In 2013 the Boise State football team experienced one of its most disappointing seasons in more than a decade. To add insult to injury, the team also lost its highly successful head coach (Chris Petersen) in the process.
This might lead some to think that the Broncos are destined for a drastic decline. However, those who assume such results probably haven't paid much attention to what has transpired since new head coach Bryan Harsin arrived to take over the program.
Since arriving back in his hometown he has begun to inspire a fanbase in need of inspiration. After a tough season and a string of unfortunate events, Harsin has brought the right kind of excitement and attitude to keep the momentum going.
His energy has been contagious and even the most skeptical fans seem to be coming around.
With Harsin at the helm, it is probably safe to say the Boise State football program is in good hands going into the future. Of course, the new head coach can't do it alone. He also needs good assistant coaches and talented players that are tough, dedicated and play with heart.
He has both.
In fact, for those who might still be skeptical, let's peer down the corridor of time a few years to see what kind of team he might have.
Specifically, let's look ahead to the 2016 season in an effort to determine the key players and how the Broncos might fare with Harsin at the helm.
Projected Starter: Alex Ogle
Bryan Harsin is an extremely offensive guy. But, that is meant in only the most complimentary football related way.
He eats, sleeps breathes and dreams X's and O's.
His type of offensive is one that Boise State fans love and have missed for the last two seasons as Petersen and his staff experimented with a hurry-up option offense, utilizing the pistol formation.
Under Harsin you can expect a healthy running game, big tight ends that make big time catches, dynamic wide receivers and of course, big, athletic offensive lineman who play with passion.
You can also expect it all to be led by a pro-style quarterback.
Of those on the current roster, including those in the latest recruiting class, one name seems to stand out.
His attitude and size are going to be a big asset. However, it is his incredible arm that gives Alex Ogle the edge.
Projected Starter: Charles Bertoli
This might be a stretch for some. However, Charles Bertoli has done nothing but impress since he arrived at Boise State. There is something special about this guy, and fans can expect him to get even better.
Of course, there are others who have a legitimate shot at winning this starting spot as well.
Devan Demas is a very talented back, as is the newcomer Cory Young. But right now the edge has to go to Bertoli.
Projected Starter: Chase Blakley
Harsin will probably utilize the tight end quite a bit in his new offense. The only problem he will have is choosing a starter.
Right now there will be at least four guys fighting for this spot. Two of them, Chase Blakley and David Lucero, are in the 2014 recruiting class. The other two are Alec Dhaenens and Jake Roh. Both will be redshirt juniors in 2016, and it wouldn't be surprising if either of them win the job.
Projected Starters: Tanner Shipley, A.J. Richardson and Sean Modster
One of the hardest things about predicting starters three years in advance are the number of variables that come into play. There is no way to know how players will develop or if injuries will be a factor.
There are several wide receivers that could land starting spots, but these three seem most likely.
Tanner Shipley, who will be a redshirt junior in three seasons, is just outstanding. He has decent speed but incredible hands.
A.J. Richardson delayed enrollment until 2014. He is now on campus, and he is going to be an incredible receiver for the Broncos.
Sean Modster is part of the 2014 class as well, and he probably needs the most development out of the three. Still, he should be in the mix come 2016.
Projected Starters: LT Steven Baggett, LG Eli McCullough, C Troy Bacon, RG Mario Yakoo and RT Travis Averill
There are a number of offensive linemen on the current roster and part of the incoming 2014 class. It is probably impossible to determine which five will be starters in 2016. But the five listed here should be somewhere in the mix.
The only 2014 recruit on the list is Troy Bacon. He is an incredible talent, and he has the size enough to possibly play as a true freshman. That would make him a junior in 2016.
The other four players will all be seniors in 2016 and that should make for a very good veteran line that season.
Projected Starters: DE Sam McCaskill, DT Dereck Boles, NT Nick Terry, STUD Kamalei Correa
The defensive line is always in need of talent and depth. Naming starters here is difficult, but even if this was to be the list, there are several other players that will get serious playing time.
The Broncos struggled in this area in 2013 and as a result picked up some talented defensive players in the 2014 recruiting class.
They will probably do the same thing in 2015, and players from both classes will no doubt be a factor.
Projected Starters: WLB Ben Weaver, MLB Tanner Vallejo, SLB Joe Martarano
The position that Boise State seems to have the most options now—and in the future—is linebacker. Two of the three listed as projected starters in 2016 are already making waves on The Blue.
Ben Weaver was incredible last season. He actually led the Broncos in tackling. Tanner Vallejo was also impressive. Both of them will be seniors in 2016 and should bring a ton of experience and leadership to the table.
Joe Martarano will be a junior. He redshirted in 2013, but he should start making noise this fall. Look for him to rise to the occasion and by 2016 he will certainly be in the mix to start.
Projected starters: CB Chaz Anderson, CB Zavior Hoxie, S Chanceller James, S Dylan Sumner-Gardner
The Broncos have good young talent in the defensive secondary. That bodes well for 2016.
Chaz Anderson has been impressive and that should only continue. On the other side at corner is a bit of a mystery. However, 2014 class member Zavior Hoxie has the talent to make an immediate impact. By 2016, he should be poised to be a starter.
At safety, Chanceller James and Dylan Sumner-Gardner should be a force at that position. Sumner-Gardner will be a junior that season, and he might be pondering a jump to the NFL in 2017. That usually means an increase in performance.
That would be horrible for opposing offenses.
Looking at the talent the Broncos currently have on the roster and with the new class coming in, it is safe to say they have the players to win championships.
Boise State is even set at kicker and punter for 2016 with Tyler Rausa and Sean Wale, respectively.
Head coach Bryan Harsin has also put together an excellent coaching staff and that should bring results on the field and with recruiting.
Looking three years into the future is fun for some, but you know coaches and players take it one season at a time. Even though 2016 looks promising, the same can be said for the upcoming season.
2014 will be crucial for coach Harsin and his team to set the tone for 2015, 2016 and beyond. Look for some of this young talent listed here to make themselves known in the upcoming season. But also look for this entire program to rise to the occasion under Harsin.
Last season may have been a tough one for Bronco Nation, but the future looks bright and the program is in good hands.