Trailing 24-6 at the start of the second quarter to FSU, Boise fans could have been forgiven for longing for the departed Brett Rypien. By the end of the game, they were ready to crown Hank Bachmeier the second coming at the quarterback position.
“What I found out about our quarterback today is that he wanted to win so bad, he found a way to get that done” Broncos head coach Bryan Harsin enthused.
Since the freshman out of Murrieta Valley, California committed to Boise back in December 2018, Broncos coaches, players, and fans are finding out plenty about Hank Bachmeier. He showed them a little bit more to be excited about in a 14-7 win over Marshall last night.
The 4* recruit was one of the biggest coups for the Boise State program for a number of years. They fended off competition from multiple SEC teams including Ole Miss, Georgia and Tennessee to land Bachmeier. PAC-12 offers came from Cal, and Colorado, which was the very first offer he received.
Where Boise had high hopes for him, Hank had high hopes for the program.
Not only did Boise offer him the potential to start as a freshman, he believed the program offers much more.
“My goal for them is to compete for a National Championship when I get there, and I know they have the program to do it” he told 24/7 Sports.
After winning the starting job over Chase Cord, he realised the potential to start as a freshman. In doing so, he became the first true freshman to start a season opener for the Broncos in the FBS era. Not content with that record, he went on to throw for 407 yards, a record for a first time starting Boise quarterback.
Bachmeier is no stranger to record setting. His high school passing touchdown totals set a CIF Southern Section record. He left Murrieta High School with over 13,000 passing yards, 2000 rushing yards, a 67% completion percentage, and 156:30 touchdown to interception ratio. His performances led to him being voted Southwest League Player of the Year multiple times, including his senior year.
It was no wonder that he was ranked the #29 overall prospect in California by Rivals. They also had Bachmeier ranked as the #6 Pro-Style quarterback in the recruiting class.
The buzz around Bachmeier isn’t based simply on numbers.
In the FSU game he showed the resilience and toughness needed to be successful. Against a ferocious Seminoles defence, he took a battering early on as FSU tallied 5 sacks and 8 hurries. Some players would shrink away but Bachmeier toughed it out. It’s a trait that he’s been building a reputation for since he walked in to the building. He enhanced that reputation last night in the win over Marshall. On several plays, he stayed focused under pressure and made the pass before taking a big hit.
Over the course of two games, he’s taken more hits than some quarterbacks take in a season.
“The No. 1 thing is toughness” coach Harsin said in describing his quarterback’s performance in week 1. Offensive co-ordinator, Zak Hill, has spoken multiple times about Bachmeier’s toughness. He’s also commented on the leadership that Bachmeier brings to the team, even as a freshman.
That leadership was on display on Saturday versus FSU. He showed it on the touchdown drive that pulled the Broncos within a score. He showed it on the touchdown drive that gave the Broncos the lead in the 4th quarter. In converting 8 of 12 third downs, he frequently showed the ability to lead.
His ability to lead is testament to his focus and preparation. Bachmeier has impressed coaches with how quickly he has mastered the offence.
“Hank’s a very smart guy…he’s got that ability already to play at a high level. But really what I was most impressed about was how quickly he learned it” Hill told the Idaho Statesman.
The ability to play at a high level is evident, even on his high school tape.
Bachmeier is equally comfortable dropping back to throw, or rolling out of the pocket to throw on the run.
When dropping back, he shows good vision down the field, and a good arm, to hit receivers in stride. Even at the high school level, he shows toughness to hang in the pocket until the receivers are open, getting the ball out just in time before absorbing the hit. If the play breaks down, he looks comfortable escaping pressure and gaining yardage on the ground.
At the college level, that won’t be as easy, as evidenced by negative rushing yardage in the FSU game. However, he showed against Marshall that he can be a rushing threat. As time ticked down towards the end of the second half the first half, Bachmeier kept the ball on a quarterback run and flashed further toughness on the goal line dive for a tying touchdown.
What was impressive in the FSU game was how quickly he adapted to the game situation.
Having been hammered for large parts of the first half, Bachmeier managed to get the ball out of his hands quicker in the second half. On his touchdown throw, he got the ball out of his hands quickly, and lofted ball to the back of the end zone. The ball was placed perfectly where only the wide receiver could get it, removing the cornerback’s ability to make a play on the ball.
He’s still not the finished product by any means. After all, he’s a true freshman playing in the first games of his career. The coaches have spoke of improving his decision making, which has been described as “up and down”. He made some questionable decisions in last night’s game against Marshall. On a busted 4th and 2 play in the 2nd quarter, he tossed the ball in to the air as he headed to the ground, risking the chance of an interception. He put himself at risk scrambling on a 3rd and 19, failing to safely give himself up on the play. These are some of the things you need to iron out as you grow as a player.
Last night’s game against Marshall lacked the impressive numbers of the week 1 win over FSU. Nevertheless, there’s a buzz around Bachmeier and a belief that he can deliver great things for the Broncos.
Feature Image Credit: USA TODAY Sports