Friday, January 11, 2013.
Winning on the road in the Mountain West is really, really difficult. And this season, with the conference ranked No. 2 in RPI, road breakthroughs are going to be very hard to come by. So you can’t put a value on Boise State’s 63-61 win over Wyoming in Laramie Wednesday night—with only seven players in the rotation against a previously undefeated and ranked team. But you can look at the facts, ma’am. The Broncos went 1-11 on the road a year ago; they’re 4-2 on the road this season.
No word yet on the fate of suspended Boise State players Derrick Marks, Kenny Buckner, Mikey Thompson and Darrious Hamilton. But coach Leon Rice indicated on Idaho SportsTalk yesterday fans shouldn’t be concerned that these would be season-long situations. The Broncos did the unthinkable at Wyoming—it’s hard to imagine they’d be able to do it again versus No. 25 (AP Poll) New Mexico next Wednesday night without the suspended quartet. Get a load of the minutes logged in Laramie. Jeff Elorriaga, he of the buzzer-beater, played all 40 minutes. Igor Hadziomerovic played 37, Anthony Drmic 35 (before fouling out in the final minute), seldom-used Joe Hanstad 26, Thomas Bropleh 23, and Ryan Watkins 22 (as much as his foul trouble would allow). Spelling Watkins was the almost never-used Jake Ness, who got 17 minutes.
What a difference a year makes in NFL Draft projections. Russ Lande of National Football Post has come out with his first list of the top 200 draft prospects, and, as expected, there’s only one Boise State player on it. Barely. Lande has Bronco cornerback Jamar Taylor at No. 198. Lande tabs Taylor’s 40-yard dash speed at 4.45 seconds. Let’s throw some comparables out there. Mountain West Defensive Player of the Year Phillip Thomas, the Fresno State safety, is No. 131. Nevada safety Michael Williams is No. 99 (that came out of leftfield). San Diego State star cornerback Leon McFadden is No. 90. And how about this? Utah State corner Will Davis is No. 83.
Our former Bronco NFLer of the Day is Cleveland defensive tackle Billy Winn, another one of those guys whose role increased as the season progressed. The sixth round draft pick racked up 26 tackles, one sack, one interception, three pass deflections and two fumble recoveries for the Browns. Cleveland’s newly-hired coach, Rob Chudzinski, will have the foundation of a good defense. Third-year defensive back Joe Haden liked what he saw in front of him this season. “The rookies were doing their thing, especially (defensive linemen) John Hughes and Billy Winn,” Haden said. “They stepped in and did a really good job.”
SI.com’s All-Bowl team is out, and the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl had one of them. Utah State running back Kerwynn Williams was tabbed for his 235-yard game in the Aggies’ 41-15 win over Toledo. Williams did it on just 13 carries, and remember that 191 of his yards came in the wild fourth quarter on the blue turf. Williams’ draft stock has risen—he’s the 12th-highest rated running back available according to NFLDraftScout.com.
Various reports have said San Diego State could announce a return to the Mountain West by the end of this week, but there’s no indication this morning that it’s imminent. Meanwhile, Aztec coach Rocky Long has named former UCLA and Tulane head coach Bob Toledo as his new offensive coordinator. Toledo was also Long’s O-coordinator at New Mexico in 2006. Toledo is 66, but he’s not talking like a guy who has seen the game pass him by. “I’d like to say that (our offense) will look like Alabama’s did the other night,” Toledo said.
With a slew of stars gone to the AHL, David de Kastrozza and Tristan King have become featured players for the Idaho Steelheads. Both players scored last night as the Steelheads picked up a 2-1 road win at San Francisco. Steelies coach Brad Ralph also got a contribution from a newcomer who played most of last season for him at Augusta of the Southern Professional Hockey League, as William Lacasse assisted on the game-winning goal.
Fortunately for the Steelheads, they haven’t lost a goalie yet in the latest AHL purge of their roster. Tyler Beskorowany made 29 saves in 30 shots on goal by the Bulls. In his last nine starts, Beskorowany is 6-1-2 with a goals-against average under two. Now Bakersfield fatigue sets in for the Steelheads, who face the Condors yet again tonight and tomorrow night, this time on the road. By the time the weekend is over, Idaho will have played Bakersfield in six of the last eight games.
The 2013 PGA Tour season is underway for Graham DeLaet. The former Boise State star carded a one-under 69 yesterday in the first round of the Sony Open at Waialae in Honolulu. It’s been two years since DeLaet cried “uncle” after trying just about everything to overcome his back pain. He had surgery on January 3, 2011, to shave off a piece of a herniated disk to alleviate a pinched nerve. DeLaet played only two tour events that season and was granted a major medical exemption, and last year he made an impressive comeback. With his exemption, he had 26 events in which to make the equivalent of what it would have taken to finish 2011 among the PGA Tour’s top 125 money-winners. It took only 18 tournaments for DeLaet to earn enough to retain his tour card.
The Idaho Stampede will be back to their base roster tonight and tomorrow night when they return to CenturyLink Arena for two more games against the Reno Bighorns. It was now you see ‘em, now you don’t for Portland assignees Will Barton and Nolan Smith. The duo got what the Blazers wanted them to get, a flurry of court action Monday and Tuesday at the D-League Showcase. Now Barton and Smith are back with Portland. The Stampede got some homepage exposure at SI.com last night from Ian Thomsen, who covered the Showcase in Reno. The Stamps were the focus of the story by Thomsen, who wrote that the D-League “happens to be the future for the NBA and that future has never been more promising.”
Said Smith of his Idaho assignment: "I was actually very excited about this. Most people look at it as a demotion and 'I'm going to the D-League, poor me.' But I was excited—you come down here, you get to play, you're not sitting on the bench, and they tell you to just come out and play basketball. Have fun, let loose.” Portland general manager Neil Olshey is loving the new relationship. "It's invaluable,'' Olshey said of the Blazers’ single-affiliation with the Stampede. "One thing you can't promise young players on an NBA team is minutes, because you can't put the team in position to suffer in terms of wins and losses.''
This Day In Sports…January 11, 2007:
Ten days after leading Boise State to its legendary upset of Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl, Chris Petersen accepts the Paul “Bear” Bryant Award as national coach of the year. Petersen had gone 13-0 as a rookie coach, the first college football head coach to post a 13-0 record in his first year since Yale’s Walter Camp in 1888. Under Petersen, the Broncos won their fifth straight WAC championship and were the only undefeated team in the country.
(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.)