Bronco Spring Ball Battles: Quarterbacks

What’s true for every football team in the nation seems to be accentuated with Boise State; the team only goes as far as the quarterback allows it.

Junior Brett Rypien is firmly entrenched as the starter for the Broncos, and continues to be a lightning rod for debate among the BSU faithful. Some say he has hit his ceiling and coaches should put him on a very short leash. They want someone else to take the rains. Those on the other end of the spectrum see Rypien as a young, supreme talent who is still budding into a superstar, someone who needs a little more time to reach the top of the mountain.

Whichever side you are on, or if you find yourself somewhere in the middle, the play of Rypien — and the quarterback position in general — is the key to propel the Broncos to their full potential.

Rypien, a 6-foot-2, 201-pound junior from Spokane, Wash., is joined on the roster by junior college transfer Rathen Ricedorff, a redshirt junior who put up eye-popping numbers while at Mesa Community College last year, and redshirt freshman Jake Constantine (Ventura, Calif.). Peoria, Ariz., highly touted signal-caller Chase Cord will be in fall camp as well as a true freshman.

For his career, Rypien has completed 517 of 824 passes (62.7%) for 44 touchdowns and 16 interceptions. His quarterback rating improved from 140.6 as a true freshman to 155.7 in his sophomore campaign. His detractors say his eight interceptions each season came at crucial, gut-wrenching moments. Regardless, Rypien must take the next step as a junior in order for Boise State to capture a Mountain West title and be in contention for a New Year’s Six bowl game.

Lurking as the backup is Ricedorff, who led the nation with 42 touchdowns last season at Mesa CC, while also throwing for 3,688 yards. He was named the National Junior College Athletic Association Offensive Player of the Year. His presence will create competition for Rypien, causing both players to improve their game. Should anything happen to the starter, Ricedorff should be ready to go this fall with a successful spring football campaign under his belt.

Constantine torched defenses while at Camarillo High School and put in some serious work during his redshirt year at Boise State. He needs to continue to develop and could become a starter by the time Rypien graduates or *gasp* declares early for the NFL.

Cord comes into Boise State as a heralded athlete and has all the makings of the next great Bronco quarterback. It’s doubtful that he plays immediately, although the talent is there for him to step in if needed.

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