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Hitting the junior college jackpot

Hitting the junior college jackpot

by Tom Scott

Bio | Follow: @thescottslant

KTVB.COM

Posted on October 17, 2012 at 7:27 AM

Wednesday, October 17, 2012.

Boise State rarely takes junior college transfers, preferring to perpetuate itself with four and five-year players.  When the Broncos do go the JC route, it’s to seek a specific impact, and more often than not they score.  Sometimes it’s a delayed reaction, sometimes instant gratification.  The latter category has been filled in recent years by Winston Venable, Jerrell Gavins and Tyrone Crawford.  Venable and Crawford, of course, went on to the NFL, while Gavins is still contributing after using a redshirt year in 2011.  This year you’re seeing both sides, with immediate impact coming from defensive end Demarcus Lawrence and delayed upshot coming from nickelback Dextrell Simmons.  Lawrence has been amazing.  He was in on all three sacks of Fresno State’s Derek Carr last Saturday and has 5½ sacks, three forced fumbles and a fumble recovery on the season.

Simmons, initially overwhelmed last year by all he was asked to do coming out of Blinn College in Texas, started to emerge at the end of last season.  He played well against Arizona State in the MAACO Bowl Las Vegas after often being displaced down the stretch by true freshman Corey Bell.  According to Boise State defensive coordinator Pete Kwiatkowski, Simmons blossomed big-time during spring football, and he no longer has to share his starting spot at nickel.  Simmons put an immediate program of discouragement on the Bulldogs’ deep routes last Saturday by swatting away a Carr bomb on the second play from scrimmage.  He later added his first career interception on another attempt by Carr to go vertical.  “I’m really happy for Dextrell,” said coach Chris Petersen.  “The light went on.  He’s enjoying this thing, and he’s playing as hard as he can.”

With that said, Boise State has scoured the JC ranks for a future need at cornerback and has landed Mercy Maston out of Bakersfield College, according to Scout.com.  He represents the 12th verbal for the 2013 recruiting class and the second junior college player, joining defensive lineman Justin Taimatuia.  The Broncos actually recruited Maston out of high school.  He had several Pac-10 offers and ended up committing to San Jose State in 2011 but didn’t pass his SAT and was an academic casualty.  Maston, who comes from the same JC Crawford did, is ready to go now.  He once told the Bakersfield Californian that his family chant is “Mercy, No Mercy.”

Even when Petersen is blowing smoke, he doesn’t seem like he’s blowing smoke.  And he didn’t sound like he was blowing smoke Monday when talking about UNLV.  The Rebels may be 1-6, but Petersen was struck by last week’s game, when they had leads of 21-0 and 28-7 over Nevada in the Battle of the Fremont Cannon.  “When you’re at this point of the season and your record’s not what you want it to be, you can see guys let up,” Petersen said.  “That’s not UNLV.”  The Rebels finally succumbed to the Wolf Pack, 42-37.  “They fight, they’re well-coached, and they play hard, and they like football,” said Petersen.

The hot potato in Fresno since last Saturday has been some of the calls that went against Fresno State in the 20-10 Boise State win, especially four 15-yard penalties in the first half and a no-call when the Bulldogs felt Carr was hit in the head.  Fresno State coach Tim DeRuyter says his staff is going to send video clips to the Mountain West supervisor of officials to “get a better grasp of rules interpretations,” according to the Fresno Bee.  DeRuyter singled out the two infractions called on the Bulldogs for roughing Joe Southwick.  One negated a Bulldog interception, and the other came when it looked like Southwick was going to tuck it and run.

I’m not a fantasy football guy, but those who are think Doug Martin is a smart bet for Week 7 against the Saints, who are second-to-last in the NFL in rushing defense.  His fantasy stock rose last week.  The former Boise State star not only rushed 13 times for 76 yards and added two catches for 55 yards in Tampa Bay’s 38-10 win over Kansas City, he was the focal point as the Buccaneers put the game away.  Martin set up the Bucs’ first touchdown of the second half with a 42-yard catch-and-run that included a great move on the Chiefs’ Justin Houston.  Then midway through the fourth, Martin took over with runs of 23 and 13 yards and drew an unnecessary roughness penalty on K.C. to pave the way for Tampa Bay’s clinching TD.

Well, it’s not pretty in Pocatello, either.  Idaho coach Robb Akey is under fire in Moscow, but not like this.  Idaho State coach Mike Kramer is being investigated by two police agencies after shoving wide receiver Derek Graves to the ground in practice October 3.  ESPN’s “Outside The Lines” obtained video of the incident and posted it, showing Kramer hitting Graves with a two-handed push to the chest.  Graves told OTL that Kramer became irate when Graves preferred to face one of the team's veteran cornerbacks instead of a freshman cornerback during one-on-one drills in practice.  It was when Graves tried waving over one of the older cornerbacks to face him that Kramer rushed across the field.

A running theme of last season for the Idaho Steelheads was shots on goal.  The Steelheads were out-shot—seriously out-shot—all winter.  Idaho allowed more than 39 shots per game, the most in the ECHL, while putting up just over 28.  The Steelies went the entire season without out-shooting the opposition on back-to-back nights.  One of the positives to come out of the weekend despite two losses to Utah: the Steelheads topped the Grizzlies in shots-on-goal each night.  In Saturday’s game, Idaho yielded 26 shots, which would have been tied for the fourth-fewest allowed by the team in any single game last season.  The Steelheads are back in action tonight, opening a three-game series at Colorado.

Today is the 15th anniversary of the first game in the history of the Steelheads franchise.  The Steelheads made their debut in the old West Coast Hockey League in Boise against defending champion San Diego.  Alain Savage, who would be the Steelies’ leading scorer and fan favorite during that first season, instantly endeared himself to the locals by registering a hat trick in the 7-3 Idaho win. 

This Day In Sports…October 17, 1974:

The Oakland A’s beat the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 5 of the World Series to win their third straight world championship under two different managers.  Alvin Dark had taken over for Dick Williams, who guided Oakland to titles in 1972 and 1973.  Reliever Rollie Fingers—he of the famous handlebar mustache—was the Series MVP.  It was exactly 15 years later that the Loma Prieta earthquake interrupted the 1989 Fall Classic between the A’s and the San Francisco Giants.  The series would resume 10 days later, with Oakland completing its Bay Bridge sweep in Games 3 and 4.

(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.)

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