Boise State tailback D.J. Harper eager to carry the load in his sixth season

By Chadd Cripe
ccripe@idahostatesman.com
© 2012 Idaho Statesman

Boise State senior tailback D.J. Harper hopes to take full advantage of his sixth year with the Broncos.

“I kind of take it as a personal challenge,” he said of assuming the lead role in the backfield. “I know there might be some people doubting us a little bit, doubting the team. I take it as a personal challenge and a little disrespect. I think we’re going to go out and prove some people wrong.”

Harper missed most of two seasons with consecutive torn anterior cruciate ligaments. He was granted a sixth year of eligibility by the NCAA after scoring at least two touchdowns in each of the past five seasons.

He never has been the focal point of the ground game, though.

“I’m excited for it,” he said. “I’ve been waiting for this opportunity for a really long time. Obviously having those two setbacks and having to work through it, I think it’s made me a stronger player mentally and physically.”

Harper is backed up by senior Drew Wright and three freshmen — redshirt freshman Jay Ajayi and true freshmen Jack Fields and Devan Demas.

Ajayi looked sharp in Tuesday’s practice and is fully recovered from his own torn ACL, sustained last fall.

“Jay’s looking really good, especially coming back from his injury he had last year,” Harper said. “These young guys come from some great programs and have definitely shown signs of some great things to come.”

Harper said he hasn’t made any changes to his preparation and doesn’t want to take it easy in camp to protect his body.

“I’ve got to go full speed,” he said. “I’ve definitely got to get ready for this. It’s going to be a long season. I know I’ve got some guys behind me who can back me up. I’ve got to push it this fall and really get ready for it.”

•••

Redshirt freshman tight end Holden Huff continued his strong start to fall camp Tuesday. He made a juggling, 65-yard touchdown catch in a team session and caught three short TD passes in red-zone work. Huff is 6-foot-5, 220 pounds. “He’s a big target down there in the red zone,” senior linebacker J.C. Percy said.

The first-team offense clicked in two game-like drives, scoring a touchdown (Matt Miller TD catch) and a field goal. The group has two touchdowns and a field goal in three drives this camp.

“This spring we did some really good things,” Harper said. “Just going through that whole entire spring ball process, during the summer, getting that team chemistry together, has really helped us.”

The defensive play of the day came from tackle Greg Grimes. A pass was deflected into the air and a receiver tried to bat it down but hit the ball right to Grimes, who made the grab.

The newcomers will be back at it this afternoon in the final workout of split practices. The team comes together Wednesday for the first full-pads practice.

•••

Some leftover comments from linebackers coach Bob Gregory (see Tommy Smith storytoday):

— On the freshmen: “It’s a good class overall. I like our three linebackers. I think they’re going to be good players for us at some point, whenever that is, when that light switch goes on.”

— On sophomore middle linebacker Blake Renaud: “He has gotten better. The spring was huge for him. One of the things the spring did for him was give him a lot of confidence. He was able to make plays in the pass game, which was great, and I think that’s carried over to fall.”

•••

Junior weak-side linebacker Dustin Kamper has caught Percy’s attention. Kamper is a walk-on from Nampa Christian High.

“He’s probably the most improved out of everybody that’s coming back,” Percy said.

§ Enjoy the updates, Chadd

Anything you can add on the QB situation?

Also, have you seen any D schemes that would have Renaud and Smith on the field together?

Answers

Can't say much on the QBs .... I haven't noticed Smith-Renaud combo, but they have rotated so much it wouldn't surprise me if they were out there together at some point. Wouldn't expect much of that in the game, though. J.C. Percy is too good of a player ...

Chadd

Are all four QB's getting equal reps with the first team offense?

QBs

I can't get into details of who's working with which groups, who's in what practice, etc. If I do, I won't be going to practice anymore.

That's what I call

honesty in reporting.....

That provided a good chuckle

Thanks Chadd.

Saw some this morning...

They try and keep it covered but true homers stalk the team, and hard.

Almost nothing to report that Chadd doesnt already...especially Holden Huff. Chadd is dead on. That cat is killing it right.

Chadd you are doing a fine job as always and deserve a 100% raise.

JLandon.....

Stop being a secret-squirl ......

In public!

I cant help it

It's a true sickness. It peaks August 17th or until an arrest is imminent. Whichever comes first.

A group email with very little unique insight may or may not be coming.

Nobody apparently likes Chadd. Maybe he should boycott.

----------

You fry wants with that?

§ Chadd, you can tell us.

We won't let on. Won't say a word. Promise.

Thanks for the laugh

As a reporter, that has to be killing you! But, yeah, lack of access would be worse.

Tell them Murphy hacked your

Tell them Murphy hacked your account and posted it.

Aliases

I think it's clear that we need to start using aliases on this blog to help prevent Chadd from losing his access. I'm thinking Bo Mouthwick, Slant Bedrick, Kimmy Troughrea, and Pat Nikki.

Pig Latin!

I have it on good authority that Coach Pete does not speak Pig Latin.

§ When did you meet

ugly, the runner who still is looking for the bell tower in Moscow?

Oejay Outhwicksay

Sounds like something I'd order at Hannah's

Chadd,

we've certainly noticed a paucity of information on the quarterbacks (actually no information) other than somebody is throwing those TDs. Seriously, thanks for all the good info on the rest of the team--very encouraging on the RB's. And, with Percy's accolades for Kamper, this looks to be a strong LB corp. Wow!

DJ

Is the best unknown RB in the country, but not for long! Shhhh....don't tell Michigan St.

Place your bets

now

http://www.cbssports.com/collegefootball/blog/eye-on-college-football/19748067/bovada-releases-2012-college-football-win-total-betting-odds

§ Hot today and staying in the shade?

It's a mild 105 here right now.

They've got BSU at 9.5 ... I'll take the over with a confidence factor of 6 (as in 35-1, with 1 being the highest). I'd give 1-5 (no particular order) to USC, Oregon, Alabama, LSU, and Oklahoma.

Michigan State at 8.5.

Many teams aren't listed: Utah, Arizona, everyone else in the MWC, the entire WAC, and plenty of others. Site does state it will add more teams later.

ugly undoubtedly would take the under, since he's stuck on 9-3.

ugly - you own these guys

rajor, JLang and T-Bone (B and a bunchof numbers man) can't let a topic pass without getting you involved in some negative way and trying to destroy your character and reputation on these boards by ridiculing you, even in your absentia.

They are afraid of you for some reason and have a great amount of pent up fear and anger about you for.

You own them.

It is no wonder, as you are indeed the preeminent voice of reason and football knowledge on these boards.

The Out To Lunch Bunch knows this and they just can't handle knowing they are playing second fiddle to you.

It is kinda fun to watch - you dominating them without even posting and such.

VNDL

BAA Member #63799

I'm sure ugly

will have a very good reason for taking the under......

Scooping murph

With Murph.....

http://videos.idahostatesman.com/vmix_hosted_apps/p/media?id=150030531&item_index=1&all=1&sort=NULL