and will be reinstated just prior to the Ducks 1st game.

weistard is back

and spouting his gibberish.

true story tetpilot

if he isn't dealing crack by then.

One more thing about 'The Bley' and a new BBall coach....

...does it bother anyone else that The Bley said publically that he is "looking for someone who can compete at the top of the WAC?"

How about a coach that can compete nationally when it comes tournament time?

Golly, you have lofty ambitions, why don't you do it.

The taste of ball material can't be that far of from that of a shoe, can it?

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Stop whining about the stupid signature and think for yourself.

Just goes to show that under Bley, BSU is a one sport school

Just goes to show that under Bley, BSU is a one sport school and had it not been due to public opinion forcing Bley's hand, odds are that Graham would have finished out his contract and had another one offered to him.

About as much chance as republicans passing a health care bill.

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Stop whining about the stupid signature and think for yourself.

You mean like,,,,

Bruce Pearl $3M annually
John Calipari $2.5 annually
Paul Hewitt $1.3M annually
Ben Howland $1.9M annually
Billy Donovan $3.3M annually
Rick Pitino $2.25M annually

Just a few of the names that "compete nationally when it comes tournament time"

There's also my boy Bozeman $189K annually (Took over in 2006 for a program that had not had a winning record since 1989 and was 4-26 in 2005. They are appearing in their SECOND March madness in 4 years)

Not sayin, just sayin

and

I think his statement only bothered you and kid. Not that surprises anyone here......