Jan. 7, 2011
Bryan Harsin, the former offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Boise State, has been named co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Texas, while current UT running backs coach Major Applewhite has been promoted to co-coordinator, Mack Brown announced Friday. Harsin and Applewhite will join in developing the game plan, while Harsin will handle the play-calling duties.
"When I heard from Coach Brown, I was flattered and excited," Harsin said. "What a great opportunity to come to a place like Texas with its rich history and tradition. We've had success at Boise State over the years, but you look at a Texas and it has been a championship program for a long, long time and it's just one of those places you want to be a part of. At Boise State, we always talked about and paid attention to the successful programs around the country, and Texas was a model. The Longhorns set the standard for what you want to be, so it was quite an honor to get that call from Coach Brown."
Harsin joins the Longhorns after 10 seasons as a member of the Boise State staff, including the last five as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. A finalist for the 2009 Broyles Award, honoring the nation's top assistant coach, Harsin has guided offenses that have consistently ranked among the nation's best in almost every major statistical category.
"Everyone knows of the appreciation I've had for Chris (Petersen), Bryan and the Boise State offense for quite some time," Brown said. "They have had an unbelievable amount of success over the last several years and their offense has played a huge part in that. In my opinion, they've been one of the most innovative offenses in the country, and I enjoy watching them every chance I get.
"Now that I've met Bryan, I'm really impressed. He has a great passion and knowledge of football. I enjoyed getting to know him and his wife, Kes, and they are wonderful people. Like all of the coaches we've hired this year, he is a bright, young football coach who will bring a lot of energy to our program."
Harsin was at the helm of the offense during a five-year period where the Broncos posted a 61-5 record that includes two undefeated seasons, which were capped by Fiesta Bowl wins over TCU in 2009 (14-0) and Oklahoma in 2006 (13-0). They reached at least 12 wins in four of his five seasons as coordinator and had three Top 10 finishes, including ranking No. 5/6 in 2006, No. 4/4 in 2009, and No. 10/10 entering the 2010 bowl season. In 2008, they finished just outside the Top 10 at No. 11/13.
"I think this whole thing is about the fit," Harsin said. "We'll get the X's and O's situated and implement what we need to in order to be successful, but it's all about the fit. In the time we spent with Coach Brown and getting to know him, it fits. Our philosophies, our vision for where we want this offense to go, we're on the same page. He's putting together a tremendous staff and I'm looking forward to getting all of us together and putting a great product on the field."
Harsin will join with Applewhite as co-coordinators to develop the UT offense. A record-setting quarterback at UT and former graduate assistant coach for Brown, Applewhite is a nine-year coaching veteran. He joined the Texas staff in January 2008 as assistant head coach and running backs coach.
"Bryan and Major working together gives us two of the best, young offensive minds in the country," Brown said. "They had a chance to visit quite a bit yesterday and they clicked immediately. They both have everything we want in a coach at Texas. Adding them in with Bruce Chambers, Darrell Wyatt, and an offensive line coach that we'll name later, will give us a tremendous offensive staff. I can't wait to bring all of their expertise together and get them started."
Since Applewhite began coaching running backs in 2008, Doak Walker Award semifinalist Jamaal Charles and Chris Ogbonnaya have both gone on to the NFL. In 2010, the running back corps combined for 1,396 rushing yards and 14 TDs, while catching 47 passes for 322 yards. In 2009, the backs tallied 1,665 rushing yards and 24 TDs. During Applewhite's tenure, the Texas RBs who have started at least one game in their careers have fumbled only eight times and lost only three. Of those eight, only four belonged to backs on the 2010 team and of those, only one has been lost (Fozzy Whittaker 2-0, Cody Johnson 1-0, Tre' Newton 1-1).
"Bryan and I had a chance to get together and talk football during his visit to Austin, and I felt like we connected immediately," Applewhite said. "We talked about personnel, philosophies and getting the best out of this team. The bottom line is we both want to win. Obviously we've all seen what Boise State has done over the years, so I'm excited to get with him, put our ideas together and develop a successful plan here."
Applewhite returned to Texas after spending the 2007 season as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Alabama, where he was the youngest coordinator in the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS). In Applewhite's one year at Alabama, the Crimson Tide improved its offensive output by nearly 40 yards per game (335.9 to 373.8) and increased its scoring from 22.9 points per game to 27.1.
"I really like Bryan's nature and how serious he is about the business," Applewhite said. "I think we're very similar in what we're about. He's a former quarterback, and we both really enjoy the teaching part of the job. Our primary focus is developing the players. We want to help the guys get better, and that will help us have success as a team. We want our players to not only know what they're doing, but why they're doing it."
Prior to Alabama, Applewhite spent a season as offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach at Rice where, as the youngest coordinator in NCAA Division I, he directed an offense that scored the most points (350) and gained the third-most yards (4,486) in Owls' history. Under his guidance, Rice produced a 1,000-yard rusher, a 1,000-yard receiver and a 1,000-yard passer for the first time in school history en route to the program's first appearance in a bowl game since 1961. Before his stint at Rice, Applewhite joined former UT defensive coordinator Greg Robinson at Syracuse where he served as quarterbacks coach in 2005. Applewhite's coaching career began where he starred, at Texas, where he served as a graduate assistant coach and worked with the offensive line for two seasons (2003-04).
"Talking with Major was a huge part of this process," Harsin said. "I got a chance to spend the day with him just talking shop. We got in there and got right into talking ball and philosophies and concepts and what we should do offensively, and it was very easy. I think his goals and my goals mesh, and we're looking at the same vision, like I talked about with Coach Brown."
Since becoming offensive coordinator at Boise State in 2006, Harsin's offenses have been in the top five nationally in scoring four times, capped by ranking first in 2009 (42.2 ppg) and second so far in 2010 with 45.1 ppg. They also ranked second in 2006 (39.7 ppg), fourth in 2007 (42.4 ppg) and 12th in 2008 (37.6 ppg). In all, Boise State has averaged 41.4 ppg during his time as coordinator under Head Coach Chris Petersen.
"Coach (Chris) Pete(rsen) is as good as any guy I've ever met," Harsin said. "I think the hardest thing about this is that we didn't just have an employee-boss relationship, we have a friendship, and we're very close. I really believe he's as genuine as anybody I've ever been around, and I just appreciate him taking a chance to give me that coordinator position. I give all the credit to him, and I appreciate what he and the university have done for me and my family.
"Playing there, growing up there, being a part of how it's developed and what it's become now, I can't say enough about it. I appreciate my time there, and I appreciate the kids. It's hard to leave those guys. They have been a big part of my life, along with the staff. We've worked together and they're as good it gets. I was fortunate to be there."
The Broncos have ranked in the Top 10 in total offense in three of Harsin's seasons as coordinator and have been no lower than 18th in all five of his years, culminating in 2010 with an average of 521.3 ypg, which set the BSU school record and ranked third nationally this season. In those five seasons, the Broncos offense has averaged 459.9 ypg.
"There are a lot of things in place you look at from a coaching standpoint that allow you to do your job and be successful. I think that's one reason why Kes and I looked at this place. We had a couple of places where if an opportunity ever came up - because of what they've done and who they are and we have the ability to go in and do our job to the best of our ability - these are places that we would look at. Texas was at the top of the list. We feel very blessed that it has come about, because this is something we've talked about and dreamed about, and now it's a reality."
Harsin's offenses averaged more than 200 yards both rushing and passing twice during his tenure. In 2006, Boise State produced the sixth-ranked rushing offense in the nation with 214.2 ypg, while in 2010 it has had the nation's sixth-ranked passing attack with 321.1 ypg, which is the fourth-best mark in school history. In that span, the offense has averaged 272.4 yards passing and 187.5 yards rushing per game.
In addition, the Broncos have ranked in the top 12 in pass efficiency all five years and have been in the top 10 in four of those. They led the nation in fewest sacks allowed in 2009 with just five, were third in 2010 with only eight and were fifth in 2008 with 13.
As quarterbacks coach, Harsin has guided Kellen Moore to becoming one of the nation's most productive quarterbacks. In 2010, Moore was named first-team All-America by the Football Writers Association of America and became Boise State's first Heisman Trophy finalist. He was also a finalist for the Maxwell Award, Davey O'Brien Award and Manning Award and was named the nation's top quarterback by The Touchdown Club of Columbus.
This year, Moore became the first Boise State quarterback to eclipse 10,000 career passing yards and is one of just six active players with 10,000 passing yards, and is the only junior amongst the six. He also notched his third 3,000-yard passing season in 2010 and owns three of the top four single-season marks in Bronco history. He is the only player in school history to throw for 3,000 yards in three different seasons.
Moore has also become Boise State's all-time leader in a number of statistical categories, including total offense (10,811), passing yards (10,867), completions (831), touchdowns (99) and 200-yard passing games (34).
Moore's single-season numbers from 2010 also rank in the all-time top 10. His 3,845 passing yards is the second-highest single-season total in school history, his 245 completions rank fourth, his 383 attempts are fifth and his 35 touchdowns are tied for second.
A large part of the offensive success in 2009 came on the arm of Moore, who finished the season with a school record 39 touchdown throws and just three interceptions. Moore ended the year ranked second in the country in pass efficiency (161.7) en route to setting the NCAA record for interception-to-attempt ratio at .69 percent (3-of-431).
ESPN.com, SI.com and CBSSports.com named Moore first-team All-America, the Associated Press named him third-team All-America, while he also finished seventh in the 2009 Heisman voting and earned Western Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Year honors. Also earning first-team All-WAC honors in 2009 under Harsin's guidance were wide receivers Austin Pettis and Titus Young, and offensive lineman Nate Potter.
In his third season as offensive coordinator, Harsin's 2008 unit was taken over by Moore, who was a redshirt freshman. Moore would compile one of the most outstanding seasons by any Broncos quarterback, finishing the year with a NCAA freshman record 69.4 completion percentage (281-of-405), 25 touchdown passes and just 10 interceptions. He was also named WAC Freshman of the Year.
Following the 2007 season, offensive tackle Ryan Clady became the first player in Boise State history to be taken in the first round of the NFL draft when he was selected No. 12 overall by the Denver Broncos. Clady, who entered the draft one year early, was named a first-team All-America by the American Football Coaches Association and Sporting News.
In Harsin's first season as offensive coordinator, the 2006 Broncos went undefeated and RB Ian Johnson led the country in rushing touchdowns and scoring. He also set a school single-season record with 1,713 yards. He was named to four separate All-America teams and finished eighth in the Heisman Trophy voting.
From 2002-05 Harsin served as tight ends coach at BSU. That unit played a vital role in a Broncos offense that led the nation in scoring twice and finished in the top 10 in scoring in each of those four years. In 2005, four Broncos tight ends combined to catch 27 passes for 298 yards and three touchdowns. In 2004, Harsin helped the tight ends contribute to the top-scoring offense in school history (48.9 ppg).
In four seasons as tight ends coach and one as a GA, Boise State had a record of 53-11, making the Broncos record in his 10 seasons there 114-16.
Prior to coaching the tight ends, Harsin was a graduate assistant with the Broncos in 2001. He was a member of the Bronco football team from 1995-1999, earning three varsity letters. He served as Boise State's backup quarterback in 1999 when the team went 10-3 and won the Crucial.com Humanitarian Bowl.
After graduating from Boise State in 2000 with a degree in business management, Harsin entered the coaching profession at Eastern Oregon, coaching running backs and receivers during the 2000 season.
Harsin and his wife, Kes, have two daughters, Devyn Lynn and Dayn Mykena, and a son, Davis. Harsin is a graduate of Capital High School in Boise.