I’ve got no pretty graphs to assuage the angst in Bronco Nation right now. The Broncos were one yard away from playing for a championship and a NY6 berth. Wyoming and SDSU looked like JV teams last night, and it was hard to watch. Twitter has been in rare form for hours. I’m too nervous to open up the BTB at this point. Bronco Nation has a faction that is prone to overreaction, and this year they are particularly insufferable.
Let’s talk about where we are, in the grand scheme, and try to debunk some of this mess.
In 2013, Boise State hired Bryan Harsin. The prodigal son of Boise State football coaching, he returned home with some P5 coordinator experience and one year of being a HC at a Sun Belt school under his belt. Yes, he was the OC during some very good years at Boise State, and is from the Petersen coaching tree. He was definitely the right man at the right time and has continued the best parts of Boise State while evolving the program. There have been some growing pains and issues – coordinators moving on to other gigs and continuing their careers, personal issues between players, lack of focus sometimes, and some really painful losses. 8 of them in three years, to be exact. It’s not the perfection that Boise State fans are used to. But as has already been pointed out – this ain’t the old Mountain West.
Is it fair to expect championships every year? Sure. Failing to expect to perform at a level to attain a goal is a way to guarantee failure. Is it fair to start talking about benching players and canning coaches at this point? Absolutely not.
Overreaction As A Lifestyle
A trait that all Broncos, on the team or fans, share is that loathing of losing. It sucks. Losing starts to permeate a place, eventually fans become jaded and awful, and all of a sudden you’re Moscow. Nobody wants to be Moscow, so we expect the best. The best execution. Avoidance of mistakes. Accurate passes. Secure, quick tackles. Sacks. Interceptions. Special teams execution. Trick plays. Mass confusion. Tons of yardage. Tons of scoring. That identity hasn’t gone away, but it is more difficult to maintain against improving competition. Wyoming and Air Force have it figured out. More teams will too.
Boise State has to continue to evolve and get better. BSU won’t do that if we, as a fan base, demand the head of the top guy after three damn seasons. Harsin has done an amazing job considering he’s on his third OC and second DC in that time. His teams have ONE power five loss, and it was his first game as HC vs. Ole Miss in 2014. This coaching staff out-kicks their coverage in recruiting, has mostly figured out play calling, and have improved on conditioning and strength training. The fact that in year three and can have high expectations means that things are going very well. Boise’s more intense fans, who make overreacting on social media in to a performance art, would do well to remember this.
Pete lost three coordinators in eight years, and Hars has lost that in half the time. Is that a sign that it’s hard to work for Boise State? Or is that a sign that college football has changed, and that like the rest of the world, jobs are no longer guaranteed forever and its in a coaches best interest to get the money while the getting is good? Probably both. Expectations are off the charts here and I’m sure that change just for change’s sake isn’t super popular inside the football complex. This is a public institution in Idaho, after all. They’ve found a formula that works and are trying to recreate it every day. The players aren’t the only ones that learn each week – we can see that the coaches do as well. It’s important to the long term health of the program that what they learn get implemented back in, and what works is kept and what doesn’t is disregarded. Boise State does not make an investment just to toss it aside after barely using it.
Rumor Has It
One of Bronco Nation’s favorite past times is speculating about the coaching carousel, especially when our HC’s name comes up associated with a school like Oregon. If Hars takes off for greener pastures, well, could you blame him? Manage that right and he’s set for life. Hell, recruit a decent quarterback and beat UW and they’d probably name 3 buildings on campus and a pair of shoes after him. There is, however, more to this than any of us know about at a fan level. What about family? Is he done with what he wanted to accomplish here? No amount of speculation on the internet and arguments we get in to are going to change one damn thing.
Being spurned by a hometown hero for the P12 again would hurt this fan base a lot. The ones who deserve that pain the most are the ones that push the narrative that Harsin is awful and would be the first in line to wail and gnash teeth if he left. Passionate fans make Bronco Nation what it is. Some just express it in a more healthy way than others. Bitching about unsubstantiated rumors on the internet as if they are facts is not the best coping mechanism, but boy is it pervasive.
Do Better, Bronco Nation
The Boise State Broncos football team is going to be just fine, because that’s what they do. I believe that Harsin in the right man for the job here for as long as he wants it and can continue to get better and correct issues within the program. I also believe that Idahoans gonna Idaho and there will always be that faction that gets angry, overreacts, and starts looking for a head for that platter they’re dragging around and calling a shoulder chip. We can negate some of the effects of these people by calling out bad behavior when we see it, and not getting dragged in to stupid arguments. Leave dealing with these folks to talk radio and the news media that gets paid for it. We need to keep showing up, keep cheering them on, and doing our part in building up this program. Perfection doesn’t happen without community support. Winning doesn’t happen without love. I’m not saying don’t question. I’m just saying that if your natural reaction to realizing there isn’t going to be a trophy is to start calling out players on social media and insinuating that people who clearly do not suck at their jobs are sucking at their jobs, well, sit down and shut up and let the adults talk until you calm down enough to join the conversation instead of dominating it with your hurted fee-fees.
Go Broncos. We all have to decide: are we #ALLIN or not?