Wednesday, May 15, 2013.
Boise State’s 2011 recruiting class may have taken another hit last week with the departures of Sam Ukwuachu and Jimmy Laughrea, but the Broncos’ current landscape has to be considered separately. Tom Luginbill and Craig Haubert at ESPN.com take a look at recruiting among five top non-BCS schools and Notre Dame, and they have Boise State “trending up.”
Writes the duo: “The luxury of redshirting every recruit every year allows Boise State to develop players at a much slower pace, which really enhances the overall depth and talent of its roster. Staying out of the Big East allows the Broncos to maintain their current, very successful process. This is a huge factor. Remember, they only have to have good enough players to win their conference, which gives them a shot once a year against BCS conference foes.” That last item is a thinly-veiled dig at that good ol’ strength-of-schedule.
Two Boise State opponents are on the list—Luginbill and Haubert have Fresno State trending up based on its new summer bridge program for incoming freshmen, and they have BYU in neutral due to the continuous unknown of the effect of returning LDS missionaries. But, they note, “the maturity that system helps create gives the Cougars a leg up over time. This is especially true with QBs such as (former Eagle Mustang) Tanner Mangum from the 2012 class. Expect the Cougars to be a thorn in college football's side for years to come.” Mangum is set to join BYU next year after his mission is complete.
Former Boise State standout Titus Young pleaded not guilty yesterday to all eight counts he faces, three of them felonies, at his arraignment in Orange County, CA. The three felonies are all burglary charges—the misdemeanors range from assault and battery of a peace officer to resisting arrest. Two of the burglary charges are new, felonies based on intent after he twice took items from a Chevron convenience store in Laguna Hills in the hours before his original double-arrest episode a week and a half ago. In addition, a woman presumed to be the mother of Young’s son has filed a permanent restraining order against him. Young’s attorney says his family is now deciding whether to post his $25,000 bail. Might be better for his own safety if they didn’t.
Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press, who’s been closely following the Titus saga (it’s amazing how much attention is being paid to this in Detroit), was on Idaho SportsTalk yesterday with the word that Young had been medically cleared to attend the arraignment hearing later in the afternoon. Of the media’s fascination with these sad happenings, Birkett said, “It’s a spiral downward like I don’t think we’ve seen.” Young could be looking at 7½ years in prison.
Canadian TV's leading sports anchor, Brian Williams, was in Boise this week to spend a day with new Montreal Alouettes coach Dan Hawkins. "I said, we've got to go to Idaho to learn something about this fellow,” Williams told KTVB’s Mark Johnson. “And the more I read about him, I mean swimming with sharks, climbing Macchu Picchu, running with the bulls—I said either this guy is truly unique or he is downright nuts. I said, ‘We've got to get to Boise.’” Williams and his CTV network crew spent the entire day at the Hawkins house in Boise. The “Bob Costas of Canada” (as Johnson calls him) feels the former Boise State coach is a good fit for Montreal. "The French are Latin, they are demonstrative, passionate, they care,” Williams said. “They speak with their hands like Dan Hawkins, so they will love each other." The CFL season opens June 27.
June Jones strong-armed a nickname change in the University of Hawaii football program 13 years ago, dropping the “Rainbow” from “Warriors.” Fans grudgingly went along with it, since Jones had engineered a stunning turnaround in Hawaii’s football fortunes. But most did not like it. In fact, some other sports still used “Rainbows,” while other kept “Rainbow Warriors.” New Hawaii athletic director Ben Jay understandably wanted to standardize the nickname for marketing purposes, so he announced in February that all sports would be known as the Warriors. That opened a can of worms, and—lo and behold—yesterday the school announced all men’s sports will hereby revert to the Rainbow Warriors nickname, and all women’s programs to the Rainbow Wahine.
After scooping Timberline defensive end Don Hill out of the Treasure Valley, Washington has picked up a second commit from the state of Idaho. Scout.com reports tight end Chase Blakley of Coeur d’Alene has given the Huskies his verbal. Blakley had offers from Wyoming, Idaho, Idaho State and Eastern Washington, although interest was ramping up from the major schools.
The big picture as we look back on the Idaho Steelheads season: it could be the launching pad for quite a run under Brad Ralph. The first-year coach had to reconstruct the team not once, but twice—when he came in last summer and tried to change the culture of the club, and after the NHL lockout ended when he had to replace a slew of top performers who moved up the AHL. Ralph made some great talent decisions, finding guys like Tyler Gron and Brett Robinson in the CHL and James Isaacs and Ian Watters in the SPHL. The Steelheads posted the second-most wins in their ECHL era this season and were especially tough at home. “There’s a lot to build on and a lot to be proud of,” Ralph said yesterday on Idaho SportsTalk.
It’s all Nickayla Skinner all the time, as the College of Idaho women’s softball team has advanced to the championship round of the Irvine bracket in the NAIA Championships. Skinner, the Mountain Home High grad, tossed a five-hit shutout and added a solo home run as the Lady Yotes blanked St. Gregory’s of Oklahoma for the second time in two days, this time 4-0. Skinner and the C of I had lost a morning semifinal game in a 1-0 no-hitter at the hands of No. 1 seed Concordia-Irvine, who the Yotes will face again today for the right to advance to the championship bracket in Columbus, GA. They’ll have to beat Concordia twice.
This Day In Sports…May 15, 2003, 10 years ago today:
In the midst of a national hubbub over Annika Sorenstam’s upcoming appearance in a PGA Tour event the following week, the Albertson’s Boise Open announces a sponsor’s exemption for 13-year-old Hawaiian phenom Michelle Wie. The eighth-grader with the 290-yard drives would be the first female ever to play a Nationwide Tour event. Now 23, Wie has just two career victories on the LPGA Tour.
(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.)