Tuesday, October 23, 2012.
Once the video circulated, the magnitude of Wyoming coach Dave Christensen’s outburst a week and a half ago became apparent. Now Christensen has been suspended by Wyoming athletic director Tom Burman for this Saturday’s Boise State game and has been fined $50,000 for the disparaging (to put it mildly) comments he aimed at Air Force coach Troy Calhoun at the end of the Cowboys’ 28-27 loss to the Falcons. Christensen, who had already been issued a public reprimand from the Mountain West, is also banned from practice and team facilities this week. The video caught the acidic tone of Christensen’s diatribe. It was ugly. He called Calhoun “Mr. #%@$*&’ Howdy Doody,” dropping in the ultimate profanity liberally, and finished by shouting, “Get in your #%@$*&’ press conference, fly-boy!” Wow.
Assistant head coach Pete Kaligis will lead Wyoming this week. Kaligis isn’t worried about the sudden change. "The program Christensen has installed is a fine-oiled machine," Kaligis told the Casper Star-Tribune. "It rolls." A tweet from the Star-Tribune’s Ben Frederickson isn’t so positive. "We're trying to stay focused," Wyoming senior center Nick Carlson said, according to the tweet. "Obviously it is another distraction for our team." It rolled well last year for Wyo, with an 8-5 record and a berth in the New Mexico Bowl. This year’s been a different story, as the Cowboys are one loss away from bowl elimination after a 42-14 loss Saturday at Fresno State.
There's one thing that didn't show up in the box score Saturday: the constant pressure Boise State put on UNLV quarterback Nick Sherry. There wasn’t anything in the stats under quarterback hurries, but there was a slew of ‘em in addition to the Broncos’ two sacks. And they did it all without star defensive end Demarcus Lawrence, who was suspended for one game. “It gave Tyler (Horn) a chance to shine,” said coach Chris Petersen. Horn, the sophomore from Mountain View High, nabbed one of the two sacks. “He’s starting to take the next step in getting off blocks and getting after the quarterback,” Petersen said.
Beau Martin and Kharyee Marshall also got more playing time against the Rebels, and Armand Nance saw his first significant action since the Miami-Ohio game last month. Boise State has had to replace five mainstays from last year’s defensive front, yet the Broncos are still able to rotate two entire lines thanks to the depth that it’s taken years to develop at that spot. And that’s a huge advantage at the point of the season when many teams around the country become razor-thin. “Right now is when you start to feel it,” said Petersen. The Broncos’ sack total—16 in seven games—doesn’t accurately reflect the job the defensive line has done.
Idaho athletic director Rob Spear said yesterday interim football coach Jason Gesser and the remaining Vandal staff will have a chance to earn their jobs full-time, based on the team’s performance in the final four games of the season. The 33-year-old Gesser was very emotional at his initial press conference yesterday when talking about the fired Robb Akey. “He’s the one that gave me the opportunity to be here—the opportunity to be a college coach,” said Gesser with his voice cracking. He wants to give it his all now in a quest to turn around the rest of Idaho’s season. “I get a chance now, and I’m very grateful for that. But at the same time, I’m still trying to get a grasp of the situation.” The Vandals have a bye week before hosting San Jose State in the Kibbie Dome a week from Saturday.
Shea McClellin was part of a Chicago defense that turned over Detroit 13-7 last night on Monday Night Football, getting credit for half a sack and a quarterback hit on Matthew Stafford (Titus Young had a season-high six catches for 81 yards for the Lions). McClellin is getting good reviews for his versatility five games into his rookie season. ‘‘He’s really made nice progress,’’ defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli told Adam Jahns in the Chicago Sun-Times late last week. ‘‘The longer it goes, expectations for him grow and grow. We want to see more. Just the little things sometimes, the habits. Guys have a tendency to revert back to something. He works, that’s the big thing, and he’s got speed. So that’ll just keep coming for him.’’
Jahns notes, “The Bears have featured McClellin most often during pass-rushing situations, but he also has been used as a stand-up linebacker, where he roams, rushes and drops back in coverage. It’s a position McClellin is comfortable with, having played it in college at Boise State.” McClellin said he doesn’t prefer one role over the other. ‘‘Whatever they want to play me at, I’ll do it,” said the Bears’ first round draft pick. “You never know what’s going to happen when you come in. But they’re going to put you in certain situations where they feel you’ll do best at.’’
If the Idaho Steelheads’ surge last week becomes a trend, you can give a lot of credit to the rookies on the squad. Austin Fyten is tied for the ECHL lead in plus/minus, the statistic that shows how your team does when you’re in the ice. The 21-year-old forward is plus-six. Simply put, that means good things happen for the Steelheads when Fyten is skating. Fellow rookie Jeremie Blain is tied atop the ECHL among defensemen with five points (two goals, three assists). And rookie goalie Josh Robinson has won each of his first two starts in goal, posting a 1.50 goals-against average and a save percentage of .948. The Steelies bring their three-game winning streak home tomorrow night to face the Ontario Reign.
Media around the Mountain West expects Boise State’s second and final men’s basketball season in the conference to be much like the first. The Broncos are predicted to finish eighth in the nine-team league, above only Air Force. At the top, defending Mountain West co-regular-season champion San Diego State edged UNLV as the preseason favorite. New Mexico was picked third. The Boise State women are tabbed to finish seventh this season, with Bronco senior forward Lauren Lenhardt named preseason All-Mountain West.
Greg Patton would tell you longevity counts for something, but he’d be too modest. The longtime Bosie State men’s tennis coach has been awarded the 2012 USTA Intermountain David Freed Award, which recognizes individuals for their lifetime service to tennis within the Intermountain Section. “When they say lifetime it’s a little scary because I’m only half way through,” said Patton. “I am incredibly honored and grateful, especially to Boise State for giving me a platform to preach the magic and glories of tennis.” This is the 25th annual Freed Award—Patton will accept it in Denver December 1.
More wrapup from the weekend: Troy Merritt had his best tournament of the year on the Web.com Tour, finishing in a tie for eighth Sunday at the Jacksonville Open. The former Boise State star won $18,000, his biggest payday since July of last year at the PGA Tour’s John Deere Classic. That brought Merritt’s 2012 Web.com Tour earnings to $45,063. It takes some getting used to when you consider he took in $151,475 on the PGA Tour in 2011 and $786,977 in 2010. Golf’s tough.
This Day In Sports…October 23, 1988:
Dan Marino has the biggest day of his NFL career, but it comes in a loss for the Miami Dolphins. When the New York Jets went up 30-10 at halftime, the Dolphins were forced to go to the air. Marino threw for 521 yards—second in NFL history at the time to Norm Van Brocklin’s 554 yards in 1951—and three touchdowns. But Marino was also picked off five times in a 44-30 Miami loss.
(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.)