Boise State true freshman quarterback Hank Bachmeier doesn't appear to be phased by anything. In his first two games Bachmeier has taken hit after hit and bounced up to lead the Broncos to a pair of hard fought wins.

Sometimes the hits are because he waited too long to throw the football, sometimes because he chose to run and not slide. The hits are all a part of football but Saturday night against Marshall there was one play in particular from which Bachmeier was lucky to have bounced back.

It's a play I haven't really seen anyone take the officials to school on and my question is why not?

The play happened when a Marshall player grabbed the face mask on Bachmeier's helmet. The headgear came flying off and Bachmeier was left standing, defenseless with no helmet.

In that split second, another Marshall defender tackled Bachmeier whose head bounced off the turf. Bachmeier could have died!

Twenty years ago I watched as Paul Reyna, then a freshman with Boise State, hit the back of his head on the turf just as Bachmeier did. Reyna however was wearing his helmet but as we know, he later went into a coma and died.

Ironically, Reyna's family was in Boise at a game for the first time since that tragic incident and his mom was an honorary captain of the team.

Reyna was all I could think of as I saw the back of Bachmeier's helmet-less head bounce off the turf. Yes there was a flag for a face mask but why wasn't there a flag for Bachmeier being tackled and thrown to the turf when he was obviously defenseless with no helmet?

Officials could have easily tacked on unnecessary roughness, a personal foul, anything but ignore the fact a player with no helmet had just dodged what could have been serious if not deadly consequences.

I realize it all happened in a split second and the officials may not have been able to prevent Bachmerier from being tackled but they could have sent a message just as they do for targeting.

This time it all worked out. Marshall was penalized, Bachmerier was okay but by not tacking on another 15 yards and making it very clear a player without a helmet is not fair game and if that player has the ball in his hands, the play is dead, officials missed a teaching opportunity.

Safety in football has never been as much of an emphasis and the officials in Saturdays BSU-Marshall game missed an opportunity to send a message for the next time there and there will be a next time.



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