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The sticking point for SI prognosticators

The sticking point for SI prognosticators

by Tom Scott

Bio | Follow: @thescottslant


Posted on August 21, 2013 at 7:20 AM

Wednesday, August 21, 2013.

Last week we ran through Sports Illustrated’s case for ranking Boise State No. 20 in its College Football Preview issue.  Today, here’s “the case against” the Broncos from SI’s Lars Anderson: “Boise State could struggle to defend the pass.  The team’s weakest position is cornerback, where sophomore Donte Deayon and junior Bryan Douglas are slated to start.  The Broncos lost only twice last year and by a total of six points.  More close games this season will require those corners to make big plays or an unproven pass rush to step up.”  Well, that could all be true.  We didn’t get many answers at the open fall scrimmage Sunday night, and we won’t know for sure until the bell rings in Husky Stadium 10 days from now.

We won’t know if Douglas is truly 100 percent in football terms after his season-ending knee injury last October.  We won’t know if Deayon, now donning Jamar Taylor’s old No. 5, will be able to overcome his size disadvantage with his speed and savvy, especially against Washington’s larger wide receivers.  And what will Douglas and Deayon see at quarterback?  We won’t know if Washington’s Keith Price, as UW fans hope and expect, can revert back to his sophomore self after a generally sour junior year. 

Anderson mentioned “an unproven pass rush” that will be needed to help out Boise State’s corners.  We also won’t know until a week from Saturday if whomever lines up next to Ricky Tjong-A-Tjoe at tackle is up to the task amid the pomp and circumstance of the reopening of one of the Pac-12’s most iconic stadiums.  Or if the Broncos have settled on a suitable replacement for dismissed standout Sam Ukwuachu at end.  Tyler Horn, Kharyee Marshall and Sam McCaskill all sat out Sunday’s scrimmage.  On the other hand, Mountain West 2012 sack leader Demarcus Lawrence mans the other end, and he’s far from unproven.

Today marks Washington’s first full game-prep practice for the opener against Boise State.  “I feel good about where we’re at and kind of the nucleus of this team,” coach Steve Sarkisian told the Seattle Times.  And his players feel good about moving into their new locker room inside the 83,000-square-foot football operations center at the revamped Husky Stadium.  “It’s huge,” UW quarterback Keith Price said of the locker room.  “It’s off the charts.  There are plasma screens everywhere.”  Added safety Will Shamburger, “Just being in this stadium is amazing, man.  It’s overwhelming.”

Jamar Taylor may be playing catch-up in training camp, but Miami did make a move yesterday that benefits the former Boise State cornerback.  The Dolphins have cut Fresno State product Richard Marshall, an eighth-year pro who started four games for the team last year.  Marshall was made expendable by the acquisition of veteran Brett Grimes and the drafting of Taylor and ex-Utah State standout Will Davis.  It’s Davis who’s had an outstanding camp while Taylor returns to full strength after his sports hernia surgery in May.

It’s kind of amazing how much preseason publicity Austin Pettis is getting as the grizzled veteran of the St. Louis wide receiver corps.  Boise State’s career receptions leader is only going into his third NFL season and is 25 years old.  Mike Sando’s NFL blog at points out that “Pettis does not have a catch in two preseason games and hasn’t been targeted much in camp, either.  But he was heavily involved Monday, coming up with a number of impressive catches, including a tough, contested catch in the corner of the end zone during team drills.”  Hopefully that’s a trend as the Rams head into their final two preseason games.

Former Idaho defensive tackle Benson Mayowa’s bid to make the Seahawks roster is serious.  Mayowa, signed in May as an undrafted free agent, turned in another solid effort last Saturday in Seattle’s 40-10 win over Denver.  Mayowa made a falling-down ankle-grabbing sack of Denver quarterback Brock Osweiler that was first ruled an incomplete pass.  Seattle coach Pete Carroll challenged the call, and during the review Mayowa got a ton of airtime on the Seahawks telecast from Curt Menefee and Brock Huard.  The call was indeed overturned, and Mayowa was awarded his sack.  For the game, he had four tackles and added a quarterback hurry.

The Boise Hawks can’t shake the doldrums.  The Hawks had won nine of 10 after a victory in the first game of their series at Tri-City, but the Dust Devils took the final four of the set, including a 5-4 win last night.  The roll Boise starter Dillon Maples had been on was short-circuited, as the 21-year-old righthander allowed five runs in four innings and saw his record drop to 5-1.  Meanwhile, the Hawks’ Opening Night starter, James Pugliese, has garnered his first call-up to long-season Class A.  Pugliese left yesterday for Kane County after posting a 4-3 record and a 2.32 ERA in 11 starts, tossing a team-high 62 innings and striking out a team-high 47 batters.

Boise State will make a rare men’s basketball regular season appearance on ESPN this year, and it’s thanks to the opponent.  The Broncos face Kentucky in Lexington December 10, and UK has announced it’ll be telecast by the Worldwide Leader.  Boise State, coming off its first-ever at-large berth in the NCAA Tournament, sees this as a gargantuan opportunity.  The Wildcats, one year removed from a national championship, slid to the NIT last March and finished with a 21-12 record.  Most expect Kentucky to bounce right back into the top 5.

This Day In Sports…August 21, 1931:

The Yankees’ Babe Ruth hits the 600th home run of his major league career off St. Louis Browns pitcher George Blaeholder.  Four years and 114 homers to go at that point for the Babe.  Ruth was still in the prime of his career—the next year, he would hit his famous “called shot” at Wrigley Field in the World Series against the Chicago Cubs.

(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.)