Bronco Beat

Drinkwitz on N.C. State job: ‘It’s an opportunity to put yourself out there on the highest level’

Boise State offensive coordinator Eliah Drinkwitz, left, and quarterback Brett Rypien were all smiles after the Poinsettia Bowl.
Boise State offensive coordinator Eliah Drinkwitz, left, and quarterback Brett Rypien were all smiles after the Poinsettia Bowl. ccripe@idahostatesman.com

The Boise State football team’s destruction of Northern Illinois in the Poinsettia Bowl cost the Broncos their offensive coordinator.

North Carolina State hired Eliah Drinkwitz as its offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Monday. Wolfpack coach Dave Doeren, who is a former Northern Illinois head coach, watched the Broncos’ 55-7 win and typed Drinkwitz’s name into Google, he told Drinkwitz.

The Broncos rolled up 654 yards, including 377 passing and 277 rushing, in that game. True freshman quarterback Brett Rypien was the offensive MVP.

Doeren, who is 18-20 in three years with the Wolfpack, fired his coordinator and needs to break in a new quarterback in 2016. He hired Drinkwitz to bring the offense he ran at Boise State to Raleigh.

“It caught me totally off-guard,” Drinkwitz said. “... It’s an opportunity to put yourself out there on the highest level and see what you’re made of. It’s an opportunity for me to grow personally.”

Doeren is a former defensive coordinator, which will give Drinkwitz more freedom to make decisions about the offense.

But Drinkwitz denied that there was tension with Boise State coach Bryan Harsin, a former offensive coordinator. The Idaho Statesman reported of tension in that relationship in Tuesday’s newspaper.

“Bryan Harsin was a mentor to me,” Drinkwitz said. “Him and (wife) Kes gave me an opportunity. I feel like I did them a great job. But I also understand that he gave me an opportunity of a lifetime. I am forever indebted to him and Kes and Boise State for that opportunity.”

Drinkwitz didn’t know anyone on the North Carolina State staff and hasn’t been to Raleigh other than passing through on his way to professional-development meetings last year at Duke.

He received a three-year contract worth $450,000 per year, according to The News & Observer of Raleigh. Raleigh is about 1,000 miles from his hometown of Alma, Ark. Boise is about 1,600 miles from Alma.

Drinkwitz had a one-year, $300,020 contract at Boise State.

“We felt like for our career and our family, this was a great opportunity to get into the ACC and get closer to where we’re from in the South, to go out and help a program try to do something it’s never done before,” Drinkwitz said. “It was just an opportunity I felt like I couldn’t pass up. There were all kinds of things that weigh on your mind — obviously relationships with players, relationships with coaches, there’s families involved, but in this business you sign up for it. You never know when an opportunity will come and intrigue you. This is something that came up and my wife and I felt like it was something we needed to do. It’s a really good opportunity to secure myself for the future.”

At Boise State, Harsin must hire an offensive coordinator for the fourth straight year. He hired Drinkwitz and Bush Hamdan as co-offensive coordinators and did some of the playcalling himself in 2013 at Arkansas State, Harsin’s first year as a head coach. Drinkwitz was hired as tight ends coach at Boise State; Hamdan wasn’t included in the new staff.

Harsin hired Mike Sanford as offensive coordinator in 2014. Sanford flirted with several jobs after the season and eventually took one at Notre Dame where he wasn’t the primary playcaller but did get a coordinator title.

Harsin promoted Drinkwitz for 2015, another arrangement that only lasted a year.

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