There are requirements to play quarterback at Boise State that go beyond arm strength and the ability to dissect a defense. Topping that list is mental and physical toughness in the heat of a game or a battle for playing time.
These days in college football, the transfer portal is a popular destination for quarterbacks who don’t win a starting job, but that isn’t the mentality No. 14 Boise State (6-0) is searching for in the leader of its offense.
“If you want to be the starting quarterback, you better not have the mindset that you’re going to come in here and if you don’t get it you’re going to transfer,” said Boise State coach Bryan Harsin, who was a quarterback for the Broncos from 1995 to 1999. “That doesn’t even kind of set you up for success because you’ve always got that in the back of your mind, ‘Well if that doesn’t work out, I’ve got plan B.’ You’ve got plan A, period. If you’ve got plan B, you’ll be the backup.”
Freshman starter Hank Bachmeier exited Saturday’s game against Hawaii in the second quarter after taking a shot to his left hip and midsection on a scramble. Despite crumpling to the ground near the bench after being helped off the field and trips to the injury tent and Idaho Sports Medicine Institute, he slowly made his way around the field in the Broncos’ postgame ritual of greeting fans with a high five and a word of thanks.
Other than alluding to him not being in the black on the color-coded injury report, which signifies a season-ending injury, Harsin didn’t have an update Monday on Bachmeier’s availability for Saturday’s game at BYU (8:15 p.m., ESPN2). Harsin did, however, sing the praises of the rest of the guys in the quarterbacks room.
“I just think that room’s a lot tougher than people give them credit for,” Harsin said. “We don’t have just one guy. We played all three quarterbacks in this last game, and the reason why we did was because they earned it.”
Bachmeier didn’t return to Saturday’s game, but backups Chase Cord and Jaylon Henderson stepped in and the offense didn’t miss a beat. Cord, a redshirt sophomore, finished 12-of-18 for 175 yards and three touchdown passes. Henderson, a redshirt senior, went 6-of-10 for 85 yards and a score.
“We’ve got confidence in all of our quarterbacks,” Boise State wide receiver John Hightower said Saturday night. “It’s nice to see all of them make plays because they make plays in practice also, so we already know what they’re capable of.”
Cord appeared in four games last season before suffering a torn ACL in October, which he wasn’t fully cleared from until near the beginning of fall camp. His mobility doesn’t seem to have been affected, though, and in five appearances this season he has completed 20-of-35 passes for 295 yards and six touchdowns. He has yet to throw an interception.
On Saturday, Harsin was particularly impressed with a short throw Cord made after being forced out of the pocket at the end of the third quarter. He flicked the ball to freshman running back George Holani, who turned that into an 8-yard touchdown.
“That might have been the fifth read in the progression,” Harsin said. “You hardly ever get past two, but he just has the awareness that he gets forced that way and he flips it over there and it’s a safe throw.”
Henderson transferred in last offseason from Trinity Valley Community College in Texas. He appeared in three games last year, and Saturday marked his third appearance this season. He led the team on a second-half scoring drive, which also ended with a touchdown pass to Holani.
“I think Chase showed what he’s capable of doing when he came in and played. I thought Jaylon did, too,” Harsin said.
Boise State opened the season as one of the least-penalized teams in the country, committing just 18 through the first four games combined. In the past two, the Broncos have been flagged 21 times.
According to cfbstats.com, Boise State is committing an average of 6.5 penalties a game, which ranks No. 90 in the country.
Hawaii was bit by the penalty bug early in Saturday’s game. The Rainbow Warriors were penalized eight times in the first quarter alone, and they finished with 10 for 88 yards. Boise State was hit with six flags in the first half and finished with 11 for 95 yards.
“I worry about the pre-snap penalties,” Harsin said. “If you start getting too focused on those other penalties, you can slow guys down a little bit. There’s a cut, there’s a holding call, things like that. I can argue that all day long.”
The penalties that bother Harsin are false starts, personal fouls and those committed on special teams. On Saturday, the Broncos were called for two false starts, two offsides penalties and one unsportsmanlike conduct.
Special teams penalties have been an issue all season.
“Usually, that’s just poor effort or poor technique,” Harsin said. “We spend a lot of time on technique and we talk a lot about effort and we make sure that’s demanded out there in practice, so when that comes up that’s bothersome.”
Yotes stay at No. 8 in NAIA poll
After its 47-14 victory over Carroll College on Saturday, the College of Idaho remained at No. 8 in the NAIA Coaches’ Poll, which was released Monday.
Quarterback Darius-James Peterson threw for a season-high 356 yards and four touchdowns, and the Yotes (5-0) finished their road trip to Helena, Montana, with a program-record 33 first downs.
Running back Nick Calzaretta racked up 101 yards and a touchdown on the ground, while wide receiver Connor Richardson added a season-high nine catches for 147 yards and two touchdowns.
The Yotes play Montana Tech at 1 p.m. Saturday in Caldwell.