Bronco Beat

Football coaches may not love it, but NCAA change hopes to make camp less taxing

New quarterback Montell Cozart, a graduate transfer from Kansas, participates in his first Boise State practice as fall camp gets underway.
New quarterback Montell Cozart, a graduate transfer from Kansas, participates in his first Boise State practice as fall camp gets underway. kjones@idahostatesman.com

Boise State football coach Bryan Harsin recalls fall camp when he played for the Broncos 20 years ago — not necessarily fondly — but they were memorable.

Suiting up twice a day in pads multiple times in preseason practices was a norm. Those are now a thing of the past as the NCAA in April eliminated multiple contact practices in a single day in an effort to reduce injuries.

“I’ve thought a lot about it,” Harsin said. “I don’t know if there’s necessarily a place for it, so I don’t think the rule’s bad. ... What I did like about two-a-days, I did like that it was really more mental. You have to practice again, you have to do something hard back-to-back.

“You wanted to see that guys that were like ‘let’s go,’ or the guys that were like ‘ugh, we have to do this again?’”

Harsin said “there was a celebration” when players got through two-a-days, knowing they had an lighter day coming up. He added that he would prefer schools at least have the option, but says that players now can do so much summer work that they’re in good shape come fall camp.

The Broncos had scheduled three days during fall camp last year in which they held two-a-days, one wound up being canceled. Because of the rule change, Boise State moved up fall camp this August three days to accommodate.

At the Mountain West Football Media Summit in Las Vegas on July 25 and 26, it was a hot topic. San Diego State coach Rocky Long said starting practice earlier will cost schools more to feed and house players, while UNLV coach Tony Sanchez called it “an uninformed decision,” saying the extra days will add wear and tear to players.

So, how do Boise State’s players feel? Well, most have little opinion.

“To me, it doesn’t really matter,” junior cornerback Tyler Horton said.

“I really don’t mind it, two-a-days are rough, but we always find a way to get through it. It’s definitely a change, but it makes us come out hard every single practice, every single day, and after that, you’re done with (practicing),” senior running back Ryan Wolpin said.

“I don’t want to get backlash from the coaches,” sophomore safety DeAndre Pierce said. “It’s good. For the time we’re here, we’ve really got to focus, we only have so many days and so many practices with all the rules changing. Everyone has to be dialed in, we can’t take a day off because the NCAA took that away from us.”

Dave Southorn: 208-377-6420, @davesouthorn

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