Monday, January 30, 2012.
You’ve probably seen the two potential Kellen Moore touchdown passes at the Senior Bowl that were dropped by North receivers multiple times now. If, like they say, NFL front office personnel had left Mobile before the game, at least they saw it on TV. The fact that Moore was 6-of-12 for 50 yards with no TDs and no interceptions is beside the point. Were there glimpses of the real Kellen out there? I would submit that the two drops were due in part to receivers unaccustomed to Moore’s “anticipatory throws,” as NFL Network’s Mike Mayock calls them. Iowa’s Marvin McNutt and Ohio State’s DeVier Posey weren’t ready to have the ball five feet from their breadbaskets when they turned to look for it. Furthermore, Moore’s 13-play, 8½-minute fourth quarter drive that led to the North’s clinching field goal was classic. On to the NFL Combine next month.
The Boise State representative who improved his draft stock the most? Let’s call it a tie between Doug Martin and Shea McClellin. Martin had only four carries for 19 yards, but that’s still almost five yards a carry. And Martin drew raves all week for being a complete football player, and it showed in the Senior Bowl in his blocking and on special teams, where he had one kickoff return for 25 yards. The same can be said for McClellin, who displayed not only versatility, but flexibility. The former Marsing Husky was asked to change positions at the beginning of the week—and he learned and thrived at linebacker, making four tackles in the game.
We’re two days from National Letter of Intent Day, and Scout.com reports that Boise State picked up two more verbal commitments over the weekend. One is sizeable—literally. Mario Yakoo is a 6-4, 320-pound offensive guard from Spring Valley, CA. Yakoo decommitted from UCLA a week ago. The other is defensive end Darien Barrett, a 6-4, 235-pounder from Inglewood, CA. Barrett had given a verbal to San Diego State last fall. We’ll see now if the Broncos hang onto all their commits the next 48 hours.
How about Pat Hill working under Dirk Koetter? Hill, the former Fresno State coach, has been hired as offensive line coach in Atlanta. That’s where Koetter, the former Boise State coach, recently became offensive coordinator for the Falcons. Hill thus comes full circle—he took over Fresno State in 1997 after five seasons as O-line coach for the Cleveland Browns and Baltimore Ravens. He was fired by the Bulldogs after he wrapped up his 15th year in Fresno with a 4-9 record.
Boise State may have gained confidence by hanging with UNLV into overtime last Wednesday. But that was sapped quickly by Wyoming Saturday. The Cowboys put the lid on the Broncos early, then wrapped a 24-4 run around halftime to take a not-as-close-as-it-sounds 75-64 win in Taco Bell Arena. It’s difficult to defend a team that shoots 66 percent from the field like Wyo did. But Boise State has to do its part offensively, and it’s finding the Mountain West to be relentless. At the end of November, the Broncos were averaging 85½ points per game. That’s now down to 72½ per game as January draws to a close.
Boise State has encountered deliberate, grind-it-out systems in three of its first five Mountain West games. And all three times—versus Air Force, TCU and Wyoming—the Broncos had the tempo dictated to them. I mentioned this last week, but these teams have a Bobby Dye feel to them. When the former Boise State coach’s system was at its peak in the late 1980’s, it would break the will of its foes. The Broncos would make the other guys play defense for almost 35 seconds every possession, not by standing around and milking the shot clock, but by moving the ball in a purposeful frenzy until their opponents just didn’t want to deal with it anymore. Hey, maybe it’s worth a call to Dye in Carlsbad, CA, to ask him how he thinks that offense can be defended. Time to mend fences with Bobby anyway.
The Idaho Stampede have climbed to .500 only once this season, back on December 16. They had two more chances in late December to even their record, without success. Now the Stampede are fairly far away after dropping both ends of their East Coast road swing at Springfield and Maine. The Stamps are 8-16 with losses in nine of their last 11 games and are mired in last place in the D-League’s West Conference. The Stampede’s Antoine Walker returned last week to the region where he made his mark as an NBA All-Star with the Boston Celtics. The 35-year-old Walker was held to seven points at Springfield, but Friday night at Maine he had 19 points, six rebounds and five assists.
The casual hockey fan probably didn’t mind seeing the Idaho Steelheads and Utah Grizzlies get back to some semblance of normalcy. The two teams infamously combined for 127 penalty minutes in a Steelheads road win two weeks ago tonight. In two games over the weekend, with each club winning on its home ice, they combined for less than half of that—62 minutes total. The spotlight went back to Idaho goalie Jerry Kuhn, who stopped 66 of the 69 shots he faced in the split. The next time Kuhn gets a breather, it won’t be Jimmy Spratt spelling him. Spratt was traded to Utah Saturday, and the Steelies added netminder Bryan Hince, picked up in an earlier trade with Greenville.
Former Boise State standout Graham DeLaet missed the cut by three shots at the Farmers Insurance open Friday, following a one-over 73 in the first round with a 72 at Torrey Pines. So DeLaet moves on empty-handed for the week as he works toward retaining his PGA Tour card. He has 24 tournaments left on his medical exemption and needs $635,411 total in those events to keep his card.This Day In Sports…January 30, 2004:
The Mountain West Conference extends—and TCU accepts—an invitation to join the league in 2005. It was a disappointing day for Boise State, which had hoped to be included in the Mountain West’s expansion. Commissioner Craig Thompson said the conference’s expansion talks would “at least pause, or cease,” while BSU president Robert Kustra tried to mobilize the money it would take to make the school a viable candidate in the future. Now, TCU is on its way out, and Boise State is in—temporarily.
(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.)