BOISE — Hank Bachmeier is going to get plenty of action this spring since he’s the only scholarship quarterback available to practice.
It figures to be a big benefit to he and the Broncos.
Bachmeier went 7-1 as the starter last season as a true freshman and put up decent numbers — nine touchdowns to six interceptions while competing 63 percent of his passes. But he missed six games due to two different injuries that ultimately put somewhat of a damper on his debut campaign.
“The only thing that hurt was not playing,” Boise State coach Bryan Harsin said. “He missed opportunities and reps, so we’ve got to make some of that up.”
That won’t be a problem this spring. Boise State only currently has two scholarship quarterbacks on the roster for spring practices, and the other, Chase Cord, is out for the spring due to shoulder surgery.
The Broncos have a pair of walk-on quarterbacks that will get additional reps in Scott Matlock and just arrived freshman Andy Peters, but Bachmeier figures to get a ton of reps this spring as he looks to build on a promising start to his Boise State career.
“I really want to improve overall at everything,” Bachmeier said. “Command of the offense, continuing to build confidence, building camaraderie with the guys since we lost a few guys on the line. I’m just trying to get better every single day, in all aspects — fundamentals, mental stuff, watching film. I think it’s all stuff I can work on and coach Kiesau has done a great job developing a good plan.”
Bachmeier burst onto the scene with a historic debut, passing for 407 yards to lead the Broncos to a comeback win at Florida State in the season opener. He won and started the first six games before suffering a hip pointer injury against Hawaii.
The former four-star recruit returned to start a few weeks later against San Jose State, but suffered an injury to his shoulder during the game and was out for more than a month. He came back to start the Las Vegas Bowl against Washington seven weeks later, but threw two interceptions and looked rusty after the long layoff.
With Cord out due to injury this spring, Bachmeier hopes to use the extra practice reps to make big improvements in his game — notably on his footwork.
“Fundamentals and technique in general,” Bachmeier said. “Coach Kiesau has done a really good job harping on the fundamentals. It starts with footwork. I felt like watching the film and with coach Kiesau and Harsin breaking it down, getting my football under control, a consistent drop every time instead of being everywhere and scrambling around and having hot feet. Having good timing with the concepts (is a focus).”
Bachmeier also hopes to continue improving his knowledge of the playbook and the offense, so he can “process information and make a decision, and make the right decision” faster than in the past.
Asked about how much better he can get this spring, Bachmeier said, “Shoot, we have to find out. I’m working hard every day, so we’ll see soon.”
As for Cord, the fourth-year sophomore who started two games last year in place of Bachmeier, but was passed by third-stringer Jaylon Henderson due to an injury to himself, he admitted being out this spring and unable to compete for the starting job has been a tough pill to swallow.
“It’s a little bit frustrating, no doubt,” Cord said. “Obviously I want to be on the field doing what I can to help get this team ready, but at the end of the day I have to trust God and his plan for me. Dealing with a similar thing last year helped me out.”
Cord is dealing with multiple injuries, the biggest of which is his shoulder. He’s expected to be back to 100 percent for the start of fall camp in early August. Bachmeier is the heavy favorite to be the starter again in 2020, but Cord hopes to be able to turn it into a competition at some point.
“Absolutely,” Cord said. “I’ve dealt with injuries before so I have no doubt I can come back from this.”
Some thought Cord might transfer to seek playing time elsewhere with the writing on the wall that he likely will be a backup to Bachmeier moving forward. He said that was never on the table.
“It hasn’t crossed my mind honestly,” Cord said. “We have games to prepare for in season, and offseason training. The relationships you build with players, teammates, my roommates, the coaches. There’s a lot more than just trying to ‘get yours’. I’ve never been a selfish guy and I think last year was a good way to see that.
“I came in when I had to and did my thing, and when those guys were out there I was the first one to greet them on the field.”
Further down the depth chart Peters is a fun story to watch this spring. The Timberline High product graduated high school early to enroll in time for spring practices, and the walk-on could be a candidate to one day earn a scholarship for his hometown team.
“It’s surreal being out here and practicing on The Blue,” Peters said. “It’s something I dreamed of since I was little. If you look up at section 108, row 36, that’s where I sat for the first eight years of my life watching Boise State. Watching Kellen Moore, Grant Hedrick, watching them go to the Fiesta Bowl and win, it’s surreal. It’s everything I’ve ever dreamed of.”
Idaho Press Sports Columnist Mike Prater contributed to this story.