BOISE, Idaho — Every time you thrive down Bronco Lane, right before you see the Boise State practice field on the left, you catch a glimpse of greatest on the right.
Perched on top of a cement riser, holding a clipboard, and wearing his trademark fedora and suit, sits a bronze statue of unforgettable man - Lyle Smith.
The Godfather of Boise State football. The gatekeeper to the Broncos Hall of Fame.
Over 70 years ago, Smith began paving a path that would eventually guide a football program in Boise, Idaho, to national prominence.
As the Broncos enter year two of the Andy Avalos Era, Boise State's head coach is preaching the importance of reestablishing that foundation, and two days into fall camp, there is plenty of evidence Avalos and Co. are well on there way.
"I think coach Avalos has done a fantastic job of reestablishing what he wants this program to be like and really building from the ground up and not skipping any corners either," Boise State wide receivers coach Matt Miller said. "He's been doing it step-by-step, brick-by-brick and it's really brought a good connection with the players."
Miller knows what it's like to be in the shoes of Broncos on the practice field and inside Albertsons Stadium. The player-turned-coach was a back-to-back all-conference selection in 2012 and 2013, and was apart of Boise State's dominant squad that defeated Arizona in the Fiesta Bowl.
Following practice Thursday, Boise State tight end Riley Smith mirrored Miller's comments on the Broncos' locker room connection and building Avalos' standard.
"A big thing is accountability and it's not just coaches to players, it's player to player. We all know what the standard is and we're all holding each other accountable to it," Smith said. "You don't want to let your teammates down, you don't want to let your brothers down, you're always want to be the best you can."
More than 70 years after Lyle Smith put Boise State on the national map, incoming players still recognize the greatness that came before them.
After the Broncos' first fall practice of 2022, standout safety JL Skinner said Boise State still looks back on dominant teams of the past, "ready" to put the City of Trees in the national spotlight again this fall.
"There's been a standard instilled here from way before I was here. That standard that you see - we watch videos on them all the time, about the very dominant Boise State teams - and that really is the standard here," Skinner said. "We feel as if we can get there as a team and that's really what we want to do. So, the standard is the standard. Everyone knows when you come here, there's a standard that you have to stay at and you have to perform at, and we all are ready for the task."
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