Wednesday, August 7, 2013.
I believe I deflected attention yesterday from the defensive line to the cornerbacks as Boise State’s biggest area of focus in fall camp. Well, today we backtrack. Junior college transfer Deuce Mataele, who had a great spring as a much-needed addition at defensive tackle, is not with the Broncos right now as he deals with an “academic issue,” according to coach Chris Petersen. There’s no timeline on a resolution. That leaves Ricky Tjong-A-Tjoe as the only D-tackle with appreciable experience, at least for now. “That college football,” said Petersen. “You’re never going, ‘Okay our depth is great there, and there’—there’s always an area.” But not to worry, contends Petersen. “We’ve got great coaches, and we’ve got some good talent here,” he said. “No matter how this thing turns out, we’ll have guys who are ready to go.”
One of those players could be Armand Nance, who Petersen says has already caught his eye after just two days of fall camp. Nance, a 6-0, 288-pound sophomore, played as a true freshman last year, recording nine tackles and one sack. “I’m glad we played that guy—that experience is going to pay off,” said Petersen. Also, sophomore Robert Ash has moved back to the defensive line after a brief stint on the other side of the ball. Petersen said that decision was made before Mataele’s issue arose, even though the O-line might ultimately be the best spot for Ash. The 6-3, 291-pounder appeared in only one game last year.
We now know the crop of local Boise State walk-ons for 2013. Meridian offensive lineman Mason Hampton, Eagle long snapper Matt Cota, Rocky Mountain defensive tackle James Tucker and Kuna defensive end Austin Silsby have all joined the Broncos. There’s history in going this route, and this quartet no doubt knows it. Most recently, Tyler Shoemaker entered the record book as Boise State’s single-season record-holder for touchdown catches with 16 in 2011, four years after walking on out of Mountain View High. The Broncos have had three national Division I-A scoring champions in the new century, and two of them began their careers as local walk-ons, Brock Forsey and Tyler Jones. And the Broncos have the top-scoring kicker in college football history, Kyle Brotzman. He was a local walk-on, too.
The replanted and expanded intramural field next to the Boise State Student Union Building is working out well so far. “Love it—it’s great,” said Petersen. “We spent a decent amount on redesigning that thing. It’s nice to be on grass, it really is.” The Broncos will be on the grass field all this week until Friday morning, when they’ll hit Bronco Stadium for the first time. You can tell the difference during these hot August days. Yesterday’s press conference was held outside the new Bleymaier Football Complex, and walking across the blue turf to get there, you could feel the furnace-like waves rise up off the blue and slap you in the face.
The Arena Football League regular season is over, and why not check up on Brotzman. The Meridian High grad keeps on keepin’ on following the unfortunate events of November, 2010. Brotzman kicked for the Utah Blaze again this season, going 2-of-3 on field goals (they don’t try many of those in arena ball). He planted 67 of his 76 extra point attempts through the AFL’s narrow uprights.
Titus Young has been given one final excused absence from his pre-trial hearing in Orange County. Judge Andre Manssourian had given the troubled former Boise State wide receiver passes from his June 24 and July 2 hearings, and he did it again yesterday. Young was a no-show for the hearing on the 11-count case against him resulting from a crime spree in May. “This is the last time,” Manssourian said. The judge continues to hold a $100,000 bench warrant on Young but says he must show up in court on August 27. Young’s attorney said Titus is safe and still undergoing treatment, also suggesting that he could use the alleged concussions he received while playing for the Detroit Lions as a possible defense.
Idaho Stampede coach Michael Peck has lost a key member of his staff to a natural D-League progression: an NBA bench. Scott Williams has been hired as “big man” coach by the Milwaukee Bucks. The 45-year-old Williams spent one year in Boise but has long impressed NBA front office personnel. "Our big guys, when you talk about that paint area, you talk about doing dirty work down there,” Bucks coach Larry Drew said in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. “He was that type of player, physical. He didn't take possessions off and I want that to rub off on our big guys. I thought it would be smart to bring in a guy like that. He's won championships." Williams played for seven NBA teams in a 15-year career and won three championship rings in his first three seasons with the Chicago Bulls.
Here’s a “where are they now.” The Oklahoma City Thunder have hired former Northwest Nazarene player and coach Mike Terpstra as an assistant coach under Scott Brooks. Terpstra got into the pro game eight years ago as an assistant coach and director of player development for the Stampede before spending one season on the staff of the D-League’s Colorado 14ers. In his playing days, Terpstra was the Crusaders’ MVP during his junior and senior seasons.
And another “where are they now.” For the first time in 30 years, Tom Kotchman is not managing in the minor leagues. Kotchman spent the past 29 seasons in the L.A. Angels organization, 11 of them as manager of the Boise Hawks, when he became the winningest manager in the history of the Northwest League. When the Angels and Hawks ended their affiliation after the 2000 season, Kotchman moved to the franchise’s Pioneer League team in Provo and Orem. The Angels wanted him to focus solely on scouting after last season, and Kotchman didn’t want to, so he resigned. Kotch is now on the coaching staff of the Gulf Coast League Red Sox.
Stephen Fife’s trip back to Triple-A can’t last too long, can it? Fife was optioned to Albuquerque Monday, in the middle of his quest to nail down the fifth spot in the Dodgers’ rotation. Is it just a procedural move? Fife is 4-3 this season with a stout 2.74 ERA. "I'm not too stuck on anything, so whatever they decide is fine by me," the Borah High grad said. "I'm just trying to contribute in any way I can." Elsewhere, every chance Dontrelle Willis gets in baseball appears to be his last, but then he pops up somewhere else. Willis, the Hawks’ Opening Night starter when the Cubs era was ushered in back in 2001, has been signed to a minor league contract by the Angels. The one-time National League Rookie of the Year actually retired last season before opting to give it yet another go. He’s been pitching this season for the independent Long Island Ducks.
This Day In Sports…August 7, 1995:
The return of the Raiders to Oakland is made official when Al Davis signs a lease that commits the team to at least a 16-year stay at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum. The Raiders would resume play in the Bay Area a month later. Davis had moved the team to Los Angeles in 1982. But—despite winning Super Bowl XVIII their second year in L.A.—the Raiders never won over fans there. The Los Angeles Rams also moved to St. Louis in 1995, and the nation’s second-largest market has been without an NFL team since.
(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.)