HONOLULU — New Boise State coach Bryan Harsin, who is working from Arkansas while he makes the transition from Arkansas State to Boise State, has hired two coaches and an administrator.
He informed his players via text message.
Combined with Harsins earlier hires, junior wide receiver Matt Miller said Saturday at the Hawaii Bowl the mood is changing in the locker room.
I was one of those guys who knew Coach Hars, so I know weve got a great guy coming in, and hes assembling a great staff, Miller said. It kind of created a new buzz around the locker room, which is nice, to see those young guys kind of getting excited again.
The initial shock of coach Chris Petersens departure for Washington left some players with thoughts of playing elsewhere, Miller said. One, tailback Aaron Baltazar, already has left.
Everybody kind of goes through that, but Boise State is a great place to play football and go to school, and we have a lot of faith in our administration to bring in a great football coach, which they did with coach Harsin, he said. When it first happened, there were thoughts of (leaving), but now everyone is pretty happy.
Weve got great offensive minds coming in, and theyre excited to play for those types of guys.
The latest additions all from Arkansas State are special teams/running backs coach Kent Riddle, who served in that capacity at Boise State from 2001 to 2005; defensive line coach Steve Caldwell, who previously worked at Arkansas (2010-12) and Tennessee (1995-2008); and director of football operations Brian Wilkinson, who was the assistant athletic director for football operations at Arkansas State.
Harsin has hired six of his nine full-time assistants: offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Mike Sanford, offensive line coach Scott Huff, Riddle, Caldwell, defensive assistant Andy Avalos and defensive coordinator Marcel Yates.
Kwiatkowski, Strausser moving on
Washington still hasnt announced any members of Petersens staff, but Boise State defensive coordinator Pete Kwiatkowski acknowledged hell be joining the Huskies (he wouldnt say in what role), and offensive line coach Chris Strausser hinted at it. The Idaho Statesman previously reported both accepted jobs at Washington.
Kwiatkowski, a former Boise State player, has been on staff since 2006.
Its bittersweet, he said. Its going to be exciting to get out there one last time and watch these guys, and then when the games over, its on to the next deal. You always have to think about the pros and cons of anything youre going to do. Coach Petersen is an awesome guy to work for, and the guys that Im going to be working with are awesome guys. Those relationships are just as important as where you coach.
Strausser has been on the Broncos staff since 2001 except for one year at Colorado, in 2006, when he followed Dan Hawkins there. His youngest child graduates from high school in the spring.
Strausser applied for the Boise State head coach position.
Ive got no hesitation about whats going on, he said. I love this place, I really do, I will forever. But to me, I had one job offer and I took it.
Another recruit switches to Washington
Tight end Drew Sample of Newport (Wash.) High has switched his commitment from Boise State to Washington, following Petersen, he confirmed via text message. He is the second Boise State commit to do so, joining quarterback Jalen Greene.
Oregon State coach Riley is an Idaho native
Boise State and Oregon State will be led by native Idahoans next year. Harsin is from Boise. Oregon States Mike Riley, who has coached the Beavers for 15 seasons, was born in Wallace.
Im very proud of my Idaho background, Riley said.
His dad, Bud, was a coach. Bud was the coach at Wallace High when Riley was born. He moved to Lewiston High when Riley was in first through third grades, and then to the University of Idaho in Moscow, where he was the freshman coach for the Vandals. The Rileys followed Idaho coach Dee Andros to Oregon State.
Rileys last school year in Idaho was sixth grade. Rileys dad died last year, and he no longer has any family in Idaho.
Beavers need to run
Oregon State fell in love with its passing attack this season and Riley says that cost his team.
The Beavers rank third in the nation in passing (382.1 yards per game), but 118th in rushing (86). They had a season high of 120 yards against Colorado until breaking through for 231 in the regular-season finale against Oregon.
Its kind of bittersweet to me, Riley said. We were 6-1 and throwing the ball and being very, very successful, and then we ran into the really hard part of our schedule with Stanford and Arizona State looming the two teams that played for the (Pac-12) championship and we never did get the ground game established. That really has hurt us. Weve always had a good running game. We really missed it when we got into the hard part of our schedule. We came back against Oregon and ran the ball well. It just looked so much better. It was so much of a better way for us to play. We want to continue that, we hope, against Boise.
Boise States run defense was stingy late in the season, holding Colorado States Kapri Bibbs and San Diego States Adam Muema to a combined 115 yards.
Chadd Cripe: 377-6398, Twitter: @IDS_BroncoBeat