Coaches address Boise State QB roles. Bachmeier diplomatic, thanks first responders

·7 min read

Even with established starting quarterbacks in place, such as former star Brett Rypien or current starter Hank Bachmeier, Boise State has regularly inserted backups like Chase Cord and Montell Cozart into games in the past.

That hasn’t been the case in former Broncos linebacker Andy Avalos’ first season as head coach.

Bachmeier has not only started all seven of the Broncos’ games this fall, but he has taken almost all of the snaps. Boise State (3-4, 1-2 MW) has used wide receiver Khalil Shakir and running back George Holani as wildcat quarterbacks a few times, but backup quarterbacks Jack Sears and Taylen Green have not been involved.

In fact, Sears and Green have played in only one game apiece, and both were tasked with leading the offense during mop-up duty.

Sears — a transfer from USC — got on the field late in Boise State’s 54-13 win over UTEP, and his only passing attempt of the season fell incomplete. Green — a freshman who enrolled early and joined the team in January — replaced Bachmeier for a couple of plays with the Broncos enjoying a comfortable lead in the fourth quarter of Boise State’s 27-3 win at Utah State. He finished with one carry for one yard and didn’t attempt a pass.

So why hasn’t Boise State’s new coaching staff found ways to create packages for its backup quarterbacks? Avalos said it has a lot to do with his faith in Bachmeier.

“Are there things he has to improve on? Yeah, but Hank has done a good job being efficient,” Avalos said.

Bachmeier ranks No. 3 in the Mountain West in completion percentage (64.9%) and quarterback rating (142.9) this season. The three-year starter has thrown for 1,950 yards, and his 12 touchdown passes rank No. 4 in the conference heading into a game at Colorado State on Saturday (5 p.m., CBS Sports Network).

The junior from Murrieta, California, also threw for a career-high 388 yards and four touchdowns in a loss to Nevada, and he was the Broncos’ leading rusher in their win at Utah State.

Bachmeier’s accomplishments this season have been overshadowed by interceptions he threw in the fourth quarter of all four of the Broncos’ losses. Boise State was driving to take the lead or tie the game when he was intercepted in losses to UCF, Oklahoma State and Air Force.

But Boise State offensive coordinator Tim Plough said he’s seen more good than bad out of Bachmeier.

“In my opinion, Hank has done really well,” Plough said. “We’ve had a couple miscues where maybe there are some misreads or things that led to negative plays or turnovers that we can obviously correct, but Hank is playing at a really high level.

“There’s things we can do to help him and things we can do to help the offense run more smoothly,” Plough continued, “but I think he’s done a lot of things really well here in the first half (of the season), and I expect him to play even better in the second half.”

When asked to evaluate himself on Tuesday, Bachmeier told reporters that he can play better.

“Obviously I’ve thrown a couple of late-game picks, and that hurts me,” he said. “I think my ability to operate in the presnap has been a lot better. I can still be better, for sure. I’ve missed some things, but it’s great having explosive guys outside. I just have to make sure I’m communicating with the O-line, the running backs and tight ends on protection, and make sure we get that dialed in.”

Avalos and Plough agree that while forcing opposing defenses to prepare for multiple quarterbacks can be a positive, splitting reps at quarterback during a game has its drawbacks in terms of consistency and continuity.

“The negative is if you’re mixing a guy in every other drive, it’s really hard to get into a rhythm,” said Plough, who played quarterback at UC Davis before joining the coaching staff there. “It’s difficult unless you’ve got a Taysom Hill-type of situation where a guy can play another position and can jump into quarterback every now and then.”

Avalos said splitting reps can also create tension.

“I haven’t met very many quarterbacks that like to rotate,” he said.

Bachmeier was diplomatic in his response to a question about his preference when it comes to splitting playing time. But he also said he approaches every play with the mindset that he could be taken off the field at any moment, so he has to make the most of every opportunity.

“You just have to be intentional and deliberate every single play that you’re out there,” Bachmeier said. “I have to make sure I’m seeing the field the best I can and making the right decisions.”

Sears joined the Broncos last year after three seasons at USC. He started Boise State’s game at Air Force last fall because Bachmeier was in COVID-19 protocol, and the former Trojan looked impressive, throwing for 280 yards and scoring four total touchdowns.

He suffered a head injury the following week against BYU and missed the rest of last season. Sears was banged up again in fall camp this year, and Bachmeier won the starting job for the third year in a row.

Plough said Sears is going to be ready to go if his number is called.

“I’m sure he’s champing at the bit, like any backup quarterback would be, to get an opportunity to go out and do his thing,” Plough said. “And I know he’ll be ready if that takes place.”

Bachmeier thanks first responders

After getting all of the football questions out of the way during a scheduled media appearance on Tuesday, Bachmeier took time to thank the first responders who rushed to the Boise Towne Square mall on Monday in response to a shooting, and also offered his condolences to the families of the victims.

Bachmeier said his girlfriend, Jenna Vitamanti, was working at the Lululemon store in the mall during the shooting, which left two people dead and four wounded. She wasn’t injured but is still pretty shaken, Bachmeier said.

“It was very scary for myself and for her family, so I’m just really grateful to first responders and I send my deepest condolences to anybody that was affected by it,” he said.

Apsey lands at San Diego State

Former Boise State Athletic Director Curt Apsey has landed a new gig.

Apsey has accepted a position as executive associate athletic director for development at San Diego State, the school announced on Tuesday.

Apsey spent 21 years at Boise State, including a stint as athletic director from 2015 to 2020. He stepped down last October and moved into a university-level fundraising position. Jeramiah Dickey was hired as his replacement in January.

During his tenure at Boise State, Apsey renegotiated a multimedia agreement with Learfield IMG and a sponsorship deal with Nike, and helped secure a new 15-year naming rights contract for the Broncos’ basketball arena with ExtraMile convenience stores.

“This position here at San Diego State checked all the boxes for me and my family,” Apsey said in a statement. “The momentum that has been initiated by President (Adela) de la Torre, JD Wicker and the entire Aztec community is truly amazing. This is a tremendous opportunity, and I can’t wait to get started.”

BOISE STATE AT COLORADO STATE

When: 5 p.m. Saturday

Where: Canvas Stadium, Fort Collins, Colorado

TV: CBS Sports Network (Rich Waltz, Aaron Taylor, Jenny Dell). That’s channel 139 on Sparklight, 221 on DirecTV and 158 on Dish Network.

Radio: KBOI 670 AM/KTIK 93.1 FM (Bob Behler, Pete Cavender)

Records: Boise State 3-4, 1-2; Colorado State 3-4, 2-1.

Series: Boise State is 10-0 all-time against Colorado State, including a 52-21 win at Albertsons Stadium last season.

Vegas line: Boise State by 2.5

Weather: High of 65 degrees, 3% chance of rain, 11 mph winds

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