After a season in which Boise State had co-offensive coordinators, and head coach Bryan Harsin as the primary playcaller, the offense is more streamlined this spring.
Zak Hill, who joined the staff last year as co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, is the sole offensive coordinator moving forward, Harsin said after Monday’s first practice of the spring.
Hill takes over playcalling duties, while still getting input from Harsin.
“Zak’s role has changed. He’s the offensive coordinator. We don’t have the co-coordinator. He’s going to run it, and he’s ready to do that,” Harsin said. “He’s calling plays; he’s organizing everything, designing our practice plans. He’s been doing it for a while, since the end of the season.”
Hill was hired in January 2016 following a six-week stint at Hawaii. Prior to that, he was part of the prolific Eastern Washington offensive staff for seven seasons. Though Harsin called most plays last season, Hill was given the responsibility to handle third downs. The Broncos were No. 13 nationally (47.6 percent) in third-down conversions in 2016.
“In the situations he called them, he did a really good job,” Harsin said. “... Now he takes the next step, will run the offense, and I feel complete confidence in him doing that.”
Hill will continue to coach quarterbacks, and junior Brett Rypien said Hill is “an unbelievable quarterback coach. He’s done a great job with me.”
Hill was far from the only one in a new role Monday.
Every offensive lineman, wide receiver and running back who worked with Rypien has never started a game.
“It’s a completely different look out there,” Rypien said. “... I thought we did a good job today, though, with guys having to step in.”
In the fall, the Broncos will get back four offensive linemen, senior 1,000-yard receiver Cedrick Wilson and sophomore running back Alexander Mattison, who was limited Monday and likely won’t be in contact drills over the next six weeks.
New receivers coach Eric Kiesau, who was hired in January, made his practice debut, while the offensive line coach job remains vacant after co-offensive coordinator/offensive line coach Scott Huff left Wednesday for a position at Washington.
Graduate assistant Nate Potter and director of program development Chris Ross worked with the linemen Monday, as did the linemen recovering from injuries (Archie Lewis, Mason Hampton, John Molchon and Garrett Larson).
“Our plan moving forward, we’re going to interview guys, we’re going to be talking to coaches. There’s a lot of interest in that position,” Harsin said. “Hopefully we have somebody in place soon. ... I’m not in a tremendous hurry because of the guys we have here on staff.”
ROSTER TWEAKS APLENTY
▪ Boise State’s updated roster includes four new walk-ons: offensive lineman Jake Stetz (San Marcos, Calif.), linebackers Clay Bowler (Holtville, Calif.) and Benton Wickersham (Elko, Nev.), and punter Brandon Heicklen (Tarzana, Calif.).
▪ Mattison, listed last season at 206 pounds, is now at 216, while redshirt freshman running back Robert Mahone is down six pounds to 203. Tight end John Bates has added 16 pounds, and offensive lineman Austin Dixon put on 26 pounds during his redshirt year.
Fellow lineman Kole Bailey shed 14 pounds over the past year, but the most extreme makeover belongs to redshirt freshman Curtis Weaver. He started out as a 287-pound defensive tackle last fall, and now checks in at 255 and works at the STUD position.
Sophomore Garrett Collingham (Mountain View High), who has spent time at quarterback and receiver, has added 21 pounds and now works at linebacker.
▪ Junior David Moa said he is playing this spring at the defensive tackle spot, moving over from nose tackle. Though he had 8.5 sacks last season, he was undersized at about 270 pounds. He is 262 on the latest roster update.
“I transitioned from nose to 3-technique, and I still wanted to keep that speed,” Moa said.