BOISE – Boise State football coach Bryan Harsin met with the media on Thursday to preview the start of practice and touched on the topic everybody wants to know: What's the offense going to look like?
After the switch to the Pistol formation last season under former coach Chris Petersen, it appears the Broncos will go back to an offense more familiar to Boise State fans under Harsin and offensive coordinator Mike Sanford.
“We'll be no-huddle and we'll have movement within it,” Harsin said. “We'll still have personnel groups within it. They'll be times for tempo and times for getting a little bit of funk in there.
“(It will be) a combination of what we've done, a combination of whats been done here recently and then obviously Stanford and some different ideas from Arkansas State that we were able to do last year. It was a melting pot of all those different things.”
Harsin, the former offensive coordinator at Boise State, spent last season as the head coach at Arkansas State. Sanford, a former Boise State quarterback, spent last season as the quarterbacks and wide receivers coach at Stanford.
“The core will still be running the football on offense,” Harsin said. “That won't change. I still feel like to be a successful team and a championship team, you have to run the ball. What we do and how we do it will revolve around the running game, and then having the ability to throw the ball down the field and have an explosive pass game.
“Then to add in the mixture of personnel and different people on the field and use them in multiple ways, if that's what we're able to do, and we have to find that out with our team as we go throughout the spring. That's our plan, to be able to utilize some of the movement, but also be able to go fast as well.”
Boise State was known in the past as a team that used multiple formations and shifts as a way to find an advantage against the defense. Some of that was removed from last year's offense to simplify it for younger players, but it became predictable at times, especially in short-yardage situations.
In addition to primarily going without a huddle, Harsin said the Broncos will spend much of the time in the shotgun formation but, “We'll have the variety of backfields with the back off-set, in the pistol and under center. We'll use all three of them.”
TWO SUSPENSIONS FOR OLE MISS GAME
Harsin announced that redshirt junior tight end Holden Huff and redshirt sophomore linebacker Andrew Pint have been suspended for next season's opener against Ole Miss due to a violation of team rules.
Huff battled injuries last season and had six receptions for 32 yards as a sophomore. He has 23 catches for 282 yards and four touchdowns in two seasons with the Broncos. The tight ends are expected to be more involved in Boise State's offense under the new coaching staff.
ODHIAMBO, WEAVER AMONG GROUP OUT FOR SPRING PRACTICE
Junior right tackle Rees Odhiambo and sophomore linebacker Ben Weaver headline a group of players that Harsin said will not compete in team drills or the scrimmages during spring practice due to injuries.
Both Odhiambo and Weaver battled injuries last season.
Also out for spring practice are linebacker Travis Saxton, safety Chanceller James, wide receiver Taylor Pope, cornerback Cameron Harsfield, offensive lineman Andrew Tercek and tight end Alec Dhaenens.
“Most of those guys will be back in the summer,” said Harsin, who indicated that none of the injuries are serious long-term issues. “Most of these guys will be out there doing things on the side. They just won't compete in the team drills.”
Boise State will have six practices prior to spring break and nine practices after. They plan to install the basic foundation of the offense and defense during the first three practices and will have a closed scrimmage on March 20 to gauge their progress before taking nearly two weeks off for spring break.
The Broncos will have an open scrimmage on April 5 at Bronco Stadium for the Boise State faculty and students, but the general public will also be able to attend.
Harsin said his goal is to break the attendance record at the annual spring game, which is set for April 12 at 5 p.m.
“We'd like to set it,” Harsin said. “We'd like to get 20,000 people at the spring game. I think that would be exciting for everybody.”
Nearly all of spring practice will be closed to the media but Harsin said the access will be increased in the future. The lack of access this spring is a change from the previous coaching staff after former coach Chris Petersen, despite installing a new offense, allowed the media to watch 12 of 15 practices in their entirety last season.
Harsin is allowing the media to watch the two open scrimmages, one other full practice and only first 20 minutes of five other practices as he and his coaching staff conduct their first spring practices at Boise State. Seven of the 15 practices are completely closed.
“I know early on the access media-wise is a little bit less than whats its been, I understand that,” Harsin said. “And really that's for focus. Just for us to go out there and for our staff and our players, we need to focus on ourselves and focus on what we're doing and we need to be in an environment where we can do that. … Access will open up from there more media-wise.”
Harsin also said the media will likely be invited to tour the new $22 million Bleymaier Football Complex that opened last summer but has been off limits to the press.
HARSIN GLAD FOR NO 10-SECOND RULE
A proposed rule that would have penalized teams for hiking the ball within the first 10 seconds of the play clock was voted down this week. And Harsin was one of those pleased with the result.
Harsin responded to a question about the rule by looking at his watch and pausing silently for 10 seconds.
“It's not a lot of fun is it, to sit there that long?” Harsin said. “Yeah, I'm glad it didn't pass, to say the least. I think the way somebody wants to run their offense, that's their offense.”
Harsin and the coaches brought the team out to the Bronco Stadium turf at 5:45 a.m. in the pouring down rain on Thursday for what they thought was their final conditioning session before the start of spring practice.
But after warming up and preparing them to run the stairs in the upper deck of Bronco Stadium, Harsin dropped a surprise on them. Waiting at the top of the stands was a full breakfast buffet to reward them for their hard work the past two months.
“We had a special morning,” Harsin said. “That's a credit to the hard work they've put in up to this point.”
Boise State plans to do a series of 3-4 minute behind the scenes videos throughout spring practice that will be posted to Twitter and various social media sites. “I think we'll have some fun with it,” Harsin said. … No players have switched positions from the end of last season, but Harsin said the defense is turning the sam linebacker position into a nickelback, which has affected a few players.