The University at Buffalo held its annual UB’s Got Talent Show on Tuesday and Beau Bachtelle broke out his guitar and hit all the proper notes to a Bon Jovi selection. Jeff Quinn, for one, was blown away.
“He … brought … the … house … down … baby,’’ said Quinn, pointing his finger at Bachtelle for emphasis.
Bachtelle had plenty of time to work on his guitar licks last season, his first at UB after transferring from Modesto (Calif.) Junior College; he played sparingly behind Steven Means at defensive end. Now after some early competition from junior college transfer Tedroy Lynch, the job of replacing Means, a four-year starter and Tampa Bay Buccaneers draft pick, belongs to Bachtelle.
“Beau probably had the best summer of any of our players,” Quinn said. “He’s a real high-energy guy. Solid, high-character guy.”
Said UB defensive line coach Jappy Oliver: “If we started tomorrow, Beau would start.”
Known as a run-stuffer, the 6-foot-5, 273-pound Bachtelle rotated along the defensive line last season while appearing in all 12 games. He recorded 11 tackles – three solo – and had his biggest game against Kent State with five tackles including a pair of solos.
“That’s really big shoes to fill,” Bachtelle said of Means, the Grover Cleveland product. “It was good to have him around all season and shadow him around and learn from him. When spring and summer time rolled around I looked at it like, ‘This is my time to step up, I have big shoes to fill.’ I’m really going to take this position and bring my essence to it and do what I have to do and make it my own and dominate.’’
Bachtelle said he learned things from watching Means, such as playing with more speed.
“He was really good at that and that was something that I lacked,” Bachtelle said. “I used to watch him in practice and everything he did: his movements, his wiper moves. It was good for me to pick apart what he did. I’d go in and watch film and see what he did and do what he would do. It would help me develop my moves.”
Bachtelle was penciled in as the starter at defensive end opposite Colby Way after spring practice but Lynch was given a long look to start because his reputation as a pass rusher was well deserved.
While at Lackawanna (Pa.) Junior College, Lynch made 28 tackles – 13 for loss – with 9.5 sacks, and one forced fumble. As a high school senior at Mechanicsburg High School, he made 136 tackles (17 for loss) and added four sacks.
“He didn’t have a lot of bad habits that I had to fix so I was happy with that,” Oliver said of Lynch. “It was just getting him to play the run tougher. Coming from a JC they probably turned him loose and let him rush the passer all the time because he has some acceleration and quicks. Probably never played the run that tough and probably wasn’t asked to. There’s more technique involved in playing the run and that’s where we’re working hard with him and getting him to buy in.”
Meanwhile, Lynch is learning from Bachtelle how to play better against the run. Lynch picked up how Bachtelle steps with his right foot first while playing the run and he started practicing the technique this week.
“I’m OK at playing against the run but not as good as him yet,” Lynch said. “In defense, you have to learn a lot and I’m learning from Coach Jap and Beau, and they’re teaching me a lot. I’m pretty solid on the pass so I’m not too worried about that. I have to watch him do what he does.”
Lynch will likely see minutes in passing situations on third down.
“He’s new to our program, but he’s not new to the game,” Quinn said. “He has a tremendous upside but he’s learning, growing, and developing in our system. Jappy has done a great job bringing him along, and he’ll be afforded an opportunity to compete. He’s got to show and demonstrate consistency in his assignments and his technique.”