Boise State head football coach Bryan Harsin held an hour long press conference where he spoke to the local media on March 6 to preview the Bronco’s upcoming spring practice.
Below are highlights from Harsin’s first spring press conference as Boise State’s head coach.
— Harsin opened up by speaking about former Bronco defensive lineman Randy Trautman, who passed away on March 3 at the age of 53. Harsin spoke highly of the former walk-on from Caldwell who helped lead Boise State to the 1980 NCAA Division 1- AA Championship. Trautman is the only Bronco enshrined in the College Football Hall of Fame.
“[Trautman] embodied what it means to be a Bronco,” Harsin said.
— The Broncos wrapped up winter workouts today. Harsin said the players were “grinding pretty hard,” and strength and conditioning coach Jeff Pitman has done a great job thus far
The coaching staff had the players run decks in the rain at 5:45 in the morning before surprising them with a buffet breakfast in the Stueckle Sky Center.
“They’ve worked extremely hard,” Harsin said.
— Harsin detailed the schedule for spring practices, which begin on March 10. The Broncos will continue with practices on the 12 and 14. A closed scrimmage will then be held under the lights at Bronco Stadium on March 16. Practice will continue on the 18 before yet another closed scrimmage on March 20 before students vacate campus for spring break. Quarterbacks will not be live in either scrimmage.
The first time fans will be able to see the Broncos play will be April 12. Harsin hopes to get 20,000 fans out to Bronco Stadium for the annual Spring Game. The Spring Game will be an offense vs defense scrimmage.
“I think it’d be great to have a great environment,” Harsin said.
Another open scrimmage, geared towards students and the faculty of Boise State, will occur in April 5.
Harsin said multiple deans have already visited the Bleymaier Football Center to speak to the team.
— Boise State will be without the services of tight end Holden Huff and linebacker Andrew Pint for the season opener against Ole Miss on Aug. 28 in the Georgia Dome. Huff and Pint were suspended for a violation of team rules.
— Eight Broncos will be held out of spring practice due to injuries. Rees Odhiambo, Travis Saxton, Chanceller James, Ben Weaver, Taylor Pope, Cameron Hartsfield, Alec Dhaenens and Andrew Tereck will miss spring practices because of undisclosed injuries.
Harsin said there is a possibility several of the injured athletes can still participate in individual drills, but none will do team drills or play in any of the scrimmages this spring.
— In the months since being hired, Harsin has grown close to figuring out what type of offense the Broncos will run. Harsin said the Broncos will use an up-tempo, no huddle offense that will have the quarterback line up under center—in the pistol formation used heavily last season–as well as in shotgun. It appears Boise State will be a melting pot from Harsin’s experience at Arkansas State last season and that of offensive coordinator Mike Sanford’s when he was an offensive assistant at Stanford.
Harsin also said there will be a larger focus on the running game this season behind the strength of Jay Ajayi.
“The core still will be running the football on offense,” Harsin said. “To be a successful team, to be a championship team, you have to run the ball.”
— Boise State’s shift to a no huddle, up-tempo offense won’t be hindered by the proposed 10 second “slow down” rule. The NCAA rules committee recently tabled discussion on the rule that would force the offense to allow 10 seconds to run off the play clock before they are allowed to snap the ball.
“Not a lot of fun to sit that long is it?” Harsin joked after looking at his watch for 10 seconds waiting to respond to the question. “I’m glad it didn’t pass to say the least.”
— Grant Hedrick and Tommy Stuart will take the majority of the reps at quarterback this spring, according to Harsin. Harsin feels lucky that the Broncos were able to land another quarterback in Stuart after Nick Patti transferred earlier this year.
Redshirt freshman Ryan Finley will be in limited participation during the spring as he continues to rehab his injured shoulder. A plan for Finely’s return has been set by the coaching staff that includes a set number of throws each day. Finely will do some individual drills, but will not participate in any team segments.
“He’s done a great job in our drills,” Harsin said. “I think he’s hungry to get out there. I know he wants to be in everything, but that just isn’t going to happen (yet).”
At the end of spring the coaching staff will re-evaluate Finley’s situation. The Broncos will have depth at the quarterback position as they signed Alex Ogle this spring.
“Alex needs to be prepared come summer,” Harsin said.
— Harsin commented briefly on the Broncos regular season schedule.
“First five games we have a lot of traveling to do,” Harsin said. “Ole Miss is a good football team, I have no idea about Connecticut and what the travel is like for that. I like the fact that we have good teams at home.”
Boise State will also face Louisiana-Lafayette, a familiar opponent for Harsin, at home on Sept. 20.
— Harsin as well briefly commented on the situation of Nick Patti—the only player to transfer out of the program after Harsin’s hiring. Harsin said Patti’s decision was mostly personal, and that Boise is a special place, but not everyone fits in here.
“[Patti] being from Florida, there was an opportunity for him with the coaching change here,” Harsin said.
— On recruiting, Harsin said the coaching staff is constantly recruiting, but they are unsure if they will use the three remaining scholarships they have available for this year.