By Chadd Cripe
© 2012 Idaho Statesman
The Boise State football team opened spring practice Monday morning with a 2-hour, 15-minute workout in helmets.
“The pace for the first day I thought was really good,” new quarterbacks coach Jonathan Smith said. “You could tell the kids were enthused to get back out there.”
The passing game looked sharp despite the loss of four-year starting quarterback Kellen Moore. All but one receiver returns, and the players held their own 7-on-7 practices twice a week during the winter.
“There was some timing,” Smith said. “They’ve been working hard and getting together and throwing.”
A few impressions (keep in mind that Boise State policy prevents much detail about practice):
— The quarterbacks looked sharp as a group. Redshirt freshman Jimmy Laughrea is known for his arm strength, and it showed.
— The strength of the offense this year might be the wide receivers. It’s a deep, experienced group. As Mitch Burroughs pointed out in a story I wrote for today’s paper, the group is well positioned to help the new quarterback adjust. “It can’t be totally on (the quarterbacks) to make every play,” he said. “We’ve got to help them out.”
— The lack of pads makes it difficult to judge what the defense is doing. Some of the guys I’m interested to see in pads: defensive ends Demarcus Lawrence and Sam Ukuwachu and linebacker Tyler Gray. Those are three big frames.
I’ll have a feature on Smith in Tuesday’s newspaper. He joked about his past, which includes stops at Oregon State (Boise State has ties to Oregon), Idaho (the Broncos’ rival) and Montana (Boise State has ties to Montana State).
“I’m the oddball,” Smith said.
He left a coordinator post at Montana, but he said that wasn’t much of a consideration because of the opportunity to learn at Boise State.
“That’s something I’d like to do again sometime in my career,” he said of coordinating. “I just kind of felt to get around (coach Chris Petersen) and his staff and learn, I thought that would be huge. I was kind of excited about the opportunity to coach the guy who replaces Kellen. Because that’s a challenge — that’s no joke. That in a way kind of challenges me, and it’s not going to be easy.”
Boise State director of player personnel Julius Brown has taken a job as cornerbacks coach at Troy, he said Monday.
Brown, a former Boise State cornerback, has been on the staff for five years — two as offensive graduate assistant and three as director of player personnel, which dealt largely with on-campus recruiting.