By Chadd Cripe
© 2011 Idaho Statesman
Sophomore center Matt Paradis might be the most surprising starter in the Boise State football team’s Spring Game on Saturday.
Paradis, a walk-on from Council, took advantage of the opportunity created by fourth-year starter Thomas Byrd’s absence this spring. Byrd, who has bad knees, hasn’t participated in contact drills.
Paradis has worked extensively with the first team during spring ball.
“He’s a guy who certainly has the potential to be a starter for us at that spot,” offensive line coach Chris Strausser said. “He could very easily move out to guard. He’s done a nice job for us. He’s probably, in my mind, the guy who has stood out the most in our group as far as having to step up and do something for us.”
Paradis was the Defensive Scout Player of the Year in 2009 as a defensive tackle. He shifted to the offensive line midway through fall camp last season and moved to center about midway through the season. He spent the year on the scout team, battling the likes of Chase Baker and Billy Winn every day.
Now he’s facing the same guys — while snapping the ball to Kellen Moore and making the line adjustments.
“Thomas has been a huge help,” Paradis said. “He basically just follows me around and coaches me the whole practice. He’s been a great resource. … He’s brilliant.”
Depth at center has been a long-standing concern for the Broncos. Byrd is entering his fourth year as a starter and has only missed one game. Cory Yriarte, the only other player to start at center during Byrd’s career, has missed two straight seasons with a torn anterior cruciate ligament. Starting left guard Joe Kellogg can play center in a pinch.
Paradis has enjoyed his time on the offensive line. He played both ways at Council and wanted to play defense at Boise State.
“But now that I’m on the O-line, I wouldn’t switch back,” he said. “It’s just different. You have to work together a lot more with your other teammates. It’s a lot of knowledge base instead of just going out and playing.”
He makes an adjustment to the line’s blocking assignments on nearly every play, giving him a heavy mental burden as well as the physical challenges.
“It’s pretty difficult,” he said. “You’re the leader and make most of the calls and you kind of have to be on the ball out there.”
Boise State senior defensive tackle J.P. Nisby faces a misdemeanor battery charge stemming from an altercation at a bar. We have a story here.
The story has been updated with the news that Nisby has been dismissed from the team.
Linebacker Allen Mooney has left the Boise State program, leaving the Broncos with just four scholarship linebackers.
Mooney, a sophomore from Maple Valley, Wash., was the Defensive Scout Player of the Year last fall. He had missed several practices this spring with an injury.
The Broncos have Byron Hout, Aaron Tevis, J.C. Percy and Tommy Smith on scholarship. Hout is out for the spring and Tevis has been practicing every other day. They add Blake Renaud and Dillon Lukehart in the fall and those guys will have excellent opportunities to play.
Boise State coach Chris Petersen said he has "respectfully declined" a couple overtures from ESPN to televise Boise State's spring games.
Brian Murphy and I held a live chat this afternoon. The replay is available here.
Here are a couple stories of interest:
— ESPN.com on Boise State's disappointing finish last year.
— The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on the Bulldogs' excitement about facing Boise State.