A new era of Boise State football officially gets going Friday morning when the Broncos take the field for their first practice of fall camp. And what the new brand of Bronco football will look like remains to be seen.

Chris Petersen will be missing from the sidelines for the first fall camp since he was hired as offensive coordinator in 2001. Petersen became the head coach in 2006 and led the Broncos to one of the most historic runs in college football history, posting a 92-12 record and winning two Fiesta Bowls.

Boise State went 8-5 last season and Petersen departed for Washington after 13 seasons with the program, opening the door for former Bronco quarterback and offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin to return as head coach. Harsin has re-energized the program — both inside the new facility and out — as he looks to make an immediate impact in year No. 1.

But what will the Bronco program look like under new leadership?

Things will likely look familiar on the field. Harsin and new offensive coordinator Mike Sanford have promised a return of a variation of the old Boise State offense that used shifts and motions and a number of trick plays to help them capture the hearts of the college football world. Last year’s one-year Pistol offense exits with little complaints from Boise State fans.

Off the field is a different story as Harsin and his staff have been much more visible on social media.

Coaches have interacted with fans on Twitter and often unofficially confirm new recruit commits with coded tweets such as “Go Broncos.” The staff also went on a state-wide blitz to visit every high school in Idaho that has a football program.

Another change comes in media access. After previously being allowed to watch all of fall camp under Petersen, Harsin is only opening up the first 20-30 minutes of selected practices to the media. Petersen would request certain things such as injuries and formations go unreported, but only a closed scrimmage or two would be off limits.

Harsin promised the media during spring practice things would open up moving forward. That apparently won’t be the case, leaving stretching and individual drills as the only parts of practice open to the media during fall camp.

With a favorable schedule, the Broncos should be in line to improve upon last year’s five-loss season — their first season with at least five losses since 1998.

But how much different will the Broncos look when they take the field vs. Ole Miss on August 28 at the Georgia Dome? It’s our No. 2 question as fall camp gets going on Friday morning.

  • B.J Rains covers Boise State athletics for the Idaho Press-Tribune. He also makes daily appearances on ESPN Boise.

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