BOISE — Another day came and went Wednesday without an announcement of Boise State’s starting quarterback for the Aug. 31 opener against Florida State in Jacksonville.
Coach Bryan Harsin said during the spring that traditionally a decision is made about 10 days prior to the game. That day was Wednesday.
Could the Broncos have a decision internally and be keeping the news from the Seminoles for as long as possible? Sure. Do Boise State’s wide receivers describe the battle as if Chase Cord or Hank Bachmeier have been named the starter? Absolutely not.
“Chase threw a good ball today, Hank threw a good ball — they were just battling and going back and forth today,” wide receiver CT Thomas said after practice. “You love seeing that from two guys that are trying to compete for a spot and that just makes the whole team grow. You see those guys laser focused and leading the team and locked in.”
Harsin said following the second scrimmage last Friday that a decision would be made sometime this week. Whether it’s announced publicly is another story.
“It’s awesome seeing those two guys just duke it out,” wide receiver Khalil Shakir said Wednesday. “It’s kind of like a street fight.”
The two primary candidates are well known at this point: Cord is a redshirt sophomore coming off a torn ACL, while Bachmeier is a hot-shot true freshman that was one of the top prep quarterbacks in the country coming out of high school last year.
Cord was the backup to Brett Rypien prior to getting hurt midway through the year, and he showed flashes with both his arm and his legs. His game experience and knowledge of Boise State’s offense can’t be overlooked.
But neither can the rising number of schools naming true freshmen as starters at quarterback, with Auburn the latest to do it on Tuesday. Bachmeier graduated high school early and enrolled at Boise State in the spring to participate in spring practices, and the extra six months in the program appear to have been very beneficial.
“I feel like Hank did a good job coming in and competing,” Thomas said. “He’s growing rapidly. He’s growing real fast and you can see that. His game is going to another level from the spring to now.”
Shakir described Bachmeier as “a smart kid. He thinks a lot. He’s really smart as far as preparation with practice and all that. … He’s been taking it all on well and you don’t really see him freak out too much. He’s a smart kid and keeps himself sane.”
Harsin admitted Cord would have been the favorite had he not gotten hurt last year. The injury allowed Bachmeier to get extra reps during the spring and put himself in contention to win the job. Cord was brought along slowly at the start of fall camp, but participated fully in the second scrimmage.
Cord’s ability to scramble and use his legs — he had a 44-yard touchdown run against Troy last season — makes him an intriguing candidate. Assuming he’s not still shaking off the rust.
“You see him take off sometimes and you’re like ‘wow, who is that kid?’” Shakir said. “It’s great. He’s back there and he looks really comfortable and when he takes off, he takes off. It’s great seeing him do that.
“He’s never really down. Chase Cord is always up and always trying to pick other people up with him. He’s never negative and you’ll never see him with his head down. He’s always positive and I think that showed with how he took on his injury. He was in the film room and taking those mental reps and when he came back you didn’t really see him lose much.”
Without any official confirmation it appears the five-candidate race is at least down to two. Senior Jaylon Henderson, redshirt freshman Riley Smith and true freshman Kaiden Bennett haven’t been mentioned much lately.
“It’s been interesting in practice,” Thomas said. “I’m pretty sure the coaches will pick the right quarterback for Florida State, but it feels like both of those guys are stepping up and bringing their best game to the table to help our team get better for Florida State.
“That’s one thing I’ve noticed with both of them. They are stepping up major. It’s going to be a tough choice, but I’m pretty sure the coaches are going to pick the right guy.”
Harsin is next scheduled to meet with the media after Saturday’s Fan Fest, but there’s no telling if that will be the day he announces a starter. It could be Monday when the Broncos release a depth chart and Harsin holds his weekly press conference to preview the season opener. Or there could be no announcement at all, and the starter will become public when he takes the field for the first offensive play against Florida State.
Regardless, the two appear to both be on board with whatever is best for the team.
“At the end of the day it’s family,” Shakir said. “They both make mistakes, they both do good, but they both help each other out. That’s the thing that’s going to help whoever does end up getting the job, them helping each other out. They will both be ready and whoever gets it, the other person will be right there helping them out.”
The veteran Thomas agrees.
“There’s no bad blood between those two off the field,” Thomas said. “They help each other off the field and that’s one thing you don’t see a lot from two people fighting for the same spot. When Hank throws a good ball Chase is the first one congratulating him. When Chase throws a good ball you see Hank congratulating him. … That’s what this game is about, competing and getting better.”
For at least another day, the quarterback battle goes on.