Tuesday, Nov 5 at 4:41 PM
Tuesday, August 30, 2011.
We thought Chris Petersen’s session with the media was over yesterday. Cameras had shut off, and pens and pads were being put away. Then Petersen said he had one more thing he wanted to mention. And it became the story of the day. Boise State running back Malcomb Johnson tore his ACL in practice Sunday night and is lost for the season. “It was a kickoff drill and we weren’t even going against ourselves.” said Petersen. “He just planted weird. That’s a tough one to take.” No doubt—especially for Johnson. The much-heralded plum of the 2009 recruiting class lost his scholarship a year ago and left school. Johnson got his academic house in order at Mt. Hood Community College and was allowed to walk on again this month. Then he had an outstanding fall camp and was slated to be the Broncos’ No. 3 running back.
The loss of a third-teamer might not seem that glaring, but there’s more to it than that. Johnson was going to be insurance behind Doug Martin and D.J. Harper—and you know what Harper’s last two seasons have been like. It looked like Boise State had a wildcat package designed for Johnson. He was also going to be a key contributor on special teams, which happens to be where he was injured Sunday night. “Against air,” said Petersen. Not even any contact. The Bronco staff is evaluating the status of true freshman running back Jay Ajayi as we speak. Obviously, this development may squelch plans to redshirt Ajayi.
The word “or” on the first Boise State depth chart of the season tells you a lot about who earned his stripes during fall camp. Sometimes it’s just two really good players at one spot, like Kyle Efaw “or” Gabe Linehan starting at tight end. Even Matt Miller “or” Geraldo Boldewijn at one wide receiver spot. But when junior middle linebacker Tommy Smith gets an “or” next to someone like Byron Hout, that’s saying something. It must be gratifying for Smith as he heads home to play in front of family and friends in Atlanta Saturday night.
Senior defensive end Jarrell Root got an “or” next to Shea McClellin and Tyrone Crawford on either side of the D-line (true freshman Tyler Horn isn’t listed as second team). J.C. Percy earned an “or” with Aaron Tevis at outside linebacker. And the Broncos have Hunter White “or” Jonathan Brown at the nickel spot. Petersen said yesterday the Broncos’ placekicker is yet to be decided, hence the “or” between Dan Goodale and Michael Frisina.
Stewart Mandel’s first BCS bowl projections have what he calls “one notable omission: Boise State...or any other non-AQ team.” Writes Mandel: “At least one has earned a berth every year since the BCS expanded to five games in 2006 and lowered the threshold for a guaranteed berth from top six to top 12. But conference realignment has left the Mountain West as arguably the lone league possessing programs with enough credibility to earn such respect, and I have a feeling Boise, TCU and San Diego State may all knock each other off. I reserve the right to make an immediate revision next week if the Broncos crush Georgia.”
Today is the first big NFL cutdown day, and we’ll see what happens with Ian Johnson. He’s received a lot of game work with Detroit this month, but the results have been less than stellar. In the Lions’ rout of the Patriots last Saturday, Ian had 11 carries for 32 yards, including a 22-yard run. That means Ian’s other 10 attempts went for only 10 yards. Others watching the transaction wire today include undrafted BSU free agents Ryan Winterswyk, Richie Brockel, Tommy Gallarda, and Winston Venable. A lot of activity is already in the books—the Cardinals have cut former Idaho wide receiver Max Komar, and the Steelers have released former Vandal wideout Eric Greenwood.
The Boise Hawks come home tonight to open their final series of the season, a five-gamer against the Vancouver Canadians. The Hawks could extend their summer past Saturday if they take care of their business and get some help to secure the East Division’s second spot in the Northwest League Playoffs. Individually, eyes will be on Paul Hoilman, who’s looking at both ends of the record book. Hoilman needs one home run to tie and two to break Russ Canzler’s single-season Hawks record of 16 back in 2006. On the other hand, Hoilman is one strikeout away from breaking the franchise record; he goes into tonight’s game with 99 K’s. He’s also in danger of eclipsing the league record of 106 by Lee Tinsley in 1989. (Hoilman can take heart, though—Tinsley made the majors.)
John Daly is staying after school in a couple weeks. Daly, already set to play in the Michelob Ultra Shootout benefit Monday, September 12, at Hillcrest Country Club, will now play the main event that week, the Albertsons Boise Open. Hard to believe it’s been 20 years since Daly won the PGA Championship. He had played the inaugural Boise Open the year before, in 1990. Daly’s career has been rather checkered, but I’d expect he’d be on the up-and-up for this event.
The Idaho Stampede have released their 2011-12 schedule, and there’ll be plenty of opportunities to see them at the beginning and at the end. The Stampede will play seven of their first nine games and six of their final nine in newly-renamed CenturyLink Arena. The season begins at home on Thanksgiving weekend, on Friday, November 25, against the Tulsa 66ers. Among the different twists on this season’s slate are a couple December games against the yet-to-be-named Canton, OH, team, the former New Mexico Thunderbirds. And the L.A. D-Fenders, the Lakers affiliate, are back and will play in Boise four times this winter. On the other side of CenturyLink Arena, the Idaho Steelheads have signed rookie forwards Kyle Reed and Greg Beller. Reed made his pro debut last March with the Steelies.
It could be considered a posturing opportunity for the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, but for Nick Symmonds it’s the ol’ “one race at a time” routine. And tonight’s race is a big one. The Bishop Kelly grad goes for world gold in Daegu, South Korea, in the finals of the 800 meters at the World Track and Field Championships. Symmonds picked up his fourth U.S. crown in the 800 in June.
This Day In Sports…August 30, 2002:
For the first time in nine tries, major league players and owners reach a collective bargaining agreement without a work stoppage. The deal was announced just hours before the deadline for a players strike, which would likely had wiped out the 2002 World Series (at least). There was a sense of desperation this time, because a majority fans across the country were prepared to abandon big league baseball forever had the players walked.
(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.)