Boise State Football

Special teams overhaul leads Boise State to ‘persistent’ Division III kicker in Connecticut

Editor’s note: This is part of an occasional series previewing the 2019 Boise State football team by position. The previews will appear throughout August. Previously: Defensive line, running backs, tight ends, cornerbacks, receivers, safeties, linebackers. Check out the position-by-position roster here.

Eric Sachse didn’t say exactly how many emails he sent, and it doesn’t really matter now anyway.

He needed just one positive response, and he got it with Boise State.

The redshirt senior from Jefferson, Massachusetts, joined the Broncos this summer as a walk-on, fulfilling his dream of becoming a Division I kicker. Sachse is competing with redshirt junior Joel Velazquez and freshman Gavin Wale for starting duties at kicker and punter as the Broncos attempt to reinvigorate their special teams.

“I approached Boise State, just sending out emails,” Sachse said. “I feel a little awkward if I’m talking to coaches and I just keep sending them emails, but the thing I learned is just be persistent with these guys.”

Sachse’s email first popped up in Darren Uscher’s inbox, and the director of recruiting passed it along to Boise State assistant coaches Kent Riddle, Jeff Schmedding and Lee Marks. Boston College also was in the mix, but Sachse said he visited Boise in January and was immediately sure it was where he belonged.

“Once I got out here and kind of saw, I mean, I’d never been out here, never really thought much of Boise, Idaho,” said Sachse. “But the second you get out here, something’s different. The city is perfect.”

While he had “no offers to play pretty much anywhere” out of high school, Sachse built his resume over four years, including a medical redshirt, at Division III Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut. He played in four games in 2015-16 before an opponent dove into his kicking leg on an extra point, breaking his right ankle. He bounced back from the injury with a perfect 2016-17 season in which he made 13-of-13 field goals and 37-of-37 extra points. In 30 total games for the Bantams, Sachse went 29-for-36 on field goals, with a long of 50 yards, and made 119-of-129 extra points.

“The biggest thing that I always say is the field goal posts never change,” Sachse said. “It’s the same kick in Connecticut that it was here.”

Sachse and his dad drove 36 hours straight from Massachusetts to Wyoming on their way to Boise. They tried to sleep at a rest stop in Nebraska, but Sachse said he was too excited to close his eyes.

“So I grabbed a coffee from McDonald’s or something and then just hopped in the car and kept driving,” he said.

That energy and excitement has yet to wear off. Sachse even earned the praise of coach Bryan Harsin after the team’s second scrimmage last Friday.

“He kicked well tonight. It was good to see him out there,” Harsin said. “He’s fun to be around. He’s got a good personality. He also executes well when he’s on the field, so to me that was exciting to see that.”

Boise State won’t release its first depth chart of the 2019 season until next week, but that hasn’t stopped Sachse from daydreaming about the possibility of being the Broncos’ starting kicker Aug. 31 against Florida State.

“I’m getting chills thinking about it right now,” Sachse said. “It’s pretty cool to think of just going to bed at night, just closing your eyes and thinking of a packed stadium. The guys in the locker room are working so hard throughout camp, so the least I could do is just go out there and perform for them.”

Boise State lost the Mountain West championship game to Fresno State last season in overtime after missing a field goal and having a potential game-winning PAT blocked in regulation. The Broncos also made just 12-of-20 field goals. Harsin opted for an overhaul of special teams in the offseason, demoting longtime coordinator Riddle and replacing him with a committee headed by Marks.

“I like that everyone has their hand in the pot,” said Boise State corner Avery Williams, who also returns punts/kicks. “I just feel like we’re about to give it our all in every single special team. We’re getting the best personnel out there. We’re bringing new techniques, just things to get back to how we used to be.”

Broncos name 2019 captains

Coach Bryan Harsin named three captains for the 2019 season on Thursday.

The leaders for this year, all seniors, are offensive lineman John Molchon, safety Kekoa Nawahine and defensive tackle David Moa. They were selected by their teammates, Harsin said on Twitter.

Molchon and Nawahine are third-year starters. Moa, who starred during the 2016 and 2017 seasons, is returning from a torn Achilles tendon that forced him to miss nearly all of last season.

The annual Fan Fest is at 2 p.m. Saturday at Albertsons Stadium. Admission is free.

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