By Chadd Cripe
© 2012 Idaho Statesman
The Boise State football team began its 2013 work this week with a return to the four-days-a-week strength and conditioning schedule.
Strength coach Tim Socha, who joined the staff in 2006, has tried to change up the workouts enough from year to year to avoid stagnation. This year, the workouts are part of a team-wide competition that includes academics and community service.
“We have some fundamental things we believe in and we stick to but everything else around that we want to change up so it has a different feel,” Socha said. “By the time Joe Southwick is a fifth-year senior, we don’t want him to go into the weight room going, ‘This is going to be the same thing I’ve done the last four years.’ Because you’re not going to work as hard.”
One significant emphasis this offseason is to bulk up on defense.
The Broncos allowed a 100-yard rusher six times last season. Washington’s Bishop Sankey rushed for 205 yards and racked up 279 yards from scrimmage to take the MVP award in the MAACO Bowl Las Vegas.
The Broncos will see him again in their next game, Aug. 31 against the Huskies in Seattle.
“It starts in the weight room,” defensive coordinator Pete Kwiatkowski said after that game. “We’ve got to get bigger. We’ve got to get stronger. We’ve got to continue to improve on being a physical team on the line of scrimmage, to get off blocks and not let guys hold us. I’m talking about the D-line, the linebackers and the DBs.”
Said Socha: “We talked about it. It just goes with time and it just takes time to build the kids you want to build. At defensive end last year, we had Demarcus Lawrence who was a junior college transfer and a guy who was in the program for one year (Sam Ukwuachu). Over time, those guys will get bigger and stronger. It doesn’t happen overnight. … That’s obviously a major emphasis for us this year.”
Winter conditioning is one of the most important items on the Broncos’ annual calendar. Socha ranks it second to summer conditioning in preparing players for the season.
“But if you’re going to have a successful summer, you’ve got to have a good base in the winter and set things up,” he said. “It’s 1a and 1b.”
I’ll have a story in the paper later this week — not sure yet which day.
I’ll have a story on Boise State’s latest commit, wide receiver Tanner Shipley of Wilsonville, Ore., next week (we reported his commitment Sunday). But here are a couple highlights from my conversation with him:
— Shipley (6-foot-2, 185 pounds) attended Boise State’s camp last summer and dreamed of playing for the Broncos or Oregon Ducks growing up. The Broncos told him they did not have room for him because of the commitment of Jack Austin, but they stayed in touch. Shipley committed to BYU and changed his mind when Boise State coaches called to say Austin had de-committed. Shipley was not bothered by the late offer. “I felt in their hearts that they were telling me the truth, that I was one of their guys,” he said. “That’s what I felt. I take it as a compliment. I’ve got an opportunity to go there and be part of this great team.”
— Shipley also had offers from Colorado, Oregon State, Northern Colorado and Wyoming. He has a grandfather and uncle on his mother’s side who played in the NFL and is a distant cousin of the Shipley brothers who played wide receiver at Texas.
ESPN has ranked the top five overachieving programs in college football based on recruiting rankings (Insider access required to read the story). Boise State ranks No. 1, with an average recruiting ranking of 77th and a 14-2 record the past three years against teams with higher-ranked recruiting classes.
Catching up on a few Boise State-related items from the week:
— Former Boise State tailback D.J. Harper is on the Texas team at the Texas vs. the Nation all-star game, which is Saturday in Allen, Texas. The game begins at 12:30 p.m. and airs regionally on Fox Southwest.
— Bryan Harsin continues to pile up the Boise State connections on his Arkansas State staff, hiring former safety Gerald Alexander as a graduate assistant. Here is the current staff (Alexander isn’t listed but reported his hiring on Twitter). There were reports earlier this month that former Boise State QB Mike Sanford would be the offensive coordinator, but he accepted a promotion to quarterbacks/wide receivers coach at Stanford this week.
— I don’t usually report scholarship offers, but it caused a bit of a stir on Twitter on Tuesday when cornerback Naijiel Hale, a junior at St. John Bosco High in California, tweeted that Boise State had given him his first scholarship offer. He is the son of late rapper Nate Dogg.
— Western Michigan is catching some grief for its new helmet design, which looks a lot like Boise State’s Pro Combat helmets. The interesting twist: Western Michigan is an adidas school, not Nike.
— Boise State has not answered questions about which players left the team or joined the team when the spring semester began last week.