One week ago, Grant Hedrick was nothing more than a backup quarterback. His game days were filled with waving his arms awkwardly from the sidelines, while wearing a headset, in order to relay the plays to the starting quarterback, Joe Southwick.
Then everything changed. Now Hedrick will be counted on to be more than a one-game wonder.
Hedrick entered the game after Southwick broke his right ankle on the Broncos’ first offensive play from scrimmage. He went on to complete 18-of-21 passes for 150 yards and rush for 115 yards and two touchdowns.
Southwick was in the midst of the best season of his Boise State career, but it now appears that the quarterback position is Hedrick’s to lose. Despite Hedrick’s strong performance, there are still challenges ahead for him in his transition into the starting role, according to head coach Chris Petersen.
Hedrick will make his first start as quarterback Friday against Brigham Young University.
“He did a good job,” Petersen said. “Every defense is going to be different that we go against. He’ll be tested in a completely different way this Friday, but he’s taken a lot of reps around here and he answered the bell nicely.”
Boise State has now lost its main leader on offense, in starting quarterback Joe Southwick. Chemistry is always important between the starting quarterback and the receiving core. But redshirt junior wide receiver Matt Miller doesn’t believe Hedrick’s new role changes anything for the Broncos’ offense.
“The good thing is not much is going to change for me on the outside,” Miller said. “Grant is a very capable quarterback, and we don’t have to change much with him. He’s put in the work, and he’s always had that one-step-away mentality.”
The relationship between Miller and Hedrick is also heightened, as the two teammates are also roommates and close friends.
“He’s one of my good friends on the team. We’ve lived together ever since we got here, which is really nice and pretty rare,” Miller said. “He’s got one of the best work ethics on the team.”
Hedrick’s speed was on full display against Nevada, and he may even be quicker than Southwick, who is known as being a duel-threat quarterback. The Broncos will have the luxury of staying rather consistent in their offensive attack because of Hedrick’s ability to run the read-option and pistol formation sets.
“Joe is a good runner, but Grant has that whole different level with his ability to run,” Miller said. “(Grant is) a little quicker than Joe was.”
Rarely can a team improve after losing their starting quarterback, but that’s exactly what Boise State will try to do with Hedrick under center.