As a backup offensive lineman at Arizona, Addison Bachman has learned he has to be ready at any time, even on that rare occasion when a forward pass is coming his way.
Bachman, a senior, saw his first significant and extended playing time against Oregon State on Saturday, subbing for center Kyle Quinn, who went out with a leg injury midway through the third quarter. Quinn’s status for this week won’t be announced until Thursday.
“Addison competed pretty well,” coach Rich Rodriguez said. “Assignment-wise, he was pretty strong.”
And he was in the right spot in the fourth quarter, when a screen pass intended for Tyler Slavin near the line of scrimmage was tipped forward. Bachman, who was downfield to block for the screen, snatched the ball and rumbled a couple of steps for 10 yards on second-and-11 from the OSU 33.
“I was proud of him,” said right tackle Fabbians Ebbele. “I was like, ‘Pitch it back to me, let me house it.’”
Bachman, who arrived at Arizona in the spring of 2011 as a transfer from Citrus College in Glendora, Calif., played in five games last season, able to fill at guard and center. He could get his first career start this week at Stanford.
He always plays with the memory of his older brother, Ryan, close at hand. Ryan died at 22 in a surfing accident. Addison was a high school sophomore at the time.
Tattoos on his upper right arm honor Ryan’s memory, and he will write “plyn for Ry” — playing for Ryan — on his wristbands.
“He’s attached to me,” Addison said. “It’s good. He’s got my back. He is with me all the time.”
Bachman was a popular interview subject after Tuesday morning’s practice. Here is some of what he told reporters, including lots of talk about his one career reception:
On how he thinks he did against Oregon State:
“Last week, given the circumstances, jumping right there, I think I did a pretty good job. Kyle has big shoes to fill, though. He’s the leader of the O-line. I just went in there and did my best. You just gotta play fast. That’s all you gotta do. You can’t worry about anything else. This week, Kyle is banged up. Stanford is pretty basic on their defense, so it’s not too bad to study.”
On how it felt to make that catch last week:
“You know what, it was pretty crazy. We’re always taught to run to the ball. I was actually looking right and the safety had dropped. I turned left and heard the ball tipped. I took two steps and caught it. I had a couple of seconds to run to it, and the first thing I was thinking about was to make sure it wasn’t going to be a negative play. The coaches teach that if a D-line tips it, knock it down so it’s not negative. I was thinking the same thing. But I noticed I was downfield. … It’s an O-lineman’s dream right there.”
On probably thinking he could score:
“I was. I got tackled from behind. Right when I caught it, the first thing I thought of was ‘double trouble’ (he mimics getting two arms over the ball). I did not want to fumble it.”
On the reaction from his teammates:
“It was pretty crazy, especially all the other O-linemen. Literally, that’s what we fall asleep thinking about. … It was a good time.”
On how he has handled not playing much at Arizona until last week:
“I’m just happy I’m here. I went to JUCO, and I came here and I knew Kyle was going to be a tremendous athlete and we were going to have to battle. He’s so keen and he knows the offense so well, so I’ve just been learning from him. Once it’s my opportunity, it’s my opportunity. There hasn’t been any frustration.”
On what he has learned from Quinn:
“It’s how he reads the defense. He does such a good job pre-snap of checking out what’s happening, seeing what is coming from the field and what’s not. Even in film, just seeing if the linebackers are on their toes or not on the toes — just learning who is coming and who is not.”
On how far the offensive line has come in terms of conditioning:
“Coach always says that we have to be the fastest team, the most-conditioned team, play harder than anyone in the nation. In the spring, it was hard to stay positive because the running was so crazy, but now you really, really thank the coaches because you can definitely see a difference. Even in the second quarter, we tire defenses.”