Harsin sees difficult challenge in Arizona

Bryan Harsin has plenty of respect for what Arizona can do on both sides of the ball. Read on for his thoughts on the Wildcats, what stands out right away, and more.

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. - When Boise State coach Bryan Harsin watches tape on Arizona, there is one aspect of the Wildcats that is apparent right away.

“I think they are tough,” Harsin said. “If I have anything to say about their football team, I think they are tough. They get after it and play extremely hard.

“I think they are physical in the way they play. From my standpoint, I think we pride ourselves on being a physical football team and you pop on their tape, they are a physical football team.”

Harsin credits much of that to Arizona’s coaching staff.

“You can pop on the tape and see what type of coaches they are,” he said. “It has been easy to motivate our players, they just watch the film. They know we are playing a very good team, playing a very well coached team.

“I think Coach Rodriguez has done this for a while and been a very successful coach at different programs and look where they are now. You know the quality of coach that he is.”

As Boise State prepares for Arizona’s offense, the main challenge in containing it is the fact that Anu Solomon has numerous options each play.

“I think the challenge comes in with the run, pass options,” Harsin said. “We have looked at them from our offensive standpoint throughout the year. When they beat Oregon, you want to go back and watch that game and this is before we even knew we were going to play Arizona, you are kind of just studying what they are doing.

“The quarterback is obviously playing well, but when you have a chance to read, pull, run, and throw, and then do it in the different ways they are doing it, I think they are doing things differently than most. It’s tough to defend.

“You have to do your job. I think what they can get you out of doing is try and make you do more than you’re supposed to and try to help another guy out. All of a sudden you’re out of position and once you’re out of position, their team speed, they can take it and go.

“We need to be a disciplined defense, bottom line, and we need to do our jobs out there. They are going to make plays, that’s the reality of it. We have to be able to make those plays contested plays throughout the game and not just gimmes.”

Harsin is personally familiar with Cayleb Jones and Connor Brewer, as he recruited both while at Texas.

“Cayleb’s dad played ten years or so in the NFL for the Cowboys,” Harsin said. “Great work ethic, understands what it takes to be successful at the highest level.

“We had him at Texas and he was a young guy playing. You like to take some of those guys and let them marinate a little bit. That wasn’t the case with him. He came right in and played and did a great job for a young guy.

“Watching him now, you see what experience does for an athlete like Cayleb. It is showing up and the guy is a great playmaker. His demeanor has gotten better and he is more mature. He is just getting better and better.”

Much has been made of Arizona’s tempo, but Harsin believes that the Broncos are prepared for it.

“We run no huddle as well,” he said. “I think that’s the classic line, that we’re a no huddle team and we’re going to wear you down. I think that is a little bit of the past in my opinion, because everybody is a no huddle team for the most part.

“I believe our players throughout the season, watching our guys in games, I feel like we’ve been fresh. I don’t feel like we’ve gotten run down, but I also know that Arizona is a different animal.

“They do a great job with their tempo, but we have seen that throughout the year. Fresno in the last game, those guys went extremely fast and our guys were still able to execute.

“The bottom line is that we’re going to have to play fast. Is tempo a factor? Yes, but if we’re prepared for it and I believe we are, we need to get lined up and play too.”

Arizona is not only an offensive team, as the defense deserves credit as well. That all starts with linebacker Scooby Wright III.

“I think as a just a fan of college football, he plays the game the right way,” Harsin said. “I think he is a guy who you just gravitate towards with the way he plays. He is a good athlete. He has skills.

“There are probably better players physically, but I don’t know if there’s better football players. That is the one thing that really stands out. The guy absolutely gives it 100 percent every play. He has feel and that is the one thing you can’t coach.

“A guy that’s got feel for the game at that position is very difficult to play against and he shows that. When he brings it, he brings it. We know we are going to have match ups against him. We want our guys to go out there and give their very best.

“What an awesome challenge for whoever gets to face him throughout the game. He is the best, so you get to go against the very best and we will see where we are when we go against him.”

One consistent compliment Arizona has given Boise State throughout the week is that the Broncos are the hardest playing team the Wildcats have seen all season.

For Harsin, that can be attributed to his team’s love for the game.

“I think there is a lot of conviction behind what they are doing on the football field,” he said. “If you’re going to play this game, we’re not here to convince you to play. You either love it or you don’t and I hope we have a bunch of guys on our football team that absolutely love playing.

“From an effort standpoint, if that shows up I think it is because of the love of the game. That we win, is because we do it together and we have very good coaches that are getting these guys in the right position.

“I think playing hard, if you’re a football player and you are complimented on playing hard, it is because you love the game.”

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