First-year Boise State football coach Bryan Harsin promised to “embrace the past” — and one way he has done that this month is by continuing some fall camp traditions.
The Broncos players and coaches have split into 10 unity groups to compete in the Bronco Olympics, a series of non-football competitions that have included bowling, free-throw shooting, tennis home-run derby and a chili cook-off.
On Tuesday night, the players and coaches slept on the blue turf of Albertsons Stadium after watching "Lone Survivor" on the video board. They also had access to a Del Taco food truck.
The players were woken up for practice with an airhorn at 6:03 a.m. When they went into the locker room, they found their new orange helmets for the Ole Miss game (watch the video above).
The fun and games are an important part of fall camp, Harsin said.
“It’s something that the guys enjoy — something we enjoy as coaches — and it breaks up the monotony of camp,” he said. “ We’ll continue to build that team chemistry. We’ll do it a lot of different ways. That’s what camp is all about. You’re not doing football the entire day. When it’s all said and done, those things really make the difference. Those are what sustain you through the entire year — those memories of fall camp.”
Because he was gone for three years, Harsin wasn’t certain if the home-run derby was staged at the hash mark nearest the grandstands or farthest away. Players get one point for hitting a ball into the lower deck and two points for the upper deck.
Harsin thought it was the far hash. Defensive backs coach Julius Brown thought it was the near hash.
“Three guys in, Deuce (Mataele) hit three into the upper deck,” Harsin said. “I said, ‘That answers that right there. Problem solved. It’s the far hash.’ ”
Tight end Alec Dhaenens said he enjoys the unity groups because they are filled with a cross-section of players rather than by position groups.
“It’s awesome to be out there and be able to bond like that,” he said. “It makes the team tighter.”
The last time Boise State tried the campout, then-coach Chris Petersen woke the team for a surprise practice with loud music around 5 or 6 a.m. I showed up for practice and there was a man in his bathrobe in the street yelling at the stadium. Someone called the cops because of the noise.
Here are some player and coach tweets from the campout:
Lone survivor it is! pic.twitter.com/So9BvZJRlx— TylerraUSA (@T_Raus) August 13, 2014
This should be an interesting night on the blue! pic.twitter.com/BSQ1PXdcfO— Dan Goodale (@Dannyg_41) August 13, 2014
Camp out... movie night on the blue... hello fall camp pic.twitter.com/QdEkWkvb45— Neon (@AyoItsND) August 13, 2014