BOISE — Boise State coach Bryan Harsin thought he had a pretty good idea who the starting quarterback was going to be heading into Friday’s second scrimmage of fall camp.
“I did until tonight, yeah,” Harsin said. “I kind of thought we were going one way and then I watched some guys perform tonight and it was like ‘OK.’ There you go, these guys are rising up to the challenge. ... I’ve got a pretty good idea of where I’m at, but I’m going to watch the film tonight and see how they do tomorrow.”
Harsin contradicted himself after the scrimmage. He said he’ll have a good idea who it is by early next week, but later said it might not be decided until game week.
The only thing known for sure at this point: the trio of Chase Cord, Hank Bachmeier and Jaylon Henderson all are still in the mix, at least publicly.
“This was really the scrimmage we were waiting to see,” Harsin said. “How did we operate, what did we do, did we fix the issues we had from the first scrimmage. That will tell us a lot more of where we are.
“I thought all those guys tonight, everybody did something. There were a few sacks in there, some decision making to clean up, but we’ll get that worked out this week when we get down to three and then we’ll really hone in on two. It’s time to start making those decisions but our coaches, they have a lot more information and they’ve been breaking it down and looking at it.”
A true quarterback competition is rare here. It’s just the third preseason battle at that spot since Kellen Moore took over in 2008, and it’s just the eighth time since the Broncos moved to the Football Bowl Subdivision in 1996 that they’ve had to replace a starting quarterback from the previous year.
“It’s a tough one because they are pushing each other and it’s not like somebody is running away with it,” Harsin said. “And it’s not because they don’t have the ability to do that, it’s the opportunity. We’re still trying to rep guys and give them their shot. We want to give everybody an opportunity to go out there and compete.”
Harsin was asked if playing two quarterbacks was an option against Florida State and didn’t give the impression that scenario was likely.
“I don’t know on that to be honest. I’ve never really been that way,” Harsin said. “We did it with Montel (Cozart, in 2017) and it worked. There were packages and things like that. But ‘you’re going to get a series, you’ll get the third series,’ I’m not going to say that’s the direction we’re going.”
As for the ultimate factor in making a choice, Harsin said, “It’s all about performance and production, that’s what it comes down to. ... You have to look at that and say ‘Alright, who has the ability to get us in the end zone? Who can operate, who can do it consistently, who can be out there and make corrections when somebody is misaligned?’
“Some things after tonight will probably clear up based off of what I saw out there watching behind the quarterbacks and watching the offense and watching those guys operate.”
Cord has been seen by many as the favorite assuming he was healthy. He suffered a torn ACL midway through last season and has been brought along slowly in fall camp. But Harsin indicated the decision won’t involve his health at this point.
“He took all his reps. There were no limitations on his reps tonight,” Harsin said. “He was out there the whole time and played the whole time, which is good. And he looks good.”
Harsin said he expects a decision to happen sometime next week.
“I don’t know if it will be Wednesday, Tuesday, but I know after we watch this film and tomorrow’s clean up practice, Sunday is a walk-through and making sure we have everything dialed in as we go into the next week, but I would imagine after that we would have a pretty good idea,” Harsin said.
Coaches will spend the rest of the weekend hammering out the depth chart at all positions, and Harsin said they’ll inform players Monday where they stand. The Broncos will start using scout teams on offense and defense Tuesday as they ramp up preparations for Florida State and move into a more traditional week of practice.
The decisions ahead of Tuesday’s practice could include quarterback, but Harsin cautioned it’s no guarantee.
“If it’s not until the next week, then we’ll wait until the next week,” Harsin said.
“That’s not normally been the case for us. We usually have had an idea of what we’re doing. ... We’re getting there but we’re going to make sure we sit down and everybody all has their opinions and things like that and we’ll do it as a staff and make our decision.”