Friday, August 17, 2012.
Decisions, decisions, decisions. That applies not only to the Boise State coaching staff as it chooses a starting quarterback, but to the QBs themselves as they make snap judgments after the ball is hiked. Tomorrow night the popcorn will be poppin’, with 15,000 or so interested onlookers evaluating the every move of Joe Southwick, Nick Patti, Grant Hedrick and Jimmy Laughrea in the Broncos’ only public scrimmage of fall camp. Can each guy make the right read? Can he stand in the pocket? Can he make the decision to throw before the coverage closes in? This is a rather important event.
For junior Joe Southwick, we harken back to last December’s regular season finale against New Mexico. Southwick ran the gamut against the Lobos as he saw more mopup time than usual. He tossed a nice 19-yard strike to Matt Miller on his first pass. Then later in the possession on fourth down, Southwick held the ball too long and threw the first interception of his career. But he came back on the next series and zinged a perfect throw in a tight window to Aaron Burks for 10 yards and a first down. Ball security is another area of focus for Southwick. He learned a lot in Kibbie Dome mopup two seasons ago when he was sacked and stripped of the ball—and saw the fumble recovered in the end zone by Idaho’s Aaron Lavarius for a touchdown.
The major preseason rankings for Boise State all seem to be coming in around the same place. While the Sports Illustrated College Football Preview issue has the Bronco at No. 23, ESPN The Magazine’s College Football Preview says No. 24. ESPN’s mag is reasonably optimistic about the Boise State offense—not so much about the defense. “With all the losses on D, every point is worth fretting over,” the magazine says. Michigan State is ranked 12th by ESPN’s publication, with this observation for the season opener two weeks from tonight: “MSU’s D-line (3.1 sacks per game) will target a new QB.” No kiddin’. The preseason AP Poll will be released tomorrow.
Just as all the praise showered upon him over the past four years was like water off a duck’s back, so is the criticism Kellen Moore has received the past week. The former Boise State star gets a second try at this NFL thing tonight, facing increased scrutiny in Detroit’s second preseason game at Baltimore following a sub-par performance a week ago against Cleveland. “I don’t really have time to pay attention to all that stuff,” Moore told mLive.com. “It’s a learning experience. You learn from it; you get more comfortable with everything; you get better.” To be sure, Kellen would be helped by a detailed game plan. But NFL teams don’t break down film much for preseason opponents.
There were three former Boise State standouts in action last night. Cincinnati safety George Iloka had two tackles in the Bengals’ 24-19 win over Atlanta. Tight end Tommy Gallarda didn’t have a catch for the Falcons. And defensive tackle Billy Winn recorded two tackles for Cleveland in a 35-10 romp over the Packers. Tonight, in addition to Moore, there’ll be 10 other Boise State products on the field in NFL preseason games, including Doug Martin in his second appearance for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Idaho is going the expected route and mapping out a plan to become an FBS independent in football while placing its other sports in the Division I Big Sky. The school expects to play as an independent for a couple seasons in order to buy time in hopes of an FBS conference affiliation opening up. The Vandals seek approval from the State Board of Education today to explore those avenues. Big Sky commissioner Doug Fullerton has said on Idaho SportsTalk that his conference would enthusiastically welcome Idaho even without football, professing patience as the Vandals see how it all shakes out. Now the fun begins, as athletic director Rob Spear would be charged with finding five home games per season, four of them against FBS opponents.
The Boise Hawks went double-happy last night in a 7-2 win over Tri-City, kicking off their 11-game Western Idaho Fair road trip on a high note. There were no home runs from Boise bats this time, but there were six doubles—three of them in a three-run third inning—and that’s what doomed the Dust Devils. Tri-City, on the other hand, was walk-unhappy, as the Hawks drew a season-high nine bases on balls. It was the Boise’s fourth straight road win and its eighth road victory in 10 tries. That’s saying something for a team that started this season 2-16 away from home. The Hawks’ second-half lead in the Northwest League East Division is now six games.
Notes from Boise’s other minor league franchises: the Idaho Stampede’s open tryouts have added value this year, as hopefuls will have the attentive eyes of the Portland Trail Blazers. The first session will be in Portland September 22, with the second at the Stampede’s practice facility at the Ada County Boys & Girls Club September 29. And the Idaho Steelheads have their first two signees for the 2012-13 season. Defenseman Matt Case enters his third season with the Steelheads—he has logged 79 games for Idaho. Defenseman Deron Cousens rejoins the Steelies after finishing the season with the club last spring. Cousens was acquired from Florida and played the final three games of the regular season and all 10 playoff games.
Graham DeLaet is back on the PGA Tour after a three-week layoff, and he opened the Wyndham Championship in Greensboro, NC, yesterday with a one-under 69. That’s good for a tie for 60th, putting him on the bubble to make the cut. This is only DeLaet’s second tournament since his big payday at the Greenbrier Classic in early July. The former Boise State star’s $119,560 in earnings that week put him over the top in his quest to retain his PGA Tour card while playing on a medical exemption.
Back to football. Er, baseball? Fruitland High senior Joey Martarano, a Boise State commit for the 2013 recruiting class, will be at Wrigley Field in Chicago tomorrow to play in the Under Armour All-America Baseball Game. The rosters are stocked with 36 of the top high schoolers in the country, and Martarano certainly qualifies. He’s rated by some services as the top prep third baseman in the country. A good performance tomorrow could get him leaning toward the diamond, where he’s expected to be a first-round draft pick next June if he doesn’t sign to play football for the Broncos in January.
This Day In Sports…August 17, 1995:
Bobby Dye, the most successful basketball coach in Boise State history, suddenly resigns three months before his 13th season was to begin. Dye and the BSU administration had been wrangling over the length of his contract, and the veteran coach elected to step down after three Big Sky championships and subsequent NCAA Tournament appearances. Dye had an overall record of 213-133 at BSU, with four 20-win seasons. He was replaced that day by top assistant Rod Jensen.
(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.)