Are you not entertained?
Bachtelle’s passion, personality help ignite his dream
Published: Tuesday, October 1, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, October 1, 2013 15:10
When Beau Bachtelle was a little boy growing up in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, he liked to pretend he was a gladiator.
He would wake up on Saturday mornings and, with nothing else to do, he would explore the 16-acre property upon which he grew up.
“I used to be really into exploring and stuff when I was a kid,” Bachtelle said. “So I would just go out in the woods and pretend I was a gladiator.”
Since then, Bachtelle – a senior defensive lineman on the football team – has gone from a boy roaming the woods to a gladiator patrolling the field and taking down opposing quarterbacks at UB Stadium.
He grew up in Tuolumne, Calif., a small town with a population of 1,779, according to the 2010 census. He was introduced to football by playing with the other kids in his town.
At first, they played against each other, but as they got older, they played against teams from other small towns in the area. From childhood through high school, Bachtelle played with and against the same kids, and he accredits his competitive nature to playing the familiar competition.
It was Bachtelle’s dream to play Division I football.
“I love the sport I play,” Bachtelle said. “I’m really excited about it. You see me out on the field – I like to run around and yell dumb things and just excite the other players and make it fun for everybody.”
Bachtelle’s excitement was one of the first things head football coach Jeff Quinn noticed about Bachtelle when he watched his game film.
Quinn “loved what I saw on film” because his effort, passion and intensity were clearly evident. It intrigued him enough that he flew Bachtelle out for an official visit to Buffalo.
“This guy is coming here all the way from California and he shows up Friday night for our first evening meal, and I mean impressive – impressive looking, squared away, dressed well,” Quinn said. “You could tell he meant business and this opportunity was something he was very serious about. At the end of the visit, he was sold on us and I was sold on him.”
Bachtelle committed to Buffalo at the end of that weekend.
Quinn also commended Bachtelle for his well-rounded personality. He has become known for his singing and guitar-playing skills and his ability to loosen up his teammates.
Before the season started, Bachtelle was one of a group of players who grew mullets and recorded an ’80s-themed promotion at the Bulls’ media day.
For one of the skits, Bachtelle pulled the hair from the back of his head to his ear and pleaded with the camera “I can’t hair you!”
Buffalo may have been a clear fit when Bachtelle finally got to Buffalo, but there were two years between his high school graduation and the beginning of his career as a Bull.
Following high school, Bachtelle moved just south to play for Modesto Junior College. After growing up in a small town, the move to a more urbanized area was a bit of a shock to Bachtelle, but football helped him through it.
“[Football] was basically my backbone,” Bachtelle said. “It always kind of has been. Seeing new things and being in a whole different world but having [football] there straightened me in the way I needed to go.”
After Bachtelle’s second and final season at Modesto, Scott Pilkey, Buffalo’s director of high school relations, contacted him.
Bachtelle had never heard of Buffalo before, but after researching the school and discovering it had a Division I football program, he decided to give it a shot.
Bachtelle immediately felt like he fit in football-wise and with the other guys on the team. He said it felt like home.
After playing behind Steven Means – who is now with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers – for a season, Bachtelle knew he had a legitimate shot at winning a starting job this past summer. He wasn’t going to let that opportunity slip by.
“I really just put everything I had into making sure that there was no doubt that I would get the spot and succeed and excel in doing what I had to do,” Bachtelle said.
Now, Bachtelle is the starting defensive end on the left side of the field, opposite senior stars defensive end Colby Way and linebacker Khalil Mack.
He relishes the opportunities afforded to him from playing opposite those players, as opposing offenses’ attention is pulled away from him.
Last week against UConn, Bachtelle had a career day, recording two sacks, two tackles for loss and five total tackles.
After a difficult start to the season that saw the defense allow 40 points to Ohio State and 70 to Baylor, the Bulls have allowed only two touchdowns in regulation during the last two games.
Bachtelle has been a major part of that turnaround. He credits his “one at a time mentality” with helping move past the first two games of the season.
Quinn thinks Bachtelle’s attitude is contagious.
“His energy is a welcome addition to our program,” Quinn said. “And I think it’s helped us and it’s helped a lot of the other leadership on our defensive side of the ball and on our team to really understand that that passion is important to have.”
Bachtelle once used his imagination to explore the woods around his childhood house like a gladiator; he now uses his energy to entertain the fans at UB Stadium.
Bachtelle and the football team will take on Eastern Michigan in the Bulls’ homecoming matchup and their first Mid-American Conference game of the season on Saturday at noon at UB Stadium.