Petersen closes practices; freshman corner makes a move

Boise State coach Chris Petersen has decided to close practices to everyone outside the football program, including the media, beginning next week. One practice per week will be open to the media for 20-30 minutes.

Boise State practices have been open to the media for many years, including last season under Petersen.

"We're closing practice to eliminate distractions to the coaches and the players," Petersen said.

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True freshman cornerback Brandyn Thompson of Elk Grove, Calif., has put together an impressive camp — so impressive, in fact, that he might play this year.

Thompson often breaks up passes, even against the top receivers.

Smart emerges from shadow; offense looks sharp

By Chadd Cripe

You don’t need to remind senior defensive tackle Ian Smart whose shoes he’s filling this year.

He has heard the name plenty.

Smart replaces Andrew Browning, a three-year starter and All-WAC first-teamer who recorded 8.5 sacks last season.

“I watched all his film,” Smart said. “You’re always trying to learn from the best. You look at the coaches and they’re expecting you to do what he did. I’m not trying to be Browning, but I want to have that production. … He’s not a bad guy to emulate.”

Smart (6-foot-3, 274 pounds) takes a different approach to line play than Browning.

Single-game tickets go on sale Thursday; Washington, Hawaii almost sold out

Tickets to individual Boise State home games go on sale at 10 a.m. Thursday — and supplies will be tight.

The Broncos have sold nearly 21,000 season tickets. Another 5,000 tickets go to students. Opponents get some, too, with Idaho and Wyoming eating nearly 2,000 tickets each.

Plus, the construction at Bronco Stadium has made some of the 30,000 seats off-limits.

Tickets range from $26 to $42 for adults and $17 to $27 for high school students and younger. Fans can purchase a maximum of six tickets per game.

Tickets are available at www.idahotickets.com, by phone at 426-4737 or 426-1494, and in person at the Athletic Ticket Office and Albertsons Select-a-Seat locations.

Hawkins finds a home at wide receiver

By Chadd Cripe

Boise State junior Julian Hawkins has settled into his new role at wide receiver.

Hawkins (6-foot-3, 220 pounds), who switched from tight end to wide receiver in December, envisions himself as a Legedu Naanee-type receiver because of his size.

Hawkins made one catch in a limited role last year.

“This year I see my role being a whole lot more in the offense,” Hawkins said.

Hawkins has endured an up-and-down career. He was academically ineligible in 2005 and had to sit out fall camp.

“Coach Pete kind of said this is the light at the end of the tunnel for me now,” Hawkins said, “so I’m just going to take it and run with it.”

Lose gets scholarship; offense struggles

By Chadd Cripe

Boise State senior fullback Michael Lose has been awarded a scholarship, coach Chris Petersen said.

The Broncos gave scholarships to four walk-ons in the spring. Another scholarship became available and Petersen gave it to Lose, who also plays special teams.

“Lose has done everything exactly right in this program,” Petersen said. “He’s been a leader. He’s an excellent student. He’s been a mentor for the young guys. He’s kind of what being a Bronco is all about.”

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The Broncos offense struggled mightily Monday in both practices. The timing was off, passes weren’t caught and turnovers were rampant.

Hamdan returns; an explanation on injuries

By Chadd Cripe

Boise State junior quarterback Bush Hamdan took snaps this morning during the first of two Broncos practices.

Hamdan missed Saturday’s scrimmage because of a sore hand, the result of hitting it on a helmet during practice last week.

Senior Taylor Tharp took most of the snaps with the first-team offense. Sophomore Nick Lomax, who played well in the scrimmage, also took some snaps with the first team. Hamdan played mostly with the second team.

The offense, which performed well in the scrimmage, was out of synch for most of the practice. The wide receivers couldn’t hang onto the ball during 1-on-1s, the timing was off on several pass plays and the offense committed at least four turnovers.

'Flashes of good football'

By Chadd Cripe

The Boise State offense moved the ball consistently and the defense stiffened near the goal line Saturday afternoon at Bronco Stadium in the team’s first scrimmage of fall camp.

The first-team offense drove inside the 10-yard line on all three of its possessions, all under the leadership of senior quarterback Taylor Tharp. The results: a fumble by Tanyon “Slash” Bissell at the goal line, a 1-yard touchdown sneak by Tharp and a missed field goal.

In all, the first-team offense ran 36 plays covering 199 yards.

The first-team defense stopped two of those drives in the end zone and stuffed star tailback Ian Johnson on three straight run plays inside the 2-yard line before Tharp sneaked across the goal line.

Hamdan misses scrimmage

Boise State junior quarterback Bush Hamdan did not play in Saturday’s scrimmage at Bronco Stadium. Hamdan bruised his throwing hand by hitting it on a helmet at practice Wednesday.

Hamdan’s throwing ability was hampered Thursday and Friday, but he expected to play in the scrimmage. However, he did not have enough strength in the hand to play.

Hamdan is expected to practice Monday, the team’s next scheduled workout. Coaches were uncertain how his missed practice time will affect the search for a starter.

Senior Taylor Tharp and sophomore Nick Lomax appeared sharp in Hamdan’s absence.

Here's how Harsin will use QBs in scrimmage

By Chadd Cripe

Boise State’s quarterback race enters the critical first scrimmage of fall camp unchanged from the offseason.

Junior Bush Hamdan and senior Taylor Tharp are the co-No. 1s, while sophomore Nick Lomax is No. 3, redshirt freshman Mike Coughlin is No. 4 and freshman Kellen Moore is No. 5.

Offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin hopes to narrow the race to two or three quarterbacks after Saturday’s scrimmage, which will begin between 3:30 and 4 p.m. at Bronco Stadium. The public is invited to attend.

Hamdan, Tharp and Lomax will get quality time with the first-team offense in the scrimmage, Harsin said. The first-teamers, second-teamers and third-teamers will take about 30 snaps each. The three quarterbacks also will play with the second team. Harsin wants to keep their opportunities as balanced as possible.

Kicker Brock Jaramillo's winding path to Boise

By Chadd Cripe

The Broncos’ new kicker, walk-on Brock Jaramillo, has taken a winding path to Boise.

Jaramillo is a longtime soccer player who joined his high school football team in Temecula, Calif., during his senior year. He was so impressive that San Diego State offered him a scholarship.

However, Jaramillo broke his leg playing soccer and San Diego State pulled its offer.

That sent Jaramillo on a junior-college tour. He spent one year each at Mt. San Jacinto, Palomar and Orange Coast. The stay at Palomar was the most frustrating, because Jaramillo was told the day before the season opener that he was a half-credit shy of being eligible.

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