Coach Bryan Harsin probably knows better than anyone the kind of quarterback Hank Bachmeier could become.
He’d seen enough film on Bachmeier to know the 6-foot-1, 202-pound freshman from Murrieta, California, was capable of competing immediately for Boise State’s open spot at quarterback.
And Bachmeier delivered on Harsin’s early hunch by winning the starting job for the Broncos’ 2019 season opener on Saturday against Florida State. Kickoff is 10 a.m. MT (ESPNews) at Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee, Florida.
But will expectation and reality align against the Seminoles?
“He’s got to go out there and play,” Harsin said. “You could ask me all these questions about the quarterback position, and until he goes out there and plays ... I can’t sit there and tell you what he’s going to do in a game.
“I hope he does well. I hope his scrambling ability is fantastic. I hope he rips off a 4.4 40 when he takes off and runs, but that remains to be seen.”
Boise State has not made Bachmeier available to the media, but his coaches and teammates provided some insight into who he is on and off the field.
He’s a student of the game
When Jeff Schmedding joined Boise State’s defensive coaching staff in January, he often put in long hours in his office at the Bleymaier Football Center.
As the weeks went by, Schmedding realized he wasn’t the only one working overtime.
“Great quarterbacks study the game, and I remember when I first got here, (Hank) was in the office all the time,” Schmedding said. “... That told me off the bat this was really important to him.”
Those extended hours watching film and studying the playbook helped Bachmeier win the starting job over redshirt sophomore Chase Cord. And he’s made huge strides from spring ball to fall camp.
“I take my hat off to him. It’s not an easy offense to learn,” Boise State offensive coordinator Zak Hill said. “He came in and really drilled it with the film and the different ways that he studies and put himself in this position.”
Bachmeier had a “girl back home” who would quiz him about the playbook on the phone, Hill said.
“His game has gone to another level from spring to now,” wide receiver CT Thomas said.
He’s got a ‘goofy’ side
The adjective came up more than once when teammates were asked to describe Bachmeier as a person.
Goofy in a good way, they said.
“Hank is a goofy kid and he doesn’t take himself too seriously,” senior safety Kekoa Nawahine said. “It’s nice to be around. It’s refreshing with someone that’s like that, that just has a good time regardless of the situation and is good at just being himself around everybody.”
Bachmeier’s relaxed nature keeps him from getting rattled in the pocket, too.
“He feels really comfortable with us,” senior left guard John Molchon said. “He knows to not only play confident, which takes preparation, but to play loose and still be his goofy self.
“It’s kind of one of those things that it takes time to build a relationship and he’s not all serious. He has some looseness to him while still being super focused.”
He can carry a tune
By now, most fans know senior nose tackle Sonatane Lui is a talented musician. Lui has a rich, smooth singing voice and also can play the guitar, ukulele and piano.
But Lui’s got some competition for the spotlight in the locker room.
“There will be times when I’m going through the locker room and I’ll just be like: ‘Who is singing over there?’” Lui said. “And then it’s Hank and I’m like: ‘Oh, OK. You’re fine, I guess.’ He doesn’t have a bad voice.”
Bachmeier’s new teammates have taken a liking to their new crooner.
“Hank is a funny guy,” junior running back Robert Mahone said. “He’s one of those guys where he walks in the room and he just brightens your day. He’s always smiling and happy.”
He’s like Rypien — but not
Bachmeier — who is already 20 years old — will be the first true freshman quarterback to start a season opener for the Broncos during the school’s FBS era, which began in 1996.
Just like his predecessor, four-year starter Brett Rypien, Bachmeier is diligent in his game preparation and film study.
Where Rypien was “laser focused” and “very business-like,” Hill said Bachmeier brings “quirkiness” and “sarcasm.”
“He’s always kind of pressing you to see what response you’re going to get,” Hill said. “He’ll be a little sarcastic or work a question in a way where I bet you mean something else by that. ... But he knows when to be serious and lock in as well.”
He has skills you can’t teach
Intelligence and game prep can only get a quarterback so far. There comes a time in every football game when natural instincts and athleticism determine a team’s success just as much as the playbook.
That’s a time when Bachmeier has an advantage.
“Hank’s got really good feet. ... He creates time very well,” Hill said. “I think that’s one of the intangibles that he’s got that you really can’t teach a whole lot, that feel in the pocket. ... He’s just got kind of that gamesmanship to him, which is fun to see.”
San Clemente High coach Jaime Ortiz coached against Bachmeier when he played for Murrieta Valley High four times in the past three years, including twice last year. Ortiz said Bachmeier was able to change plays at the line of scrimmage and when the team would do zone reads, every now and then Bachmeier would keep it and break off a big run.
“He’s a very intelligent player. ... You could tell he had full command of the offense,” Ortiz said. “Whatever he wanted to do, he had full rein. ... He was definitely, by far, the most dynamic quarterback we played all year.”
BOISE STATE AT FLORIDA STATE
When: 10 a.m. MT Saturday
Where: Doak Campbell Stadium (79,560, grass), Tallahassee, Florida
TV: ESPNews (Dave Pasch, Greg McElroy, Tom Luginbill)
Radio: KBOI 670 AM/KTIK 93.1 FM (Bob Behler, Pete Cavender)
Records: Boise State was 10-3 last year; Florida State was 5-7
Series: First meeting
Vegas line: Florida State by 6 1/2
Weather: 89 degrees, light winds and scattered thunderstorms