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Las Vegas Bowl coaches juggle game preparation, signing day

The newest Broncos and Huskies appeared throughout the Twitter football timelines of Boise State and Washington on Wednesday as the three-day early signing period began.

Boise State coach Bryan Harsin had an announcement news conference at Hard Rock Hotel. Washington, which is undergoing a transition from Chris Petersen to Jimmy Lake, sent out a release of its signees.

The increasing importance of the early signing period and the early annual date of the Las Vegas Bowl created dual priorities, with coaches from both teams preparing for Saturday’s 4:30 p.m. game at Sam Boyd Stadium while also keeping track of the signings.

“We normally don’t have our phones with us in meetings,” Harsin said Tuesday. “We normally don’t have distractions that way. We’ll have a little bit of that (Wednesday) because coaches are going to have to be ready to possibly get on their phone. They’re also going to want to be there to congratulate guys when they do sign.”

Petersen downplayed any logistical issues.

“(Recruits) sign their papers and send them on their phone, and we’re good,” Petersen said. “We could be in Africa. It doesn’t matter.”

Tickets still available

Bowl executive director John Saccenti said about 4,000 tickets remain unsold.

He said playing closer to Christmas hurt sales because of the travel time back home for fans of both teams. Those fans also hoped their teams would make a New Year’s Six game.

“But we sold quite a few local tickets, which told me that we’ve got the right matchup that people here in Las Vegas were interested in seeing,” Saccenti said.

Last year’s game drew an announced crowd of 37,146 to watch Fresno State beat Arizona State 31-20. The bowl has attracted more than 30,000 fans each year since 2005, except for in 2016 when 29,286 saw San Diego State defeat Houston 34-10.

The Vegas experience

Mountain West players tend to have some sort of familiarity with Las Vegas, but that’s not necessarily the case for those in the Pac-12 Conference.

Washington linebacker Brandon Wellington is in Las Vegas for the first time.

“I mean, it’s crazy,” he said. “There’s a lot of flashing lights. A lot of smoke and mirrors, what I like to call it. I can see why people get sucked into Vegas.”

Pregame games

No. 18 Boise State not only will face Washington on Saturday, players from each team will take part in an e-sports competition Thursday, an event that was added to the schedule this year.

Boise State’s players will compete from 5 to 6:30 p.m. at the HyperX Esports Arena at the Luxor, and Washington’s players take the stage from 7 to 8:30 p.m.

Contact reporter Mark Anderson at manderson@reviewjournal.com. Follow @markanderson65 on Twitter. Contact Ben Gotz at bgotz@reviewjournal.com. Follow @BenSGotz on Twitter.

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