BOISE - Between a new position coach in Brad Bedell and trying to replace three graduated starters from last fall, Boise State’s offensive line will have plenty of new faces this season.
The Broncos say goodbye to a trio of veteran starters in Mario Yakoo, Steven Baggett and Travis Averill, who combined for 121 career starts between them.
“It’s an awesome challenge and the cool thing is we learned a lot from them and we appreciate them for that and we will definitely take on the reigns and do a good job,” said sophomore guard John Molchon.
Brad Bedell takes over as the Broncos new offensive line coach after former coach Scott Huff left in the spring to take the same position at the University of Washington. Bedell, who served as Harsin’s offensive line coach while the duo was at Arkansas State in 2013, says the buy-in from his group has been tremendous.
“I got to come in and see what they’re like, and fit in there, don’t have 17 (players) come to me, I’ve to go to 17. I’ve leaned on them, they’ve leaned on me,” Bedell said.
“The cool thing about every offensive line coach is that they are all about physicality and toughness and Bedell has done an awesome job of taking us under his wing,” Molchon said.
“He brings a lot of intensity and really gets the guys going,” said sophomore guard Garrett Larson.
The Broncos do return two starters from last year in center Mason Hampton, the former Meridian High School standout was named to the preseason All-Mountain West team earlier this month. Fellow senior Archie Lewis has 26 career starts after starting all 13 games last fall at left tackle. He is sliding over to the right tackle position for his senior season.
Molchon and Garrett Larson are listed as starters at the guard position right now. Molchon started three games last season at tackle, while Larson is a former Fruitland standout. Rounding out the current starting five is redshirt freshman Ezra Cleveland at left tackle, last year’s scout team player of the year has earned plenty of praise from his new position coach and teammates.
“He works hard, he’s very humble, and he studies the game, and those are the things that you love, and he loves to compete,” Bedell said.
Making things even more difficult is that out of the current starting five offensive lineman right now, only Cleveland was able to participate in spring ball due to injuries, but Bedell believes they found a positive for the guys sitting out spring ball.
“All those guys that did not participate in spring, they never missed a meeting, they asked questions, they took notes, and they were engaged, they didn’t sit in the back and say, well I’m not playing this spring, and they helped, they coached up the young guys,” Bedell said.
Despite replacing three starters from last season and a new position coach trying to get up to speed, the Broncos believe the transition to date has been fantastic.
“The good thing about Bedell is when he came in, he didn’t change the system, he really adapted to us,” said Molchon.
“Rather than go in there and say here’s the way I used to do it, no, here’s the way we are going to do it, and I think that’s been awesome,” Bedell said.