Is Brett Rypien Back?
Brett Rypien had 2 touchdowns and 3 interceptions in his first 6 games of the season (he sat one out with a concussion). He has 5 touchdowns and 0 interceptions in the last two. Is Brett Rypien back to his two-time Mountain West First-Team form? I’ll let you decide.
Rypien’s first 6 games: (61% completion, 822 yards, 2 TD, 3 INT)
Rypien’s last two: (72% completion, 518 yards, 5 TD, 0 INT)
First let’s go over why I believe Brett struggled to find his groove in the beginning of the season. Thomas Sperbeck. He is currently Boise State’s all time receiving yards leader and was key in the previous two seasons for Brett Rypien and the offense. It seemed Sperbeck always came down with the ball and was one of the most reliable receivers Boise State has ever had. Losing Sperbeck was huge, and add in youth at the receiving position and there was no one but Cedrick Wilson making catches. As the season has gone on, receivers such as AJ Richardson have stepped up (7 receptions for 102 yards in the past 2 games). Freshman WRs CT Thomas & Octavius Evans also combined for 93 yards in the previous 2 games, on 9 receptions.
Now I’m not totally sure this affected Rypien negatively but another possible cause for his inability to be consistent and score was rotating with grad transfer QB Montell Cozart. It adds sparks at times for the offense but at other times seems when Rypien gets something going and gets pulled, it could also hinder a good drive. It’s also possible that switching QB’s is what has kept this Boise State team alive during Brett Rypien’s struggles. Either way, having a two QB system does take a toll on Brett’s numbers as he isn’t the only QB making plays on the field.
Level of Competition
Could it be that Brett’s numbers are inflated against Utah State and Nevada because they aren’t good teams? It’s possible. But Utah State had a pretty good pass defense going into the game (these numbers could also be skewed due to Utah State’s schedule). Utah State’s pass defense allows on average 200 passing yards per game (38th in the country), and Rypien dropped 260 on them. That being said, Nevada’s pass defense is utterly atrocious, allowing 295 passing yards per game on average (127th in the country). There are only 3 defenses that allow more in college football. So, it is possible that Brett has big numbers against lower levels of competition. Utah State and Nevada aren’t exactly the cream of the crop.
With his struggles the first half of the season and the fact it took him until his 4th game to have a passing touchdown, it was pretty obvious it shook Brett’s confidence. For someone who had passed for 7 and 6 touchdowns in his first 4 starts of 2015 and 2016 respectively, it’s clear he wasn’t where he wanted to be. Is his confidence better at this point in the season? I would argue that it is. Is it back to where Brett Rypien used to be? Time will tell.
In the next coming weeks, we will see Rypien’s arm tested as he faces a Colorado State pass defense better than Nevada’s but still not great, and a really good pass defense at Fresno State (25th in FBS). Did I mention one of Boise State’s last opponents Air Force has the 2nd best pass defense in the country? Gulp
To really see if Rypien is back…Keep an eye out for new faces stepping up in Boise State’s offense, how Rypien & Cozart continue to mesh in this 2 QB system, how Rypien’s confidence grows, and how he fares against greater competition in the next few weeks. I believe Brett Rypien is returning to his original form, do you?
P.S. Did you see that catch he made against Nevada??!!?!
Photo cred: nydailynews.com