Bronco Beat

Boise State football coach Bryan Harsin says it ‘makes sense’ for him to call plays

Boise State football coach Bryan Harsin said Wednesday he was heavily involved in the offense the past two seasons but he doesn’t think that’s why coordinators Mike Sanford and Eliah Drinkwitz left after one season each.

Harsin is taking over playcalling duties this season.

“That’s a fair question,” he said. “Obviously, I’m an offensive guy. I know the offense, I believe in this offense, I’ve been involved in it. And it’s a fair question, is that too much? Am I too involved from that standpoint? I don’t think so.”

Other programs want a piece of the Broncos’ successful offense, Harsin said.

They aren’t likely to lose their playcaller again after this season.

“It probably makes sense,” Harsin said. “I know where I’m going. I’m here. Me being the playcaller and just saying that and being a part of it, it just makes sense. My wife and I talk about it. I’ve done it. I’ve always enjoyed it. That’s been the reason why I’ve loved coaching is being able to call plays. For me, the only thing that was always a little bit of a hesitation was the head coach role and the offensive coordinator role. But a lot of guys do it. I certainly want to make sure that I give my very all to our team — that’s culture and keeping guys accountable and not pulling away from that, not being the offensive coordinator that’s the head coach also. I’m the head football coach that will be the playcaller on game day with a staff that’s going to be putting together the plan.”

The past two seasons, Harsin said, he has been “a great suggester.”

“I’ve been in every game plan development, every Tuesday as the game plan gets put on the board,” he said. “I’ve overseen, I have understood and I have made sure what we’re teaching and what we’re doing is sound.”

He was particularly involved in planning for the opening plays of series, third downs, shot plays and the red zone.

On game day, he’d say, “Hey, don’t forget about ... .”

“Which translates into, ‘Let’s call this,’ ” he said.

That involvement wasn’t a surprise, Harsin said.

“Mike and Eli, they’ve known my involvement and I hope in turn they’ve learned a lot from some of the things I’ve learned from some other coaches along the way,” he said.

The offense will be a collaborative effort among the coaches, Harsin said, but he will call the plays.

“I believe in what we do,” he said. “I love the offensive side of things. It’s the reason I’m in the position I’m in.”

Harsin called 2016 his senior year as a head coach because it’s his fourth.

“Learned a lot,” he said. “It’s a people business, that’s really what it is.”

He considers the departures by Sanford and Drinkwitz and defensive coordinator Marcel Yates this year as coaches taking advantage of opportunities.

“I did that when I went to Texas,” he said “I was in the same boat and did the same thing and had to do that to develop.”

Other notes from Harsin:

— On the recruiting class: “The D-line was obviously a big need. O-line was a need. When you’re signing 25-plus guys, you’re making up for a lot of depth in those areas. I feel like this class gets us a lot closer to where we want to be when it comes to numbers by position. ... You don’t want to lose five, take six. That becomes very difficult. Managing five or six guys, it’s hard to do.”

— On the change coming to the program through 28 signees and three new coaches: “You can feel that now. The hard thing is, maybe in comparison to some others, maybe not quite as much, but that’s quite a bit of change here. ... I’ve always been in the mindset that change is good.”

— On recruiting a large class and filling three staff positions simultaneously: “It’s been two and a half weeks of a blur. But as we get our staff established, as we have all these guys lined up committed to us, I’m probably more excited about moving forward with what we have now than I’ve ever been before. So it’s re-energizing, to say the least.”

— President Bob Kustra played an instrumental role in the recruitment of defensive end Curtis Weaver, Harsin said, because of the importance Weaver and his family placed on education. Weaver also was recruited by USC. “That’s an awesome get for us,” Harsin said.

— Oklahoma made a run at wide receiver Bubba Ogbebor. Harsin made a trip to visit his high school late in the recruiting process, even though it meant flying from where he was to Texas and back. “I had a chance to sit down with the head coach and establish that relationship,” Harsin said. “That ended up being the difference when it was all said and done — even that three and a half hours being there.”

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