Thursday, May 27, 2010.
Ryan Dinwiddie is ready for another shot in the CFL, in more ways than one. Just last Saturday he was in the mountains, rafting the South Fork of the Boise River with friends in rain mixed with snow during the coldest May 22 ever. So how bad can Canada be? Dinwiddie, released during training camp last June by the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, has signed with the Saskatchewan Roughriders. He was an assistant coach at Mountain View High last fall, but the former Boise State star is still itching to take snaps himself. Dinwiddie was a backup for the Bombers for three seasons, though he did start the 2007 Grey Cup game for the CFL championship—against Saskatchewan. The Roughriders’ camp opens Sunday. Dinwiddie will be competing for a roster spot with fellow new signee Todd Reesing, who led Kansas to the 2008 Orange Bowl win over Virginia Tech.
For Dinwiddie, it’s always been about getting a shot. At 6-0, 180 pounds on a good day, he was passed over by the Pac-10 and was scooped up by then-Bronco coach Dirk Koetter in the 1999 recruiting class. Dinwiddie set Boise State career records for passing yards (9,819) and TD passes (82) and was named WAC Offensive Player of the Year in 2003. He went undrafted the following April and signed with the Chicago Bears, never taking so much as a snap in a preseason game. After a stint in NFL Europe, Dinwiddie landed in Canada. He’ll turn 30 years old in November.
In this week’s Sporting News, Dave Curtis does a story on Chris Petersen’s spring break tour. Petersen visited Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Oregon, while other coaches conducted a trick play clinic of sorts with Texas. One thing we hadn’t heard was that while Petersen was checking out the Ducks, he had an unplanned chat with LeGarrette Blount. It was the first time Pete had been around the former Oregon running back since standing right next to Blount when he punched out the Broncos’ Byron Hout last September. “He had a real positive attitude,” said Petersen in SN. “Hopefully, he’ll use his opportunity in the NFL and have a long career.”
Also in the Sporting News, there’s a panel debate over the best running back in the Pac-10. Is it Oregon State’s Jacquizz Rodgers, who will be on the blue turf September 25, or Oregon’s LaMichael James, who became the Ducks’ feature back after Blount’s suspension? It’s close, but Boise State fans need to be fully cognizant of what their team is getting when Quizz comes to town. “I can’t think of anyone who changes direction faster than Rodgers does,” says ESPN’s Rod Gilmore, who does a lot of Boise State games for the network. ESPN analyst Ed Cunningham pegs Rodgers as the most likely of the two to be a Heisman Trophy finalist. “If Rodgers can stay healthy, with an unknown quantity at quarterback, his numbers will be staggering,” says Cunningham.
Part of June Jones’ old guard at the University of Hawaii is gone. Ron Lee, the Warriors’ receivers coach under Jones during the heyday of the run-and-shoot, has resigned. Lee had become the UH offensive coordinator under current coach Greg McMackin but was reassigned to “assistant offensive coordinator” early this year when McMackin promoted Nick Rolovich to OC. Rolovich started calling the plays after the first game of 2009, but the fact remains: the Warriors offense is a shadow of its former self. Word in Honolulu is that Mouse Davis, the 77-year-old creator of the run-and-shoot, is interested in returning to Hawaii. Also at UH, quarterback Bryant Moniz has returned to the program after an extended “personal leave,” and former Warrior star wide receiver Ashley Lelie will be a student manager with the team this season.
While Davey Hamilton was rehabbing the leg injuries he suffered in his horrific 2001 crash at Texas Motor Speedway—and it took years—he settled back into the Treasure Valley and became the front man for Meridian Speedway. But his goal was always to get back to the Indianapolis 500, which he did in 2007. Hamilton can’t let that feeling go. He and his family moved back to Jamestown, IN, in 2009 to be close to the Brickyard, and Sunday he races in his 10th Indy. This will be one of only three events Hamilton competes in this year, but that’s two more than usual since his accident. The next will be the first weekend of June at…Texas Motor Speedway.
No matter what happens from here, Boise State’s Pichittra Thongdach will finish her college career in a blaze of glory. The Thai wonder pulled the upset of the day in the women’s tournament yesterday at the NCAA Individual National Championships in Athens, GA. Thongdach brought down 10th-ranked Denise Dy of Washington, rallying from a 2-6 setback in the first set to blow out the Huskies star in the final two sets, 6-1, 6-1. Thongdach joins teammate Lauren Megale today in doubles. The 45th-ranked pair takes on No. 17 Alexa Guarachi and Courtney McLane of Alabama. On the men’s side, Boise State’s James Meredith fell to Bassam Beidas of Pepperdine, 7-6, 6-3. Meredith was hoping for the upset—he had defeated Beidas earlier in the year 6-2, 6-4.
There’s one former Boise Hawk on the Sporting News’ annual list of the top 50 players in the majors. John Lackey checks in at No. 46, and he backed it up last night in Boston’s 11-3 victory over Tampa Bay. Lackey allowed two runs on eight hits in 6 1/3 innings as he improved to 5-3 in his first season with the Red Sox. The 6-6 righthander was lights-out when the Rays were threatening. They went just 1-for-13 against Lackey with runners in scoring position.
One note on yesterday’s column: if you’re Salt Lake-savvy, you certainly picked up on the confusion between the Salt Lake Tribune’s Gordon Monson and the Deseret News’ Dick Harmon before I got it fixed. I had a bad, bad day. Sorry about that.
This Day In Sports…May 27, 1968:
Chicago Bears owner George Halas retires as the coach of his team for the fourth and final time. The 73-year-old “Papa Bear” began his pro football career in the early 1920’s when the team was the Decatur (IL) Staleys and he was its player-coach-owner. During his 40 years as coach, Halas won 324 games (an NFL record that wouldn’t be broken until 1994 by Don Shula) and seven championships.
(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 1350 KTIK/The Ticket. He’s also handled color commentary on KTVB’s telecasts of Boise State football the last five seasons.)