Monday, August 27, 2012.
Boise State coach Chris Petersen isn’t one to hand his starting quarterback spot to the guy who’s really been trying hard, who’s spent a lot of time in the film room, who’s been around the longest. Those things all happen to be true of junior Joe Southwick, who was publicly named the Broncos’ starting quarterback yesterday. But Petersen was going to play the best guy, even if it was true freshman Nick Patti. It wasn’t, though. Trying really hard? “Mentally we can do as much with Joe as anyone we’ve had,” said Petersen. Film room? “He knows what’s going on,” Petersen said. “When there’s uncertainty where to go with the ball, he knows the offense inside-out.” Been around the longest? “He’s prepared very hard the last three years, going on four,” said Petersen. “He just needs to now go out and be the player that we know he can be.”
It’s been a long wait for Southwick. During his true freshman year in 2009, he was—in effect—Boise State’s No. 2 quarterback behind Kellen Moore. Petersen knew at that time he had a good one. “You can tell when a guy knows what he’s doing out there,” said Petersen. Southwick prepared for all the games and traveled on all the road trips. But the Broncos never had to use him, preserving his redshirt year. Three years later, Southwick knows the significance of his new perch. “I don’t think words can ever describe what Kellen did for Boise State,” said Southwick. “I’m just going to control what I can control.” One of those things is preparation, and he learned from the master. “Just watching Kellen—he had a great blueprint of what a great quarterback does.”
There’s no “or” on the Boise State depth chart at quarterback. Grant Hedrick is listed as the No. 2 quarterback behind Southwick, with Jimmy Laughrea No. 3. “Grant’s a little ahead of Jimmy at this point, but the competition’s always open,” Petersen said. The plan right now is to redshirt Patti, save a year of his eligibility, and allow him to grow in the offense. “We would like that in the ideal world, but this (depth chart) just gets us started,” said Petersen.
Boise State has made most of its decisions on activating true freshmen out of the gate. Jack Fields will provide extra punch at tailback after putting together an impressive fall camp. Wide receiver Shane Williams-Rhodes will play as true freshman. With the Broncos’ depth at wideout, that’s saying something. Petersen wouldn’t tip his hand on the role of the 5-6, 154-pound multi-faceted threat. Also active will be linebacker Tyler Gray, who is actually No. 2 behind J.C. Percy at weak-side linebacker, and grayshirt tight end Hayden Plinke, the imposing 6-4, 255 pounder.
There’s a new wrinkle in Kellen Moore’s quest to make the Detroit roster. Lions starter Matthew Stafford left Saturday night’s game in Oakland with a hand injury, so that may influence whether the team carries three quarterbacks instead of two. Kellen took a baby step in the 31-20 loss to the Raiders, going 10-of-19 for 87 yards, with one touchdown and one interception. The TD was the first thrown by a former Boise State quarterback in NFL history—regular season, preseason, anything—a 10-yarder to tight end Alex Gottlieb late in the fourth quarter. Moore will play a lot Thursday night in the exhibition finale versus Buffalo.
Three other performances of note among the 26 former Broncos in the NFL: Doug Martin may be closing in on the starting tailback spot for Tampa Bay after rushing for 53 yards on 13 carries with a touchdown in a 30-28 win over New England. Included was a dazzling 19-yard run that observers said should have only gone for “four or five.” Jeron Johnson continued his strong preseason with five tackles and a fumble recovery in Seattle’s 44-14 victory over Kansas City. And a forerunner of Johnson at free safety at Boise State, Quintin Mikell, had the same stats—five tackles and a fumble recovery in the Rams’ 20-19 loss at Dallas.
Boise State and San Diego State faced each other in football last season for the first time ever. The Broncos and Aztecs met in men’s basketball last winter for the first time in more than 35 years. Yet the two schools are oddly joined at the hip. San Diego State needed Boise State to justify its move to the Big East in football. Consequently, the Broncos needed the Aztecs to help get them into the Big West. So, with almost no history between them, BSU and SDSU have one of the strongest working relationships in college sports. It’s nice to have that Big West thing done.
The reviews of the Dona Larsen Park debut Friday night have been positive—intimate, loud, and appropriate as a venue for high school football. The stadium also enjoyed a temporary respite from heat and smoke on a picture-perfect night. It was a landmark for the Boise Braves as well, as they posted a 38-24 win, beating the cross-town rival Borah Lions for only the fifth time in their last 16 tries.
The Boise Hawks lost at Vancouver yesterday, 5-1. But that was a footnote to Saturday night, when an 8-6 win over the Canadians gave the Hawks the second half title in the Northwest League East Division. Therefore, the season will not end this Saturday for Boise. The Hawks will host the Yakima Bears in Game 1 of the East Divisional Series on Labor Day at Memorial Stadium. Game 2 and Game 3 (if necessary) will be in Yakima—so last week’s visit to the Central Washington city was not the Hawks’ last ever. The Bears will try to go out in a blaze of glory before departing Yakima for Hillsboro, OR, next year. Boise is 21-12 in the second half of the season.
Here’s what I wrote Friday: “It’ll take a Herculean round today for DeLaet to make the cut.” Graham DeLaet had shot a four-over 75 in the first round of The Barclays last Thursday and was tied for 104th. But the former Boise State star had a Herculean weekend, including a sizzling six-under 65 yesterday in the final round, catapulting him to a tie for fifth and earning him $281,000. That pushed DeLaet’s season winnings over the $1 million mark. He also zoomed up 62 spots to 44th place in FedEx Cup standings. The Barclays was the first of four events in the PGA Tour Playoffs—DeLaet now advances to the Deutsche Bank Championship this week at TPC Boston.
This Day In Sports…August 27, 1982, 30 years ago today:
Rickey Henderson of the Oakland A’s, who got his professional start in Boise six years earlier, steals four bases in a 5-4 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers and breaks Lou Brock’s major league single-season record of 118 (set in 1974). That brought Henderson’s season total to 122 in 127 games; he’d end up with 130. He’s also baseball’s career leader, with 1,406 stolen bases in 25 seasons.
(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.)