Posted on August 29, 2011 at 8:34 AM
Monday, Aug 29 at 8:37 AM
Monday, August 29, 2011.
This is the one that’s asked a lot as the rather large 2011 Boise State opener looms five days away: Who’s going to start at wide receiver? The answer from Chris Petersen usually carries the “it doesn’t matter” theme. Because the Broncos are going to play about seven wideouts, and they’ll change with different formations. The question that looms larger—and one that will be answered Saturday night in the Georgia Dome—is, “Who makes plays and who doesn’t make plays?” Tyler Shoemaker has made plays in the past. Plenty of them. Kirby Moore made plays as a true freshman. Chris Potter and Mitch Burroughs started to make plays last year. But what about Geraldo Boldewijn? Well, that’s what separated Boldewijn and Aaron Burks last season. The Dutchman had only 11 catches, but spun some over-the-middle dandies in there.
One guy who showed a knack for making plays during fall camp was Matt Miller. The redshirt freshman from Helena, MT, has been playing catch-up since his first fall camp at Boise State a year ago ended with a ruptured Achilles tendon. Miller has made an impression this month—it’ll be very interesting to see what his role is in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff. Miller fancies himself as a deep threat, and he very well may be. But he’s wearing No. 2, and in time he could be a clone of the player who made oh-so-many Spiderman grabs in that uniform, Austin Pettis. Miller has some thickness to him at 6-3, 213 pounds. Pettis was listed at 6-3, 203 last season.
The backdrop of Boise State’s 48-13 loss to Georgia in 2005 is impossible to ignore for Bronco fans. And so it will remain until kickoff Saturday. The coin toss will be handled by former Bulldog Heisman Trophy winner Herschel Walker…and former BSU quarterback Jared Zabransky, he of the fateful six first half turnovers at UGA. Certainly the focus will be as much on the 2007 Fiesta Bowl as on that long day in Athens. One other note: Georgia made the short jaunt to Atlanta Friday to go through a Georgia Dome “dress rehearsal” for the Boise State game. Quarterback Aaron Murray tweeted that the Dawgs wore their Nike Pro Combat uniforms during the run-through.
In case you missed it, Boise State has 30 percent of SI.com’s top 10 non-BCS players in a photo gallery. No. 1 is Kellen Moore, No. 4 is Nate Potter, and No. 8 is Billy Winn. Potter’s picture displays the meanest face I’ve ever seen on the affable Timberline High grad. Overall, the Mountain West had, well, 70 percent of the non-BCS top 10, as the Bronco trio was joined by TCU linebacker Tank Carder (No. 2), San Diego State quarterback Ryan Lindley (No. 7), SDSU running back Ronnie Hillman (No. 9), and New Mexico linebacker Carmen Messina (No. 10).
Fans are still 3½ weeks from seeing the Broncos on the blue turf. When the home opener finally arrives September 24, the guest list might not include Damarius Johnson. The NCAA all-purpose yardage record-holder has been suspended indefinitely by Tulsa following allegations that his girlfriend, while working at Macy’s, charged him only 34 cents for $1,283 worth of merchandise. She also sold him over $1,500 in product for less than $13 on another occasion, police say. In the Broncos’ narrow 28-21 win at Tulsa in 2009, Johnson scored the first touchdown of the game on a 53-yard pass from G.A. Kinne. Johnson was held to six yards on three catches the rest of the way. He did break some nice runs on reverses, though.
While Boise State is five days from Opening Night, Idaho is just three, as Bowling Green comes into the Kibbie Dome Thursday for a rematch of the 2009 Humanitarian Bowl. Quarterback Brian Reader watched that one from the sideline as Nathan Enderle rallied the Vandals past the Falcons 43-42 in Bronco Stadium. Idaho offensive coordinator Steve Axman feels Reader is ready to do those types of things this year. "Brian's really had an excellent preseason camp, which doesn't surprise me," Axman said in the Lewiston Morning Tribune "He's really been a good leader for us—he’s the kind of guy you want to be the leader of your offense." One Reader rally was huge in 2009, as he marched the Vandals 67 yards to the winning touchdown at San Jose State with 1:10 left in a 29-25 victory.
A guy with four years of NFL experience does carry some weight with player personnel people looking to fill some needs—even in the week before the final cutdown. So it wasn’t too late for free agent safety Gerald Alexander, who has been picked up by the Miami Dolphins. The former Boise State star was a second-round draft pick of the Detroit Lions in 2007, then was traded to the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2009. Alexander had two stints with the Jags last season and was released twice. He finished the season with the Carolina Panthers.
The Western Idaho Fair is over, and so is the Boise Hawks’ annual Western Idaho Fair road trip. The Hawks went 4-7 on the 11-day swing, capping it with a 9-2 win last night at Salem-Keizer. Boise busted it open with a three-run sixth inning, two of the runs on Reggie Golden’s fourth home run of the season. Oliver Zapata and Paul Hoilman also homered for the Hawks. It was Hoilman’s 15th homer, one short of Russ Canzler’s club single season record set in 2006.
The bad news out of the trip: the Hawks have clinched a third straight losing season. The good news: they’re still alive for the Northwest League Playoffs, thanks to the first half/second half standings format. Hopefully you can follow this—Tri-City won the first half in the East Division, and the Dust Devils lead the second half by one game with five to play. If Tri-City wins the second half, the East Division’s other spot in the postseason goes to the team with the next-best overall record. And the Hawks have pulled even with Spokane in that department at 32-39.
Brian Scott’s warmup for the Great Clips 300 in Atlanta Saturday night, the one that will feature Scott’s No. 11 “Boise State car,” was productive Friday night. The Boise High grad logged a 10th place finish at the Food City 250 at Bristol Motor Speedway in a race won by Kyle Busch. It was Scott’s fourth top 10 finish of the season. He goes into this week’s event ranked ninth in Nationwide Series points.
This Day In Sports…August 29, 1998:
The New York Yankees beat the Seattle Mariners 11-6 for their 98th win in 134 tries, clinching a post-season spot the earliest in the team’s storied history. The Yankees would win 114 games in ’98, the most in American League history until the M’s eclipsed that in 2001. The Yanks would add another 11 in the post-season for a total of 125—a major league record.
(Tom Scott hosts the Scott Slant segment Sunday nights at 10:30PM on KTVB’s Sunday Sports Extra and anchors five sports segments each weekday on 93.1 The Ticket. He also served as color commentator on KTVB’s telecasts of Boise State football for 14 seasons.)