Versatile Boise State lineman just lets chips fall, ‘should be playing Texas Hold ‘em’

Left guard is Garrett Curran’s natural position on the offensive line, but when duty calls, the sixth-year senior isn’t afraid to switch things up.

Curran’s very first collegiate start at Boise State was at right tackle in 2019, and he played several games at right guard during the 2021 season.

When an injury disrupted Boise State’s projected starting lineup during fall camp, Curran was called into action again, making his debut at center when the Broncos opened the season at Washington. He has now played every position on the O-line in a game except left tackle.

“Garrett, he should be playing Texas Hold ‘em, because when we brought that up with him, he didn’t even flinch. Like he didn’t even bat an eye,” Boise State offensive line coach Tim Keane said. “... He just was like, ‘Yep, I got it. I’ll handle that. That’s what the team needs. I’ll be able to do that.’”

Before the Broncos’ season opener, Curran had practiced at center at times during his Boise State career, but he had never played the position in a game. Coaches weren’t worried about how he’d handle the move.

“It’s a lot of responsibility. It takes a special person mentally to be able to kind of handle that,” Keane said. “Garrett’s at that stage of his career where he’s done a really, really good job of handling that, and showing to all the younger guys, like, this is what it looks like to be OK with having a little adversity pop up, and being able to roll and keep marching in the direction we wanted to go.”

Coaches say Curran is a natural leader for a Boise State O-line that’s a mix of experience and youth. Redshirt senior Ben Dooley starts at left guard and sixth-year senior Cade Beresford starts at right tackle. The Broncos also start redshirt freshmen Kage Casey (left tackle) and Roger Carreon (right guard).

“Garrett, I’m really excited about not only what he’s doing on the field, but how he’s leading,” Boise State coach Andy Avalos said. “He’s a leader for this whole team, not just the offense. Garrett does a tremendous job each and every day coming here, and it’s a perfect example for all three phases of our team.”

Boise State’s offense is averaging just 17.5 points per game — which ranks 120th out of 132 FBS teams — but offensive line play hasn’t been a major source of concern. In fact, the line has helped sophomore running back Ashton Jeanty average 182.5 all-purpose yards per game, a number that ranks third in the nation this season.

“I mean, knock on wood, there hasn’t been a ton of snap issues with him at that center position,” offensive coordinator Bush Hamdan said. “That’s not necessarily a position or a skill that just comes overnight. That’s something where a lot of times we’ve recruited guys that haven’t played the center position and try to put them in that position, and they haven’t been able to do it.

“... He is ... everything this program is all about. It’s those kind of guys, that when you throw them off-kilter, or they’re asked to do something that they haven’t been doing, are able to be successful because of their focus and their preparation.”

Avalos said Monday that expected starting center Mason Randolph is expected to return from injury “soon.” Curran said he’s willing to fill whatever role is needed moving forward.

“As I’ve progressed through my career, my mindset is just do everything possible to help the unit and fill whatever role needs to be filled,” Curran said.

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 68-70 at 10 a.m.), 0% chance of rain, 7 mph wind