Sunday, Nov 3 at 6:09 PM
Wednesday, August 25, 2010.
Thayer Evans, the senior college football writer for Fox Sports.com, was in town during fall camp to cover Boise State. Evans dug up something I hadn’t heard yet. It’s this year’s Bronco motto: “Every Damn Day.” Coach Chris Petersen told Evans it’s all about “spectacular attitude” and “relentless effort.” These are not new concepts in Broncoland. But I like the way that motto sums up what lies ahead for Boise State. “Leave No Doubt” and “Prove It” were pretty good in 2002 and 2003, but “Every Damn Day” gets it said as the new decade dawns.
Some random thoughts on the final day of Bronco practice open to the media. As the picture clears on the offensive line, nagging injuries can muddy it up. A healthy Charles Leno was working with the second team at left tackle while Matt Slater toiled with the 1’s. Faraji Wright was nicked up and sat out. The rest of the line was in accordance with what we’ve seen, with Nate Potter and Will Lawrence at the guards and Brenel Myers at right tackle—and Joe Kellogg still supplanting Thomas Byrd as first-team center. Joe Southwick looked good in a crisp no-huddle drill, hitting Mitch Burroughs with a 37-yard touchdown pass. And Kellen Moore seems to have a sixth sense about practice and its importance. During a pitchout drill, one aimed for Doug Martin hit the ground. Moore, with game face on, dove on the fumble to recover it.
Everything’s starting to feel like football except the weather, as we’re getting to know Virginia Tech a little more every day. The Hokies would be first to tell you they have some holes to fill on defense this season, with seven new starters coming in. The most significant position as it pertains to the Boise State game is at cornerback. Jayron Hosely is the favorite for the crucial open corner spot after making an impact on special teams last year as a true freshman. He didn’t play that much corner, though, posting only 11 tackles for the season. Hosely is competing with junior Cris Hill, a tremendous athlete who’s been expected to evolve into a starter for two years. But Hill has a habit of mental errors, which lessens his chances of playing time against the Boise State offense.
Watching practice on the blue turf yesterday only reinforced the notion that the Boise State offense didn’t show a scrap of its game plan for Virginia Tech in last Saturday’s public scrimmage. Talking to Bob Behler, I called it vanilla. He called it “vanilla extract.” That would not be breaking news about 2500 miles to our east. Word out of fall camp in Blacksburg, VA, is that every day during scout team time in practice, a trick play is run against the Virginia Tech defense. The Hokies want to be thinking about that at all times going into their game against the Broncos.
It’s been a week now since the bloody Wednesday that left the Mountain West recoiling and the WAC reeling. The elephant in the room remains the future of “the mtn.” network, and how it pertains to BYU. It’s coming down to whether the conference will blow up that ill-fated TV contract and make concessions that would inspire BYU to stay—or keep everybody frustrated while waving bye-bye to the Cougars. The question would then become: if BYU is allowed some leeway in negotiating games with ESPN, would the rest of the Mountain West get the same consideration? Specifically Boise State, which has been a regular on the Worldwide Leader for the past seven years? It is understood that BYU has leverage that nobody else has in working out a TV solution. But don’t Boise State and TCU have at least a little?
Dick Harmon of the Deseret News lays it all out in a column yesterday. He points out that the TV deal with the mtn. and CSTV and CBS and Comcast has only gotten worse since its inception in 2006. Harmon sees the best situation for BYU being an invitation to the Big 12. The second-best, he says, would to be figuring out a way to make independence work. And, Harmon writes, “The third-best situation, is for a ‘concession-giving’ MWC to re-work the TV contract to allow the only team in the league with the capability of creating and using a facility like (BYU-TV) the right to do so; a net gain of exposure for both. If this goes forward and if BYU can influence the agenda, it should insist Utah State become a 12th member. What is unacceptable for BYU, in my opinion, is the status quo. And I predict it will not stand.”
There are some hard feelings around what remains of the WAC. Ferd Lewis of the Honolulu Star-Advertiser has penned a column headlined, “WAC needs to hold defectors accountable for their treason.” Lewis interviewed Kenneth Mortimer, who was University of Hawaii president when the Mountain West mutineers decided to break away in 1998. Mortimer thought back then that the “breakaway eight” may have committed a felony and supported plans for a mega-lawsuit. But it would have been messy, and the WAC never took it to court. Writes Lewis, “Had the WAC persisted in its suit—and prevailed—in the last go-around you wonder if this latest mutiny would have gone down as it did. Would Fresno State and Nevada have dared to be part of a solidarity pledge only to weasel out?
“We'll never know, of course. But it should be food for thought as what is left of the WAC goes about its deliberations. We're told the remaining schools have had at least two lengthy sessions with their legal counsel since the ambush went down, and the hope is they are talking about more than how to collect the $5 million buyout fees due them.” Lewis had this from Mortimer: “My advice to them now would be: consult your lawyers and back your commissioner." Lewis concludes: “If the WAC sits on its hands this time, it deserves what has befallen it.”
Injury news as it pertains to former Boise State standouts: Buffalo tight end Derek Schouman suffered another knee injury last Thursday in the Bills’ 34-21 exhibition win over the Colts. Chris Brown of Buffalo Bills.com writes that Schouman is expected to be out three to six weeks. Meanwhile, Richie Brockel was inactive for San Diego’s 16-14 loss to Dallas last Saturday due to what is being termed a bruised shoulder suffered the previous week against the Bears. He has not practiced yet this week, leaving him doubtful for the Chargers’ game Friday against New Orleans. Brockel, playing primarily tight end in addition to his usual special teams work, has been one of the surprise players during the Bolts’ training camp.
Under the new split-season format, the Boise Hawks could have still earned a spot in the Northwest League Playoffs if Spokane were to win the second half race and the Hawks had the next-best overall record in the East Division. But their series in Vancouver may have done in the Hawks for good in that quest. The Canadians took four of five games, culminating with a 5-1 win yesterday. The Hawks, who have now dropped 21 of their last 30 contests, went 17 innings without scoring before Elliot Soto drove in Micah Gibbs with a bloop single in the seventh inning. The Hawks’ Western Idaho Fair road trip continues tonight in Pasco against the Tri-City Dust Devils.
A little catchup from vacation: In the Cubs’ first game following the retirement of manager Lou Piniella, former Boise Hawk Casey Coleman notched his first major league victory in a 9-1 rout of Washington Monday night. Coleman got the start and went 6 1/3 innings, allowing the one Nationals run on just three hits. The 23-year-old righthander also knocked in a run on his first big league hit. Coleman allowed six runs in 2 1/3 innings in his major league debut three weeks ago—his ERA has dropped from 23.14 that night to a serviceable 5.68 now.
This Day In Sports…August 25, 1996:
The launching pad for what will become, if not the greatest, the most interesting career in the history of golf. Tiger Woods won the U.S. Amateur Championship for a record third straight year. It was the following week that he turned pro. Woods started playing golf when he was two years old, and at the age of three he shot a 48 over nine holes, leading to a putting contest against Bob Hope on the Mike Douglas Show. Then came a slew of junior championships in the 1980’s and early 90’s, and the rest is you-know-what.
(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.)