Bronco Spotlight: Winston Venable
Sept. 21, 2017

BOISE, Idaho - There's a familiar face to Bronco fans back on campus this fall, as former linebacker Winston Venable returned to Boise State to complete his degree.

Over Venable's two seasons at Boise State (2009-10), the Broncos went 26-1, capturing a pair of WAC titles as well as victories at the 2010 Tostitos Fiesta Bowl and the 2010 MAACO Bowl Las Vegas. Venable helped seal the 17-10 Fiesta Bowl victory over TCU by intercepting Horned Frog quarterback Andy Dalton with 18 seconds left.

Venable, named to the 2010 All-WAC First Team, finished his Bronco career with 116 tackles, 17.5 tackles-for-loss, 5.5 sacks, two interceptions and a fumble recovery. He was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Chicago Bears, making the team and appearing in 12 games during the 2011 season.

After being cut by the Bears during the offseason, Venable headed up North, where he signed with the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League. He spent five seasons with the Alouettes (2012-16), being named a CFL All-Star in 2015, before announcing his retirement in 2017. had the chance to catch up with Venable recently, and asked him a few questions about his return to Boise, and the memories it brings back.

What is it about Boise that brings you back?
I think it's everything that I experienced here in college. There's the sense of family, the small-town feel of the community. That's something that's important for me. I'm not a big, big city guy, but although Boise is growing, there's a lot of things in the city such as Boise State University, the cost of living, and just the people here. The people are nice, genuine people and I've learned that this community is something special to be a part of, and I want to be part of that.

How good is it to have the fraternity of former players and alumni here to make it more like home?
When you feel comfortable walking into a new door like [the Bleymaier Football Center], which was built after I was here, being able to come in and feel comfortable, see familiar faces and still have that warm welcome, it's awesome. One thing you see in the locker room, they have lockers that say, "Once a Bronco, always a Bronco." That statement holds true.

You look on social media, and Jeron Johnson posted a postgame picture with four other Broncos and he said, "Once a Bronco, always a Bronco." And those were guys in different stages of their careers, guys he didn't even play with, so I think that's a testament of who we are and the family we've created.

How cool is it to come back here and see how much has changed?
That is something that is really special to me. I was fortunate enough to talk to the guys earlier in training camp. I told them that it's special to be able to think that I had something to do with where they're sitting in their new facility. And the growth of it is amazing, just to know that I had something to do with it is awesome.

How is it a testament to the family atmosphere that the familiar faces have been here for so long, and getting to see them when you come back?
It feels good, it is that comfortable feeling and it shows exactly that. People want to be here. People like being here. People are comfortable here and enjoy working together, and enjoy that unique bond. We know how we would like to get things done, and that's a special, unique way. If you're an old Bronco, you know that.

How has the familiarity and consistency of the faces, all these face of different eras of Bronco Football, running this program make and keep the culture strong?
It does keep the culture consistent, and shows that we are a family. It shows that we care about those things. Coach Harsin cares about having guys he's familiar with on staff to do those things. Championship teams usually always consider themselves a big family, and I think that's important. The Boise State Broncos, we produce championship teams, and a testament to that is that we are a family. Having Coach Harsin, Coach [Andy] Avalos, a guy like myself even come back and try to be a part of it is continuing that family feel and chemistry, keeping that strong to win championships.

» «