The Boise State football team’s most experienced quarterback will be eased into action during fall camp, coach Bryan Harsin said Wednesday at Mountain West football media days.
Sophomore Chase Cord, who was the backup last year until he tore an anterior cruciate ligament in an October practice, should be fully cleared before fall camp begins Aug. 2, Harsin said.
“I don’t think that’s going to limit him from his ability to compete, barring any setbacks,” Harsin said.
Cord has been working out and participating in player-run practices this summer, but stepping into football practice is different, Harsin said, and needs to be done gradually.
“As simple as it sounds, he hasn’t even worn a helmet,” Harsin said. “He didn’t get a chance to do that in spring ball. He’s done a really good job. He’s not going to be 100 percent right as we start, and we’re not going to treat him like he’s 100 percent. We’re going to progress him as we go into fall camp.”
Cord will compete with senior Jaylon Henderson, redshirt freshman Riley Smith and true freshmen Hank Bachmeier and Kaiden Bennett for the starting job.
Cord was 6-for-9 for 67 yards with a touchdown and an interception last season. He also rushed eight times for 109 yards and a TD. He likely would have had a “leg up” in the starting race if not for the injury, Harsin said, but still would have needed to fight for the job.
Henderson, who joined the team last year as a junior college transfer, was the primary quarterback with the No. 1 offense in the Spring Game. Bachmeier also got some snaps with the first team.
Henderson was 9-for-13 for 187 yards and a touchdown in the Spring Game.
All five quarterbacks will get opportunities early in fall camp, Harsin said, but he expects to name a starter about 10 days before the Aug. 31 season opener against Florida State in Jacksonville, Florida.
“We’re not going to try to surprise anybody,” Harsin said.
Special teams role distributed
Running backs coach Lee Marks holds the title of special teams coach but the duties have been distributed across the staff, Harsin said. Marks was set to split the role with new hire Jeff Schmedding until Schmedding was promoted to defensive coordinator.
Former special teams coach Kent Riddle also remains on staff as tight ends coach. Riddle was the special teams coach for Harsin’s first five seasons, but special teams were a significant weakness last season.
“Everybody’s got a piece of it,” Harsin said. “Lee is really directing right now on special teams — that’s how we’ve put it. ... That’s been a good thing for all of us. I haven’t done it that way, but I enjoy it. The staff enjoys it. I love Coach Riddle — he’s done a tremendous job. We needed more involvement from everybody.”
Tight end Austin Griffin of Mt. San Antonio College in California won’t be joining the Broncos for academic reasons, Harsin said. Griffin was part of the 2019 recruiting class. ... Wide receiver Octavius Evans was hobbled by an ankle injury last fall and a foot injury in the spring but will be ready for the season, Harsin said. ... Wide receiver John Hightower and running back Robert Mahone, who weren’t able to make the bowl trip because of academics, are set for the season, Harsin said. “Both those guys knocked it out this summer,” he said. “They had to take their spring and take their summer and they knocked it out. I think they understand how important that is to us. You don’t miss those opportunities because of that. If those guys take care of their business, they will be guys that can help us.” ... Linebacker Riley Whimpey, who also tore an ACL last season, will be eased into camp like Cord, Harsin said. ... True freshman running back George Holani has been “fun to watch,” Harsin said.