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This battle used to be a big deal

This battle used to be a big deal

by Tom Scott

Bio | Follow: @thescottslant


Posted on August 13, 2013 at 7:13 AM

Tuesday, August 13, 2013.

Four years ago one of the intriguing stories of Boise State fall camp was who the backup quarterback would be.  We never really knew.  Joe Southwick traveled with the team and dressed for every road game, but he didn’t have to burn his redshirt year, as Kellen Moore stayed healthy for the entire season.  Mike Coughlin handled mop-up time.  Now, with Jimmy Laughrea gone, it’s a battle between Grant Hedrick and Nick Patti behind Southwick.  So how’s it going after yesterday’s first scrimmage of camp?  “That’s a good question,” said coach Chris Petersen.  “I think that’s the real good thing about scrimmaging.  It was good to get those guys live reps.”  Petersen wishes there were more, adding, “If it was just the quarterbacks, we’d still be out here about two more hours just letting those guys get live reps.”

Southwick’s evaluation of his QB comrades: “I think Grant’s really taken some good strides in his game, you can really see that.  Nick’s starting to pick it up a little bit, too—he’s starting to get a better grasp of what we’re doing.  With the other two guys (Ryan Finley and Richard Hoppe), a little bit of shellshock.”  When Petersen talks about Hedrick and Patti, he throws out his magic word.  “What we’re looking for is just that tremendous consistency, and that’s where the issue is with Grant and Nick a little bit.”

Petersen wouldn’t impart much information on the performance of his closely-watched defensive tackle group after yesterday’s scrimmage.  He did say there’s no update on Deuce Mataele and his academic issue.  Nevertheless, Tyler Horn’s role hasn’t been affected yet.  Horn, a natural defensive end, played a lot of tackle down the stretch last season after Mike Atkinson’s season-ending injury.  “He can play inside—he can play outside, and that’s really nice to have that flexibility,” Petersen said of the Mountain View High product.  “And we’re going to need it, with or without Duece.  We’re going to have to move guys around and be creative.”

By definition, sophomore Armand Nance is getting more reps at defensive tackle in Mataele’s absence.  That might not be the case with the other two guys I mentioned yesterday, though.  Elliot Hoyte, the raw Englishman, is just that—raw.  “Making progress,” said Petersen.  “A young guy who’s kind of young in his development.”  The coach utters the line “making progress” a lot.  He also used that in relation to D-tackle Justin Taimatuia, noting that the junior college transfer just arrived earlier this summer.

Petersen won’t talk about injuries unless they’re season-ending, and he had one to reveal yesterday.  Redshirt freshman safety Chanceller James is out for the season with a torn ACL—very unfortunate for James, but it comes at one defensive position that does have some depth.  Any injury makes Petersen uncomfortable, though, and to preserve the Broncos’ health he’ll make Sunday night’s public scrimmage “half practice-half scrimmage.”  He does think fans will be interested in some of the drills the team goes through.  Nothing like live action, though.

Nobody’s immune to the injury bug.  BYU’s secondary has been hit, too, as Jordan Johnson will miss the season after tearing his ACL in practice.  Johnson was a returning starter at cornerback and made 48 tackles and had one interception as a sophomore on the nation’s No. 3 defense last year.  He recorded five tackles and a pass breakup in the Cougars’ 7-6 loss to Boise State on the blue turf last September.  BYU will now have two new starters at corner when its season opens at Virginia in 18 days.

When you receive an e-mail regarding Boise Hawks third baseman Kris Bryant these days, you expect to see “called up to Class A Daytona.”  Not so in yesterday’s first communication, which was about Bryant being named Northwest League Player of the Week.  Then there was more.  This year’s No. 2 overall draft pick has indeed played his final game in Boise, as he’s been summoned to Daytona at the highest level of Class A.  Bryant takes a .354 average, four home runs and 16 RBI with him.  He was with some teammates splashing around at Roaring Springs yesterday when he received word of his call-up.

Bryant’s Player of the Week resume: he extended his hitting streak to 15 games, going 9-for-17 for the week with three doubles, a triple, a home run, and five RBI.  Thirteen of his 23 hits this season have gone for extra bases.  Also, Trevor Gretzky, son of NHL Hall of Famer Wayne Gretzky, has earned a call-up to Class A Kane County.  The younger Gretzky batted .256 for the Hawks this season.

With the Hawks having taken yesterday off, let’s check out their season overall with 20 games to go.  The Hawks are 10-8 in the second half standings, a 1½ games behind Salem-Keizer.  Boise can make the Northwest League playoffs with a second-place finish if Salem-Keizer ends up first, since the Volcanoes also won the first half.  Overall, the Hawks are 31-25 as they seek their first winning season in five years.  They need to go at least 8-12 the rest of the way.

Bishop Kelly alum Nick Symmonds looks to make history tonight in Moscow.  Short of that, he could end a 16-year U.S. drought if he wins a medal in the 800 meters at the IAAF World Track and Field Championships.  But if the medal is gold or silver, it would be the first ever won by an American in that event.  Symmonds will be up against countryman Duane Solomon, the fastest qualifier Sunday.  Solomon, the U.S. champion, owns the top time in the world this year at 1:43.27—Symmonds is fourth at 1:43.67.  Both Solomon and Symmonds ran personal bests at the 2012 Summer Olympics but finished fourth and fifth, respectively, in an epic race in London.  Kenya’s David Rudisha won in world record time, but he’s out now with injuries, as is last year’s silver medalist, Nijel Amos of Botswana.

T.K. Kim is on the bubble at the U.S. Amateur Championship at The Country Club in Brookline, MA.  Kim shot a two-over 72 yesterday in the first round of stroke play competition that will determine the match play field beginning tomorrow.  The former Boise State standout is tied for 58th in the 312-player field—the top 64 advance.  Kim made national tournament after winning the two-round local qualifier by five strokes with a strong 12-under performance at Falcon Crest two weeks ago. 

This Day In Sports…August 13, 1939:

The New York Yankees win by three touchdowns.  The Yanks set an American League record for margin of victory in a shutout in a 21-0 humbling of the Philadelphia A’s, a mark that would stand for 65 years—until the Yankees were blanked 22-0 in 2004 by Cleveland.  The 1939 season was emotional one for the Yanks, as this milestone came less than six weeks after Lou Gehrig’s gripping 4th of July retirement speech in New York.  They would go on to win another pennant and sweep the Cincinnati Reds in the World Series.

(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.)