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Sun., Jul. 19, 2015 7:30 AM PDT
A Closer Look: Richie Brockel
SAN DIEGO – Boise State is one of the most successful college football teams this decade outside of the BCS.
Still, there’s only one thing people talk about when Richie Brockel introduces himself.
“‘Boise … blue field!’” Brockel said. “That’s always the first thing everybody says. Then everybody always asks if the ducks crash on the field. That’s a myth. I’ve always got to dispel that one.”
The affable tight end further dispels the meathead notion that some associate with football players. He graduated Cum Laude in 2008 and got his master’s degree in accounting.
A co-captain at Boise State, he moonlighted as a pass-catcher in college, where his main role was to block on running plays. He also played some fullback and special teams.
He missed half of last year with an injury but finished his career with 32 catches for 293 yards and eight touchdowns.
“I’d say I’m versatile,” Brockel said. “I look forward to putting the pads on and doing some run-blocking. That’s what I was good at in college. Hopefully I’ll be able to transition that to the next level.”
That’s not what he expected to do as a kid. He spurned football’s physical nature in Pop Warner, which required him to play against boys four years older because he was heavier than all his peers.
“I hated football, and then I almost didn’t start again in high school. Somebody talked me into going out and then I went out and I just realized I loved it,” Brockel said. “I was way bigger than everybody playing on the freshman team so it was a lot more fun. I started to enjoy the contact side of football.”
The sport can claim responsibility for another development in Brockel’s life: pants and shoes.
He wore sandals and shorts every day in Phoenix and had to add to his wardrobe when he moved to Boise, Idaho. Now 6-foot-1, 251 pounds, he welcomes San Diego’s more temperate climate.
Brockel wants to improve his field awareness, which he believes will help him run better routes and get more leverage as a blocker, and speed up his first step. Forget that he’s an undrafted rookie – any tight end would face daunting competition in San Diego with Antonio Gates, Randy McMichael and Kris Wilson on the roster – but Brockel hopes his athleticism as a downfield blocker will offer some value.
So how does his technique compare to an offensive lineman?
“A lot of it’s similar in a sense. You work a lot of the same combinations,” Brockel said. “When you’re a tight end, a lot of times you’re blocking a lot more in space, going up to linebackers a little bit more, going out to safeties. You almost have to be a little bit more athletic in that sense.
“It definitely helps being smaller. Those big guys can’t move as well. There definitely is a different aspect to it, being on the outside of the play versus being a center or a guard. Inside, everything’s all wadded up.”