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Harsin To Bring "Boise Model" To Jonesboro

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Arkansas State hopes coaching turnover will not slow its success, like this bowl win against Kent State on Jan. 6. Photo by Michael Chang/Getty Images.
Arkansas State hopes coaching turnover will not slow its success, like this bowl win against Kent State on Jan. 6. Photo by Michael Chang/Getty Images.

It’s safe to say that Arkansas State’s plans of becoming the “Boise of the South” are going well. With two titles won in the last couple of years, the Red Wolves have staked a legitimate claim as an annual power in the Sun Belt.

Even with those victories, though, Arkansas State faced a choice with the departure of Gus Malzahn last season. They could have opted for a lesser-known coach who would have been more likely to stay long term, or they could have hired another high-caliber exciting coach, with the risk of losing him in 2014.

It’s clear that they chose the latter.

Bryan Harsin, who was co-offensive coordinator at Texas last year, seems to be exactly what the Red Wolves sought. While his tenure at Texas was a reasonable success, what is really exciting about Harsin is his history with Boise State. Harsin served as a quarterback for the Broncos in the late '90s before becoming a graduate assistant, and eventually, offensive coordinator. To say the least, he is familiar with the Boise model. Arkansas State is hoping that he can export the same formula to Jonesboro in 2013.

He certainly has the tools.

Arkansas State’s 2013 recruiting class contained 17 three-star recruits. While some of them have already left the team, that’s still a good indication of this team’s potential. Its not like the Red Wolves aren’t used to winning in transition. During the last two seasons, they’ve won 20 games under three different head coaches (including interim coaches). While there will be challenges to Arkansas State this season from Louisiana-Lafayette and Louisiana-Monroe, the Red Wolves will continue to perform at a high level.

Harsin doesn’t seem eager to leave, either. When talking about the team’s prospects, Harsin tends to describe his work as a “process," insisting that he’s not in Jonesboro to leave after one season for the Southeastern Conference. If that’s true, and there’s no reason to believe it isn’t, Harsin may be exactly the man that Arkansas State is looking for. After all, it’s unsure how long the Red Wolves can keep up their success with such constant upheaval.

So far, Arkansas State has done well adopting the Boise State model: the flexible offense, the discipline, the dedicated mentality. Now, with the hiring of Harsin, they even have a coach who made his bones on that blue astroturf.