Boise State’s Bachmeier, Sears on even footing in early stages of quarterback race

Boise State quarterback Hank Bachmeier (19) looks for an open receiver during spring practice on March 12 at Albertsons Stadium in Boise.

B.J. RAINS [email protected]

BOISE — Hank Bachmeier knows the deal. He’s already been part of it for two years.

Despite being the starting quarterback for each of the past two seasons, Bachmeier find himself in an open competition with Jack Sears thanks in part to the arrival of a new coaching staff.

Bachmeier had to battle Chase Cord in 2019 and Sears in 2020 for the job.

“I learned very quickly since my freshman year that nothing is guaranteed and anything can happen,” Bachmeier said Monday. “That’s how it’s been since I’ve been here, so learning from my past experiences, it’s never a set deal. I’ve been fortunate to be the starter here the last two years but I’m starting from ground zero again. Every single day you are starting from ground zero, that’s the way I approach it.”

Sears played great in his one full game last season, going 17 for 20 for 282 yards and three touchdown passes at Air Force. He started the following week against BYU with Bachmeier out for a second straight game due to COVID-19, but suffered a concussion early in the game and didn’t return.

Many expected Sears to push Bachmeier for playing time when he returned, but that never happened due to two games being canceled and Sears then missing the final two games after contracting COVID-19.

Both would have probably competed for the job this spring and into fall camp anyway, but the addition of new coach Andy Avalos and new offensive coordinator Tim Plough has the competition feeling more genuine.

“I think that’s every quarterback’s expectation,” Sears said of being the starter. “We come here to compete and we come here to win and to perform at a high level.

“Hank and I go out each day and want to make each other better and see each other succeed. That’s what it is all about. We want to help this team out however we can and we need high level quarterback play to do so, so that’s our goal.”

Sears, a USC transfer, said he never considered transferring to seek playing time elsewhere. The arrival of a new staff and a fresh start probably helped him with that.

Bachmeier suffered two different injuries as a freshman that forced him to miss six games in 2019 and he was kept out of two games due to COVID-19 last season. But he’s 11-2 as a starter and has passed for 3,029 yards and 15 touchdowns to eight interceptions in 13 career games.

“I am trying to grow in a lot of areas still,” Bachmeir said. “I think just getting more comfortable being in college, this is my third year coming up and it goes by really fast. I’m just trying to get comfortable running this offense. It’s my third offense in three years, different offensive coordinators, so getting used to what they want.

“It’s a little different, but the experience is the biggest thing for me. Growing and learning from your experiences from messing up, and I still mess up a lot but I’m trying to minimize those.”

For Sears he’s just hoping to build off what he did in the limited playing time last year. He clearly looked the part against Air Force — but had his opportunity derailed against BYU by a questionable helmet to helmet hit that left him with a concussion.

Throw in the two game cancelations and getting COVID-19 late in the year and it was a mostly frustrating year for the former four-star prospect.

“My journey so far in college football has been learning how to deal with adversity and overcome it,” Sears said. “It was great getting out there in the orange and blue and play at a high level, so it was a tough pill to swallow to be knocked out for a couple weeks but I’m excited to be out there this spring and playing ball again.

“It was obviously tough feeling like I was starting to get rolling again and playing football. You always want to be out there playing and performing but I have to make the best of the situation and find ways to improve from it.”

Avalos and Plough have said both players are starting with a clean slate and will have an equal chance to win the starting job. But regardless of who wins it and starts against UCF in the season opener Sept. 4 in Orlando, history says the other guy will still get his chance.

Both hope to be ready for whatever happens.

“I’ve had a lot of adversity as far as getting injured, COVID, all this stuff happening and things can change in an instant,” Bachmeier said. “You always have to be ready and always have to prepare every single day.”

The battle between Bachmeier and Sears figures to be the dominant storyline with the Broncos from now until the first offensive snap against UCF. And both guys know it.

“People love to talk about the quarterbacks,” Sears said with a smile.