With starting running back George Holani sidelined with a lower-body injury against UCF, the Boise State football team needed reinforcements.
While standout sophomore running back Ashton Jeanty did much of the heavy lifting — to the tune of 212 all-purpose yards — the Broncos turned to a true freshman to carry some of the load.
Jambres “Breezy” Dubar made his Boise State debut in the second quarter, rushing up the middle for a 3-yard gain, the first of his five carries on the day.
“He comes off to the sideline, he’s telling me his reads and all this stuff, and he’s breathing all hard,” Boise State running backs coach James Montgomery said. “I’m just like, ‘Dude, calm down, bro. You’re gonna get back in there and get another shot, just enjoy the moment.’ It was awesome to see him have that success.”
Holani’s status for Boise State’s matchup against North Dakota on Saturday at Albertsons Stadium is unclear, so Dubar could be part of the Broncos’ game plan again.
“It’s gonna be an increased role,” offensive coordinator Bush Hamdan said. “... Naturally, he probably went through the nerves of being a freshman on maybe his first carry — I think he said something to (head coach) Andy (Avalos) — but once he gets in there and gets settled down, I think he just reverts back to his natural talent. He’s physical. He’s tough. He can make plays. We’re excited about continuing to get him going.”
Dubar, a 6-foot, 211-pound four-star recruit from Anna, Texas, flashed his potential with a 24-yard run in the third quarter against UCF. He finished the game with five carries for 29 yards.
“I think he did a great job,” Jeanty said. “He’s just going to keep taking steps forward and getting more comfortable. ... I think he’ll be able to do some great things for us.”
Montgomery said Boise State does not overwhelm its freshmen with the entire playbook right away, so players like Dubar are just beginning to get their feet wet.
“With the young guys, you have a plan throughout camp, so you give them probably 20 to 30 percent of the offense,” Montgomery said. “That’s so they can learn the basics, but just enough so they can digest it. Once they get that down, then we start to up their reps and give them new pieces. But we keep it very play-specific with them early on so we can build that confidence.”
Dubar had two runs that went for negative yards, but Montgomery said that’s just part of the growth process. And getting those first-game jitters out of the way helps, too.
“I think just the nerves will probably be down just a little bit, and so he’ll be able to go out there and process what he’s seeing and actually make a read, not just run full speed off the edge,” Montgomery said. “That’s kind of the main thing with young guys. They get so juiced up, sometimes they don’t make the proper reads. But he worked so hard, the football gods were on his side.”
NORTH DAKOTA AT BOISE STATE
When: 10 a.m. Saturday
Where: Albertsons Stadium (36,387, FieldTurf), Boise
TV: FS1 (Eric Collins, Devin Gardner)
Radio: KBOI 670 AM/93.1 FM (Bob Behler, Pete Cavender)
Records: Boise State 0-2; North Dakota 2-0
Series: First meeting
Weather: High of 91 degrees (but 70 at 10 a.m.), 0% chance of rain, 7 mph wind