Boise State football coach Bryan Harsin addressed the media Wednesday, a change from his usual schedule of only doing media on Mondays during the week. Harsin canceled what were two planned interview sessions with players Wednesday, saying "short week, guys are busy, a lot going on." The Broncos are set to travel to UConn on Thursday, a day earlier than the usual trip, but certainly different because it is the longest non-Hawaii road trip in team history.
Other notables from Harsin's 10-minute interview session:
— Harsin said the team has established a solid rotation at cornerback, having to accommodate the rash of injuries facing the group. The two starters that opened the season at Ole Miss did not play most of Saturday's win against Colorado State — junior Donte Deayon did not play at all, while senior Cleshawn Page left the game with an injury. Page is out for Saturday's game at UConn, while Deayon is listed as a starter on this week's depth chart. Senior Bryan Douglas has played sparingly, leaving Saturday's game with concussions symptoms, and senior Mercy Maston is out for a few weeks with a stress fracture in his shin. Sophomore Chaz Anderson, who moved to receiver this summer from cornerback, and safety Darian Thompson, who was a cornerback as a freshman, have worked there in practice.
"Chaz has been in there to help out, a couple of our other DBs, freshmen DBs have helped out a little bit," Harsin said. " we've just had a few guys fill in that probably won't play in that position, but it gives the defense and the rest of the guys around them execute their assignments and save some legs with certain players."
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Harsin said the team will travel true freshman walk-on cornerback Eric Yates, son of defensive coordinator Marcel Yates. The younger Yates did not play high school football last season after playing at Capital High as a junior. Harsin and defensive backs coach Julius Brown says the team has plan A, B, C and D for the game to deal with potential injuries. Harsin said playing Yates would be "an E situation," but has liked what he's seen from the 5-foot-9, 161-pounder.
"He does a good job, he's a smart player, he's competitive — he knows the defense, obviously," Harsin said.
— The team will have 7 a.m. meetings and an 8:10 a.m. practice Thursday before leaving for the East Coast. On Saturday, the team will wake up at 7:45 a.m., breakfast at 8:10, then a 9 a.m. "clap session" (a sort of walk-through of key plays, signals, substitutions, etc.) and watch a hype video before heading to the stadium for their noon ET game. The first two games have kicked off at 8 and 8:30 p.m.
"I think the last two games, I think our guys are looking forward to an early game, I think they're tired of laying around all day," Harsin said.
— Dating back to the start of last season, Boise State is 2-6 away from home. Harsin is looking for his first road win, which the team has made a focal point this week.
"We just talked about it — what's the identity of our team? Can we win on the road?," Harsin said, following up by mentioning that he hopes the team learn from its trip to Atlanta, saying "that has to apply into this game, and if it doesn't, we're going to have problems.
"We've got to find a way to win on the road, we haven't proved anything that way."
— As of right now, the team has no plans to play any true freshmen other than safety Dylan Sumner-Gardner, who made his debut Saturday against Colorado State. Running back Jeremy McNichols could be ready, but with Jay Ajayi's workload, he likely won't be needed barring injury.
"Jeremy, we talked about him, not unless we have a situation where it requires them to play," Harsin said. "Other than that, DSG's the only guy."
— Harsin liked how the team has practiced this week, coming off a win against a tough Colorado State team.
"We just came off a really physical game, so you worry about a little bit of a letdown after that we need to get fresh," he said. "I think today was good, they had good energy."
— UConn will start senior Chandler Whitmer at quarterback. He was part of a two-QB system to start the season, with sophomore Casey Cochran, but on Monday it was announced that Cochran's career is over because of concussions. Whitmer has started 17 games and is 299-of-534 for 3,815 yards with 15 TDs and 22 interceptions in his career. Harsin thinks that Whitmer will come in with confidence knowing the offense is his, and with the first-team working almost exclusively with him.
"I anticipate them to be better on offense because of it," Harsin said.