BOISE — Boise State coach Bryan Harsin went on a near five-minute rant about social media criticism during his weekly press conference Monday, saying the thought that some spend time saying negative things about his players and team are ‘pathetic’.

Boise State is 8-1 and ranked No. 19 in both the Associated Press and Coaches polls but hasn’t been overly impressive in recent games. After losing to BYU, they needed fourth quarter comebacks to beat both San Jose State and Wyoming the last two weeks.

And that has fueled plenty of angst on social media of late, mostly towards the offense and in particular the offensive line. In last week’s game against Wyoming the Broncos scored just 20 points and had a season low 285 yards.

“You used to have to actually be somebody to have an opinion, which meant you had to work your way into a position where your opinion actually mattered,” Harsin said. “Any idiot can say whatever they want and they usually do and they are negative. I’ve gotten to a point when I see things like that where I feel sorry that those people feel that way, and that their lives don’t have the purpose, the passion and the excitement and enjoyment that some of us do.

“It’s pretty pathetic at the end of the day. That’s society. That’s the group you don’t want to be part of. Get away from that and get over here with these other people that are positive and can see there’s a brighter side to things.”

The topic first came up when Harsin was asked about the offensive line, and whether he had seen some of the criticism directed their way.

“I actually haven’t,” Harsin said. “I don’t pay attention to that.”

Harsin went on to defend the offensive line, which has all five starters back from a year ago and more than 100 career starts between them. The run game has yet to have the success that many expected, and quarterback Chase Cord took a number of big hits last week.

“We’re an 8-1 football team making a run towards the end of the season, so let’s not forget that,” Harsin said. “Let’s keep everything in perspective a little bit on what opportunities we have…”

Asked if it was ‘bizarre’ that some would complain about an 8-1 team ranked in the top 20, Harsin said, “In today’s world? No. … That’s just how people are.”

That question triggered something, as Harsin went on uninterrupted for almost five minutes on the subject. 

Harsin said he wasn’t going to let those that do criticize the team on social media bother him.

“I’m not going to listen to opinions unless they matter,” Harsin said. “If a booster texts and tells me something like that, people that I care about, interact with and are part of this team and have invested and are around here and see these guys, I’m listening 100 percent.

“But you don’t even come to the game, you don’t sit in the stands, you’re not a season ticket holder, you probably don’t even watch the whole game because it’s too late, and you have an opinion? What does that matter? And the worst part is people actually listen to it. Why even pay attention to somebody that doesn’t have the proper knowledge to have a true opinion of what’s going on?”

Harsin referred to those that make uninformed opinions on Twitter as ‘twitiots’.

The Broncos are battling with Cincinnati and Memphis for the top Group of Five spot, which would mean a trip to the Cotton Bowl in Dallas at the end of the year. All three teams have one loss, so how impressive they look in wins will certainly factor into the decision of the CFP committee.

They were 16-point favorites at home against Wyoming, but won just 20-17 in overtime, and failed to cover a similar spread the week earlier at San Jose State. Of note: the loss to BYU and the win over Wyoming came with starting quarterback Hank Bachmeier on the bench due to injury.

Harsin said the criticism directed his way doesn’t bother him because “I can handle all that stuff because I understand it.” But he has an issue with negative tweets and posts directed at his players.

“That’s a joke,” Harsin said. “That’s a fricking joke.”

Harsin said it's been so bad that even current NFL players and former Boise State stars Leighton Vander Esch and Alexander Mattison received social media criticism when they were here.

"Those two heard that stuff," Harsin said. "You kidding me? Two of the best human beings in the world playing at the highest level at a craft that's so difficult to get into, and people still say negative things about them. It's a joke."

Harsin said he wants “no part” of people who take the time to criticize the Broncos on social media.

“I don’t want that in my life because those people that act that way or talk that way or believe that stuff, that’s not the direction I’m trying to go,” Harsin said.

Harsin did agree that the Broncos haven’t come close to playing to their fullest potential this season.

“We’re 8-1 and we have not played our best football yet,” Harsin said. “I do believe that. I hope at the end of the year we’re whatever and one, and at some point maybe we don’t play our best football, but the next one is better than the last one. If we can have the next one be better than the last one, then we’d feel better about where we’re going.”

Will fans feel the same way? Check Twitter.

B.J Rains has covered Boise State athletics for the Idaho Press since 2013. He is an Associated Press Top 25 men's basketball poll voter, and also contributes to KBOI-TV as a Boise State insider.

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