We are more than a day away from Saturday’s disastrous showing from Boise State. And the 34-17 loss to Oregon State wasn’t just a few missed chances, but rather a hard-to-understand disconnect between how the Broncos trained and how they played.
And the biggest scenario, of course, is the quarterback.
You know how it happened. Starter Hank Bachmeier turned the ball over three times in the first 20 minutes of the game and was benched for redshirt rookie Taylen Green, who provided some nice highlights – namely a 74-yard touchdown run .
On Monday, head coach Andy Avalos, defensive coordinator Spencer Danielson and offensive coordinator Tim Plow spoke to the media. Let’s see if we can answer general questions first, then reader inquiries.
Why did Boise State look so baffled?
It’s really disconcerting. Even above the decision to bench Bachmeier, the fact that this Boise State team — which fired 17 starters last season — looked like a young team seeing its first shots under the lights is hard to fathom.
To their credit, the coaches took a lot of the blame for not preparing their guys. But they also offered some possible explanations. Avalos said the Broncos need to be confident in their practice readiness. Well, duh. Why they didn’t trust him on Saturday is hard to understand.
Plow, however, had the better explanation.
“It’s 2022 and these guys have a lot to do. True, false or indifferent (they were) probably reading what you were writing, probably listening to what people were saying,” he said. “It comes to a situation where they want to prove everyone wrong.
“I think they were playing with anxiety. Trying to prove people wrong. “Hey, let’s show you how awesome we are.” This creates errors that we hadn’t seen.
What the hell happened to Hank Bachmeier and where does he go from here?
During the first six plays, Plow said he realized, “Hey, that’s not Hank. That’s not what I saw.
He said he communicated that pretty quickly to Avalos and told the head coach, “Before this thing gets out of control, we might want to put the young kid on and not let this thing get too out of control. .”
Avalos said Bachmeier was out of rhythm. That may well be said. Bachmeier was not advancing in his progressions. He threw the ball into double coverage. His aim was off. Again and again. He just didn’t look like the same quarterback we saw last season — or even what we observed at fall camp.
Reasons for this beyond, ‘Well, it was just a night off,’ would be silly. But it’s a flashpoint for Bachmeier, the fourth-year starter who entered 2022 with lofty expectations.
Either he pushes through adversity, beats Green in practice this week and gets back on track…or Green becomes the starter.
“He’s going to get a chance to respond,” Plow said. “If he responds positively, that could be the biggest lesson he’s ever learned. If he can’t respond positively, then obviously things will keep going.
When will Boise State name a starter?
It would likely be in Boise State’s interest to delay an announcement for as long as possible.
If the Broncos can get New Mexico guessing before Friday’s game, that’s a plus. But you would have to think they will have an internal decision made when they board the plane for Albuquerque on Thursday.
Plow said the Broncos need to give Bachmeier a chance to respond in practice to show he’s back to the level he showed in fall camp. On that same note, Boise State also needs to give Green the opportunity to get enough reps with the first-team offense to fully assess the competition.
On Monday, Avalos said, Bachmeier and Green split reps with 1s.
Something to keep in mind: The Broncos should win their next three games: at New Mexico, against UT Martin and at UTEP. It’s reasonable to assume that whoever starts on Saturday looks really good and keeps the starting job for a while.
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Was it the worst they could have played or were there unrealistic expectations during fall camp? It looked like nothing had gone well for Boise State. – Scott L.
I would say a bit of both. It’s hard to imagine that things could have gotten worse. I mean, the Broncos committed five turnovers, benched their quarterback, had no sacks, and were repeatedly beaten over the top.
While I mean the expectations were unrealistic, they weren’t too crazy. Members of the media – myself included – weren’t predicting them to go undefeated and be in a NY6 bowl.
But did we think BSU had a good shot at winning a Mountain West title? Sure. And, on paper, they did. A quarterback starting four years back. Nine defensive starters return. A strengthened offensive line. Everything made sense.
And, who knows, maybe Oregon State is a 10-win team. And maybe Boise State goes 9-2 or 8-3 from now on and enters the Mountain West title game.
What happened ? Okay, a real question. Does this team have an identity? -Holden M.
Well, in short, no. I mean, it’s hard to watch Saturday’s game and think the Broncos have a strength, let alone an identity.
I believe in a perfect world they would like to be a high intensity team that is tough to play against. That’s what they love all offseason. Against Oregon State, the Broncos didn’t inspire confidence in either area.
In the postgame presser, Andy appeared to outplay RB coach Keith Bhonapha for the decision to rest Holani so much against Oregon State. Tim Plow seemed to think Holani would be missing for every snap. Is there a certain disconnect between this young staff and, in some positions, new, to work? -Jordan M.
What I heard was that Holani was cramping, like a lot of Boise State, and that’s why he was off the field for certain periods.
But it was strange. Just days after Plow said Boise State never wanted to take Holani onto the field, it was rookie Ashton Jeanty who took back-to-back snaps with the Broncos inside the 10.
And, heck, it probably won’t even be brought up if Jeanty isn’t fumbling on the goal line.
But no, I don’t believe there is a disconnect between the coaches – from what I can see.
Why was Holani so extinct? Nine yards? Leading the running back 16 yards? – Brad M.
Mainly because he had no space to operate. Some of his best runs of the night turned what should have been a three-yard loss into a single-yard loss.
But, still, a running back of Holani’s caliber should do better than 13 carries for 9 yards.
Which brings us to the offensive line…
There was the worst line play I’ve seen on both sides of the ball at Corvallis. What is happening here? – John T.
Yeah, that was hard to watch. Let’s start with the offensive line.
I came into Saturday’s game thinking the O-Line would be a force. You had left tackle John Ojukwu back, Washington State moved Cade Beresford to right tackle, and center Kekaniokoa Holomalia-Gonzalez returned to the field after missing all of 2021.
But they created little push for the running backs and gave the two quarterbacks no time. The absence of right guard Ben Dooley did not help matters.
“We didn’t run our combinations on our blocks in some running patterns like we had practiced,” Avalos said.
It’s easier to cut the defensive line a little looser. Although Boise State had no sack and only had three quarterback hits, Oregon State’s OL is one of the best in the Pac-12.
But still, the Broncos’ EDGE need to step up. George Tarlas didn’t register a tackle and Demitri Washington had just four. This place must represent more production.