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December 30, 2014

Bryan Harsin


THE MODERATOR:テつ At this time I'd like to welcome Coach Harsin to the stage and we will begin with opening remarks, then open it up for questions.
COACH HARSIN:テつ Good morning.テつ Make sure you guys are awake.テつ I've got to be here.テつ Let's enjoy this (smiling).
I said it yesterday.テつ But, again, just want to say thank you to the Vizio Fiesta Bowl Committee organization, the Yellow Jackets.
Our players, it's interesting, every night I get a chance to see them, they have a hospitality room for the players.テつ They're getting run back and forth by shuttles, able to do some really great things and have a wonderful experience.
When I see them at night in the hospitality room, they've enjoyed themselves.テつ They work extremely hard throughout the day in practice preparing for the game.テつ When that's over, they've had a chance to do some really fantastic things.
That's something we talk about in our program, that if you work hard, you do the right things, you get rewarded.テつ This really is a big reward in the way that we've been treated throughout this whole entire process.テつ So I want to say thank you for that.
We're excited about the game tomorrow.テつ I thought we had a really great week of practice, just fine tuning all the details, getting ourselves ready to go for tomorrow afternoon.
This is really the main reason why we're here.テつ We've enjoyed ourselves, but we came here to play in a game.テつ We came here to play against a top‑10 team, Arizona.テつ We want to go out there and put our very best performance on the field on the biggest stage of the year.
As a coach and a player, this is what you work for.テつ You have an opportunity to play for a championship.テつ You hope if you play for that championship you're going to be in a game like this.
With College Football Playoffs, how it's changed this year, we feel this is a little bit of history that we're a part of because we're able to be in one of these games.テつ That's exciting for Boise State.
I know our players, our coaches, everybody right now, getting close to being 24 hours away from getting started, is extremely started and looking forward to going out there and doing our best at 2:00 on the 31st.
With that, open it up for questions.

Q.テつ You've been a part of these big bowl games and preparation.テつ Do some comparison in what you've learned and how this year's team is doing it differently than the last couple?
COACH HARSIN:テつ We're not too far off with what we've done.
I will say this.テつ I think people's perception is you have all these extra practices for all your young guys.テつ We did do that.テつ We had our own previous bowl, the Bronco Bowl, we had all our young guys get out there and play.テつ We got to see some things from our young guys that was very encouraging at this point in the year leading into spring.テつ That was exciting.
Our players got into it.テつ It was a little bit of time for those guys to go out there and cut loose.
That was one of the major opportunities for the young guys.テつ We really focused on our team, preparing them for the game, not really wasting many practices on our young guys, letting our veterans sit around.
From that standpoint, we haven't deviated too far.テつ We've done more with our actual vets, getting those guys prepared for the game, making sure that we know we know when we step out on the football field.
We basically prepared to play a game on Saturday.テつ It was physical.テつ We got after it.テつ Then we came back here, took that same plan, dialed it back a little bit, took the full pads off with the pants, we're still in shells, really tried to detail that with a little less bagging so these guys are fresh going into the game.

Q.テつ What is the biggest concern?テつ 25 days since you played a game.
COACH HARSIN:テつ I think speed.テつ I think week‑to‑week when you play, you're kind of used to the speed, who you're going to play against.テつ So just getting out there and getting into a rhythm.
Obviously Arizona is a very fast football team.テつ We know that.テつ We've done as much as we can to simulate the speed.テつ We practiced fast.テつ We tried to simulate their tempo as best we can.
Really it's just getting out there and playing.テつ I think the better prepared we are, the faster we can play.テつ We need to do that.
I also think in games that you haven't played in a sequence, you worry about special teams a little bit.テつ You're seeing at these bowl games now where special teams is a factor.テつ You see the turnovers, you see tackling.テつ Those three things right there are big.
Probably the last one, when you do have this much time off, is your conditioning.テつ Bottom line is we have three and a half hours to go out there and play.テつ You don't really have a whole lot of time to build into it.テつ You need to be ready.
Conditioning is a factor.テつ Then the way they play.テつ That's something we've got to be good at in this game.

Q.テつ You've been an assistant coach getting ready for this game, a head coach getting ready for this game.テつ What's the biggest difference between the two roles?
COACH HARSIN:テつ Good question.
More of this from the head coach standpoint (smiling).
Our coaches are coaching.テつ They're spending time on the game plan.テつ They're preparing our guys at practice.テつ They're getting video set up for these guys throughout the week.
My job, and that was my job as the offensive coordinator, we need to have our offense go out there and produce.テつ Didn't care anything about defense or special teams at that time.テつ It was just offense.テつ That's what we needed to do, take care of our business.
In this position, obviously everybody.テつ Overseeing that special teams is ready.テつ Both units, offense and defense, are ready.
I think this, too.テつ I probably take a different view of just watching our players, making sure that as you see them, their mind's right at the time it needs to be right.テつ We step out there on the football field, we're not talking about what we did last night, what's going to happen that evening, we're concentrated on football.
My job has really been motivating these guys to stay focused.テつ That hasn't been that difficult, to be honest with you.テつ They pop on the tape.テつ They know who they're going against.テつ They know they're very good.テつ They want to go out there and perform their best.
My job has been easier from that standpoint.テつ We want to make sure we're representing our program the right way is the biggest difference.テつ It's fun.テつ I try to get as much as I can back into tonight, dial back in with our meetings, offense, defense, make sure our guys are focused, know what we're doing, get ourselves ready to play tomorrow.

Q.テつ Will you go to the stadium before tomorrow and walk through?テつ That was an issue a little bit earlier in the season.テつ How important is that?
COACH HARSIN:テつ We're actually going today.テつ We're going to go today.テつ Not really a walk‑through.テつ There's not going to be anything practice‑wise we're going to do.テつ We're just going to go.テつ Not let that be the first time they'll run out of that tunnel when they go to warm up that they've been at that venue.
I think it's important to go in there, let guys sit down, visualize, start looking at the field, kick it around a little bit, let the quarterbacks find the clocks, really just start putting it all into perspective of what we've done this season, where we are right now.
We don't want to run out there tomorrow with everybody looking around.テつ Let's look around today.テつ Tomorrow we run out there.テつ Hey, we're focused on doing our jobs.テつ Simple as that.

Q.テつ Offensive line coach had a lot of questions marks coming into the season.テつ Three new guys, two guys in different spots.テつ How do you think they answered those questions and stepped up to the challenge this season?
COACH HARSIN:テつ I will say this.テつ There is no doubt in my mind we got the right guy coaching them. テつWhen I was the coordinator, Coach Huff was our offensive line coach for a lot of those years.テつ We had a lot of success.テつ When he wanted to stay and be the offensive line coach, I knew we were in good hands.
We got some question marks.テつ Right now I feel we're feeling better now than where we were.テつ We feel better where we're going, we're not losing any of those guys.
Marcus Henry moving from guard to center, really being the director out there of the O‑line, I think that's made a huge difference for us, I really do.
I will say this.テつ Along with the O‑line, we've utilized our tight ends a little bit differently this year.テつ Those guys have been involved with our run game that has complemented our O‑line.
We have a big challenge in this game.テつ I'll know a whole lot more about where we're going once this game is done because I know who we're facing, they know who they're facing.テつ I want to see those guys go out there and cut it loose.テつ I think we have some talented players out there, but we're still going to be tested.
Where we are, I told that group, I told Coach Huff, I've been very pleased with the progress they've made, the mentality of that room, the unity of that group.

Q.テつ If I'm not mistaken, this is the first bowl game you will have coached in in three years.テつ How strange has that been?テつ You've had success but haven't coached a bowl game in three years.
COACH HARSIN:テつ My wife and I were talking about that.テつ The last bowl game I was in was the Holiday Bowl at Texas when we played Cal.テつ The next year we were at Texas going to play Oregon State, took the Arkansas State job.テつ At Arkansas State we played Ball State I believe and I was gone for that.
Two teams that made it, just haven't been a part of it.テつ I got some gifts, some bowl gifts.テつ I haven't gotten those in two years.テつ So my family is happy.
But it's good to be back in a game.テつ You know what, those two years of not being in one, to be in this one, that's an easy tradeoff.

Q.テつ Do you expect this to feel more like a road game being it's only a hundred miles away from your home?
COACH HARSIN:テつ Yeah, I mean, I think playing in this game, regardless, is like a road game.テつ It's loud.テつ It's going to be loud for both teams.テつ You have 70‑some thousand in there.テつ They're talking.テつ It's a dome.テつ It's loud.テつ It really doesn't matter.
But, yeah, we have our fans here.テつ They're strong.テつ When our fans are rocking, they're loud.テつ I've got to believe we have a few other fans here in Arizona from over the years that show up, that will want to see the Broncos be successful.
Then obviously Arizona, we're in their home state.テつ They're a top‑10 team, wonderful season.テつ People are going to be excited about where they're going this year.テつ They have a young quarterback, fairly young team.テつ I got to believe there's a lot of excitement about their future, this being a big kickoff to their season next year as well.
We prepared that way.テつ We've been in really loud stadiums this year as well.テつ That's just part of it.テつ We're going to have to handle that.
But I think both teams will be using the silent cadence.テつ That's what it's going to be.

Q.テつ When you see a player like Scooby Wright, what he can do against you, how do you game plan for a guy like that?テつ What do you see in him?
COACH HARSIN:テつ First thing is I wish I would have been there three years ago when he was on Boise State's campus.
He's a fantastic player.テつ Our team has a tremendous amount of respect for him.テつ He plays extremely hard.テつ He has a great feel.テつ That's one of the things you can't coach.テつ He has a feel for the game.テつ He's big, physical, all those things.テつ You can get guys like that.テつ It's hard to get guys that have a feel the way he does.
We're going to match up against him.テつ There will be guys on our team that go against him.テつ The challenge is, that's one of the best right there.テつ When you have your opportunity, all right, let's see where you factor in.
I think what he's done this year, the recognition he's gotten, he's earned, he's deserved it.テつ He's a guy that's very disruptive. テつWe know where he's at.
The nice thing for him, not for us, he's got guys around him that complement him.テつ Those guys are playing extremely well.テつ Scooby has a lot of awards coming his way, but there's a lot of dudes around him that help him get to those tackles.

Q.テつ We talked about your unique story having been Boise born, Boise bred.テつ What does it mean to you to lead the Broncos back to this stage?
COACH HARSIN:テつ Ever since I was a GA, a player, it all means something.テつ Boise State is special, special to me and our family.
But, yeah, I'm proud of our coaching staff and our players, that they've bought into a formula that's gotten us to where we are now.テつ I'm really proud that I have an opportunity to be a part of this program.
We've taken this team back into one of the best bowl games there is.テつ These guys get a chance to experience this stage, to play against a team like Arizona, and to go out there for three and a half hours and see what we can do.テつ That's fun.テつ That's the competitor in you that wants to have all that happen.
At the beginning of the year, who knew.テつ I had no idea what type of team we were at that point.テつ As the season went on, you got a better idea.テつ This is why we're here.
But, yeah, I take tremendous pride in that to be a part of it, tremendous pride in our program, to be able to be recognized on a stage like this, to be talked about.テつ For our players, our seniors especially, to go out on the last game as a Boise State Bronco in the Fiesta Bowl.
I'll tell you what, I bet you ask 95% of our team, they would say this is the reason they came to Boise State, because of the Fiesta Bowl and watching our team play in it.
I know what this game can do for us.テつ I know how powerful it is for us.テつ For those guys, those seniors in particular, to have seen that game, to be a part of it, be where we are, I'm very proud of that.

Q.テつ As you look at tape of Arizona, do you glean more information from looking at their wins or from their three losses and take away from what other teams had success with against them?
COACH HARSIN:テつ Both.テつ You want to look at the teams they got after because you want to make sure you're not one of those teams.テつ Then you look at the games they lost and why.テつ You know, turnovers, maybe some poor decisions.テつ All the things we would see from our team.
When you lose a game, you look at it from a coach's perspective, say, If they would have done this or that, it's a different ballgame.テつ You kind of get a better idea about what their team is.
The one thing about Arizona, these guys, they will not quit, they fight.テつ We feel like we fight for four quarters.テつ We pop on a tape, you watch the entire game, you see another team do that, you instantly have respect for what they do.テつ We believe that.
In all the games and film we watched, you learn something different.テつ The one thing you know about Arizona, they'll fight throughout the entire game, it will be a four‑quarter battle.テつ At one point somebody is going to have to win.テつ That will be a challenge for us.

Q.テつ Most of your offense is run through two guys playing the last game of their careers.テつ What do you expect in being able to handle the emotion and trying to execute?テつ Talking about Grant and Jay.
COACH HARSIN:テつ You mean what I have to go through (smiling)?
They're going to go play.テつ I think yesterday's practice, towards the end of it as it was winding down, you could see some guys taking it all in, looking around, shaking each other's hands, high‑fiving, smiling, we're done, we're done with practice.テつ They're just celebrating, I don't know.
But that's what today is about, too.テつ Today is about going in there and kind of absorbing your career as a senior, looking at it and going, We got to where we are now, we're excited, but it's not over.テつ Tomorrow we have three and a half hours to go do this one more time.
As a competitor, that's really where that comes into play.テつ I think you can take the emotion aside, you got to go play.テつ Obviously when the game is over, it will be emotional for everybody.テつ We hope it's a win and we can celebrate it that way.
I can't say enough about our seniors.テつ They've handled this season extremely well.テつ They've led our team back into victory after kind of a rocky start.テつ I know they'll think about that.テつ Last night when they laid down, I know they were thinking about this day is coming up, we're going to go play.
At the same time I think we've addressed that.テつ This bowl game, these aren't the only seniors we've ever had in bowl games.テつ It does come to an end on the football field.テつ I think these guys will handle it appropriately.テつ They'll go play.
What we want as coaches is we want those guys to have their very best performance out there, to walk out of there proud, whatever happens, to be proud about what they've done throughout their career.

Q.テつ With all the media, the practices, the hype for the last three, four weeks, the hay is in the barn.テつ Are you excited to get out on the field?
COACH HARSIN:テつ We are.テつ Our guys probably would have said this last week, they were ready.テつ We have practiced.テつ We have put in film hours.
Going back to the earlier question, I think we've done as much as we can without overdoing it to where everything is getting second guessed and all that.テつ We're going to go out there and do what we do, go out there and try to operate.
But, yeah, our guys are ready.テつ Last night, once we were done, they were hanging out.テつ You could see guys, they went to bed early.テつ They're ready to get up and go.テつ They're excited about the game.
Tonight we'll put the final touches on what we need to say.テつ There's really not a whole lot left.テつ What we need to do, we'll talk about the final keys to the game.テつ We play at 2:00.テつ This is not going to be a game where we're sitting around, waiting.テつ We get up, do openers, pregame meal, clap session, highlights, on the bus and we are ready to play.
Our guys, when they looked at that schedule, come game day, we're going.

Q.テつ The national story today is Jim Harbaugh going to Michigan and the salary he's commanding.テつ Given your program, do you have a thought on Harbaugh going from the NFL to college and what it means for coaches?
COACH HARSIN:テつ I have a lot of thoughts on that (smiling).
You know, I don't know.テつ Every program is different, what you're looking for.テつ I don't know.テつ I'm not at Michigan, so it's hard to sit there and make assumptions of what they're looking for.
But I'll say this.テつ What I saw from what Harbaugh did at Stanford, he transitioned well into the NFL.テつ But what he did at Stanford with that program, I think that's what they're looking at and hoping for, what he can do at Michigan.
He's a proven coach.テつ He's done a great job.テつ They really want him.テつ That showed.テつ They really want him to be there.テつ It happened to be a guy that played there.テつ There's that connection, as well.
Chip Kelly was pretty funny.テつ He talked about the transition.テつ There's no way they could take his college offense to the NFL.テつ They're doing pretty well, all right?テつ Been pretty successful.テつ Talking about him going back to college, he was saying, We can't take our pro offense back to college.テつ It's what you believe in as a coach.
What they do in college, what they do in the NFL is comparable.テつ Obviously the NFL players are a little bit different.テつ Those guys are all the best of the best.テつ But you see a lot of coaches.テつ Art Briles at Baylor, high school coach, look at what he's done at Baylor.
There's guys that can coach.テつ Coaches can coach, whatever level that is.テつ Harbaugh from NFL to college, if he's the right fit, which it really comes down to, they're going to be successful.

Q.テつ It's been a big last few weeks for Jay.テつ You made the decision to have him announce he's going to the NFL before the bowl game.テつ How have you seen him handle that?テつ Was that the right call to allow him to speak about that freely?テつ What does it mean to have an underclassman bound for the NFL playing on television?
COACH HARSIN:テつ We've had several underclassmen.テつ It's a credit to, one, they're very good players.テつ But they've come to our program and we've helped them develop to have that opportunity.テつ Jay is no different.テつ I don't know his whole background in recruiting.テつ I don't know if there were a lot of guys on him at that point.
He came in here and obviously proved he's got the talent to be a successful runningback at the college level, really exploded and showed he can do this on the professional level.
The one thing I didn't want Jay to have to do is sit up here like me and deflect questions.テつ I got a little more practice than he does.テつ We want him to be able to openly talk about it.テつ Why wait?テつ Our team knows.テつ We know.
When he came into my office that day, it's a no‑brainer, This is what you need to do.テつ At the same time, here is how you can handle yourself throughout the bowl time experience, then go play.テつ You're going to play against a great defense, show up, play your very best.テつ Teams are going to be watching you.テつ There's going to be more eyes on you.テつ Take care of the football, run hard.テつ Do the things you've done through the year that got you where you are right now.
For him, that's one less thing he has to worry about and he can concentrate on enjoying this experience and go out there and play his very best on game day.

Q.テつ At halftime, let's say you're a little bit behind, a touchdown or two, how do you approach your players in the locker room?テつ What kind of demeanor do you have?
COACH HARSIN:テつ Is it one touchdown or two touchdowns (smiling)?テつ There's a difference.テつ There's a difference there.
Well, we hope that doesn't happen.
Here is the thing.テつ We go in at halftime.テつ We've been up by 30.テつ We've been down by 20 throughout this season.テつ It's really the same.テつ It's 0‑0 at halftime.テつ What do we have to do?テつ We sit down, we take our time as coaches, make adjustments.テつ We go out back there and we present the adjustments to the players, and execute the adjustments at halftime.
I don't think I've had anything at halftime that's been so inspirational that's changed the entire game plan of what we prepared for going into the game, down or up.テつ Our mindset is 0‑0.テつ We come out at halftime, we need to play.テつ We need to play better than we did the first half, regardless of whether we're winning or losing.テつ That served us well.
We played SanDiego State, down by 20‑something, came back and won it.テつ We're playing BYU, up by 30, had a great first half.テつ We came out and played better in the second half.テつ That's what we expect to do.テつ That's already preplanned, predetermined.テつ That way no one at halftime, whether we're up or down, panics.テつ This is just what we do.テつ We try to keep our poise as best we can.
THE MODERATOR:テつ Thank you, coach.
COACH HARSIN:テつ Thank you very much.テつ Go Broncos.

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