Monday, January 31, 2011.
If you’ve ever listened to Leon Rice, you know he’s not one to go over the edge. But Boise State’s first-year coach came as close as he may come Saturday night after the Broncos’ 70-60 loss at Louisiana Tech. While he was cool, calm and collected on KBOI’s postgame show, Rice bemoaned some “stupid” plays his team made after building a 12-point first half lead over the Bulldogs. “We know we’re not Harvard out there, but we can’t be doing some of the stupid things we did tonight.” said Rice. Defensive lapses and poor offensive execution, among other things, dropped Boise State into a tie for fourth place in the WAC with Idaho at 5-4. Could be an interesting week of practice.
Rice also expressed plenty of disappointment over Boise State’s shooting, which has been especially abysmal from three-point range. The Broncos were 3-of-17 from beyond the arc in Ruston—and they were an astounding 6-of-37 for the week. La’Shard Anderson, the team’s senior catalyst this season, typified Boise State’s struggles, going 1-of-10 on trey attempts in the two games. Free throws only made things worse, as the Broncos shot just 60 percent for the week. Daequon Montreal needs some props, though. Montreal is one guy who isn’t slumping, going 10-of-17 from the field and 9-of-10 from the free throw line on the trip.
Boise State’s Titus Young and Austin Pettis started the Senior Bowl Saturday, with Washington’s Jake Locker at quarterback for the North. And that was strike one for Young and Pettis. Locker was not sharp in the 24-10 loss to the South. Young ended up with two catches for 27 yards and Pettis with one for 26. But, as was emphasized all last week, the most important evaluations by scouts came in practice, and that’s where Young and Pettis (especially Young) really stood out.
In the case of Titus, though, there are still things to work through if you listen to the National Football Post’s Dan Pompei. “Teams are conflicted on Young,” writes Pompei. “He was an absolute star in practices, inspiring one front office man to compare him with DeSean Jackson. But his interviews were a little concerning. He also might have a little DeSean in him as far as his personality goes.”
Among the other observations coming out of practice week at the Senior Bowl, this from ESPN.com: “Young runs crisp routes in the short to intermediate passing game. He seems to have the advantage in technical and mechanical areas.” Are you going where I’m going with this? Like, coaching? “Young is a savvy and confident route runner and is capable of getting (a cornerback) turned around or forcing him to open his hips before he should and taking advantage of him with double moves.” The effect of coaching on Titus cannot be understated, especially now that he’s poised to go in the first three rounds of the NFL Draft. Young’s offensive coordinator, Bryan Harsin, and his position coach, Brent Pease, will never get enough credit. Pease earned his 2010 FootballScoop Wide Receivers Coach of the Year award.
This is the week for former Boise State stars and current Green Bay Packers Korey Hall and Daryn College, as Super Bowl XLV against the Steelers is staring them right in the face now. Hall said Friday on Idaho SportsTalk that the extra week following the NFC Championship Game has given him time to get his strained knee back to 100 percent. It was less than that in the win over the Bears eight days ago, when he played only special teams. “I was fortunate to get through that game without any further injury,” said Hall of his ailing knee.” It’s feeling really good now.” Hall hopes to get back into the rotation at fullback this Sunday behind popular starter John Kuhn.
Idaho Steelheads goalie Tyler Beskorowany was plenty taxed Friday and Saturday as he keyed a pair of wins at Stockton. Beskorowany stopped 68 of the 72 shots he faced in 4-3 and 4-1 victories. He also stoned all five Thunder attempts in a shootout Friday night. Beskorowany got a break last night, and backup Jase Weslosky did what he could. But Stockton got a shootout win back in a 5-4 decision. All in all a good weekend for the Steelies, though. Evan Barlow, who returned to the team from Norway on New Year’s Eve, continues to make a difference, as he had two more assists last night. Barlow has registered at least two points in four straight games. The Steelheads host the Ontario Reign tomorrow night in Qwest Arena.
The second former Nevada star to be sent down to the Idaho Stampede from the Blazers this season looked as good as the first Saturday night. Armon Johnson got in the flow with 23 points off the bench as the Stampede downed Fort Wayne, 106-99. They had lost by 15 points to the Mad Ants Friday night, when the newly-arrived Johnson got his orientation in with four points in 22 minutes. The Saturday victory was ebb-and-flow—the Stamps led by 20 at the end of the third quarter but allowed an astonishing 44 points in the final stanza to win by seven. Ironically for Johnson, the Stamps’ next games are against the Reno Bighorns this Friday and Saturday in Qwest Arena.
Lest you think all of the homepage at Bronco Sports.com was downer-type reading after the sweeps of the Boise State men’s and women’s basketball and tennis teams Saturday, the tennis squads rebounded Sunday. The men stopped Wisconsin, 4-0, and the women beat Harvard, 4-3. Then there was the 10th-ranked Bronco wrestling team, which routed Stanford 35-3 Friday night in Taco Bell Arena before hammering 20th-ranked Oregon State yesterday in Corvallis, 31-6. The Broncos and Beavers had wrestled to an 18-18 tie back on November 13 in Boise, but BSU has been superior since, also winning 24-12 over OSU earlier this month at the Cliff Keen Duals in Iowa.
This Day In Sports…January 31, 1988:
Washington Redskin Doug Williams, the first black quarterback to start a Super Bowl, goes 9-of-11 for 228 yards and four touchdowns, while rookie teammate Tim Smith rushes for 122 yards and a TD—all in the second quarter. The Redskins amass a Super Bowl record 602 yards to brand the Denver Broncos, 42-10, in Super Bowl XXII. Williams finishes the day with 340 yards passing and earns the game’s MVP honor.
(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.)