Wednesday, May 22, 2013.
OTAs (organized team activities) are important for rookies in the NFL, alllowing them to assimilate into a new system and develop chemistry with new teammates. It appears Jamar Taylor’s work in that regard with Miami Dolphins will be done in street clothes, as he was in Philadelphia yesterday undergoing surgery for a sports hernia. Recovery is time pegged at three to six weeks, so the former Boise State star is expected to be ready by the start of training camp. But he’ll have some catching up to do. Taylor was plagued by injuries during his junior season with the Broncos and was bothered even as he rambled 100 yards for a touchdown on an interception return against Arizona State in the Las Vegas Bowl. But had a healthy and extremely productive senior year and parlayed that into a second-round NFL Draft pick.
At first glance, it appeared former Boise State linebacker Tommy Smith didn’t stick after his free agent tryout with the Cleveland Browns. But now Smith’s agents at KLASS Sports say Smith has been signed by the Browns after all following a series of moves by the team yesterday that included the release of former Fresno State running back Robbie Rouse. Smith logged 61 tackles for the Broncos last season, finally getting a starting spot as a senior. He can also play fullback.
Rivals.com (among others) reports that dismissed Boise State defensive end Sam Ukwuachu will transfer to Baylor after visiting its campus Monday. "It's a done deal, and I'm reporting June 3,'' said Ukwuachu, who told Rivals he also considered Florida and Utah. "Baylor was my best option. It's close to home. It's a good program. (Boise State coach Chris Petersen) really helped me to where I wanted to go. Things just didn't work out up there.'' Ukwuachu said Baylor coaches told him they’ll look into applying for a hardship waiver so he can play immediately this fall. Otherwise, he’ll have to sit out this season and will have two years of eligibility remaining with the Bears. Word has been swirling that Lee Hightower, kicked off the Boise State squad after last season, will land at Houston—but no definitive word yet.
Around the horn with Bronco opponents: Washington tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins’ pretrial hearing in Seattle Municipal Court has been postponed until July 1. Seferian-Jenkins was charged with misdemeanor driving under the influence last month after being arrested March 9. He has been suspended from Huskies team activities since then. Coach Steve Sarkisian has said he wants the legal process to play out before deciding on further punishment, so it may be another six weeks before we know if he’ll play against Boise State August 31.
Mountain West newcomer San Jose State is not a Boise State opponent this fall, but its athletic director is eminently familiar. It’s hard to get anything pushed through in California these days, but Spartan AD Gene Bleymaier has unveiled a $38.5 million renovation to 80-year-old Spartan Stadium. When you consider that the Steuckle Sky Center at Bronco Stadium cost almost $36 million, this is big potatoes for SJSU. The remodel will be privately financed (two big words) and will include the Vermeil-Walsh Athletic Complex, named after San Jose State alumni Dick Vermeil and Bill Walsh. This will be the first major improvement to Spartan Stadium in almost 30 years. Bleymaier hopes to break ground later this year and have it done in time for the 2015 season.
Speaking of San Jose State, Bleymaier hired away Boise State’s top men’s basketball assistant to become head coach of the Spartans seven weeks ago. Now Bronco coach Leon Rice has promoted from within to fill Dave Wojcik’s post as associate head coach. Jeff Linder, who came in with Rice three years ago, will take that spot. “Jeff has played a major role in building this program,” Rice said. “He possesses high-level knowledge of the game of basketball, and has the ability to identify and develop talent.” Rice still has John Rillie on his staff and added Texas high school coach Danny Henderson last month.
It’ll be USC’s Yannick Hanfmann awaiting Boise State’s Andy Bettles today in the first round of the NCAA Men’s Tennis Singles Championships. Bettles is ranked 40th in the nation in singles, while Hanfmann is 45th. Bettles is 30-9 in fall and spring matches combined, playing No. 1 singles for the Broncos. Hanfmann is 28-6 and has lost just one match during the spring season while rotating between the No. 2-4 spots for the Trojans. It’s an international field on the University of Illinois courts—example: Bettles is from Somerset, England, and Hanfmann hails from Karlsruhe, Germany.
The College of Idaho's Trish Gibbens battled cool temperatures and gusty winds yesterday as she carded a 79 in the first round NAIA Women's Golf National Championships in Lincoln, NE. This is the second straight trip to nationals for the senior from Caldwell—last year she went with her Lady Yote teammates, who qualified as a group. Gibbens is the first C of I women’s golfer to make the tournament as an individual in 10 years. She was a first-team NAIA All-American in 2011.
This Day In Sports…May 22, 1969:
The question of alignment in the merger of the National Football League and American Football League is settled. The NFL’s Baltimore Colts, Cleveland Browns and Pittsburgh Steelers agreed to move from their compatriots in what would become the NFC to join AFL franchises in what would become the AFC. The Colts and Steelers would both win a Super Bowl within six years. The Browns have never even been to the Super Bowl—not the original version that became the Baltimore Ravens, nor the current version of the team that was born in 1999.
(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.)