Sunday, Nov 3 at 6:09 PM
Tuesday, August 31, 2010.
The last time we saw Doug Martin officially, he was flipping into the end zone with Boise State’s winning touchdown at University of Phoenix Stadium. Now he’ll retain his place on the big stage next Monday night, as the Broncos’ newly-released depth chart has him as the starting running back at FedEx Field against Virginia Tech. And to think Martin was a backup nickelbacker on defense one year ago. Once he dusted off his running shoes following D.J. Harper’s September injury, Martin rolled up 15 rushing touchdowns, including that Fiesta Bowl exclamation point. He gives the Boise State running game its best chance against a fast, physical, elite defense like that of the Hokies. Jeremy Avery and Harper are listed as co-backups to Martin. If I was a bettin’ man, I’d say Harper gets the second-most amount of work against Virginia Tech.
As usual, the word “or” dots the Boise State depth chart. Joe Southwick and Mike Coughlin sharing the No. 2 spot (at least on paper) is not a surprise at this point. As a testament to their emergence in fall camp, Tyrone Crawford and Kharyee Marshall are listed as co-backups with Jarrell Root at defensive end. There’s one “or” in the starting lineup, and the Bronco staff couldn’t be happier about it. As well as Derrell Acrey has been playing as he prepares for his senior year, Byron Hout’s transition to middle linebacker has been seamless. The ever-versatile Hout shares the starting designation with the ever-animated Acrey.
At Boise State, there’s significance in getting credit for being No. 3. A standard depth chart goes two deep, so when the Broncos go beyond that, they feel strongly about the players listed. Boise State has four tight ends on its chart—and that’s in addition to fullbacks Dan Paul and Jake Hess. Included in the rotation behind Tommy Gallarda and Kyle Efaw are their heirs-apparent, Chandler Koch and Gabe Linehan. Koch and Linehan had outstanding fall camps and have been rewarded for such. It’s a natural that highly-touted redshirt freshmen Geraldo Hiwat and Aaron Burks are noted as third-teamers as wide receivers. But it’s a tribute to sophomore wideout Tyler Jackson that he’s on the chart as the No. 3 slot receiver. Jackson moved from the secondary and has made tremendous progress.
There’s a defensive dichotomy at Virginia Tech. On the one hand is coaching and tradition, as defensive coordinator Bud Foster came with coach Frank Beamer from Murray State in 1987 and has been D.C. since 1995. It was defense as much as the Tyrod Taylor and Ryan Williams-fueled offense that closed out last year’s 10-3 season and Chick-fil-A Bowl win over Nebraska. The Hokies have not allowed a point in the second half of their last five games. But Foster has to reload in a hurry, as only six players on Tech’s 2010 roster have started two or more games for the Hokies on defense.
We did know that next Monday night’s game will be ESPN’s first official 3D telecast of a college football game. But I did not know this: the network will have an entirely different crew for the 3D version. While Brent Musberger, Kirk Herbstreit and Boisean Heather Cox handle the standard telecast, the 3D microphones will be staffed by Joe Tessitore, Tim Brown and Ray Bentley.
The post-Mike Iupati era on the Idaho offensive line will start with, left to right, Tyrone Novikoff, Tevita Halaholo, Clell Hasenbank, Sam Tupua, and Matt Cleveland. Only Cleveland at right tackle is a returning starter. But the Vandals have this going for them: Phil Steele calls this the biggest O-line in the country, averaging 333.8 pounds, and has Tupua as the second-heaviest individual in the nation at 372 pounds. The Wall Street Journal noticed and recently ran an article on the Idaho unit. Not every team subscribes to the road-grader philosophy on the offensive front these days, but it will work against a number of Idaho’s opponents. One of them is probably North Dakota in the season opener Thursday night.
BYU is taking it to the wire with the Mountain West. The Salt Lake Tribune reports that the plan to go with the WAC in non-football sports is seriously cooling, and an alliance with the West Coast Conference is heating up. This has only strengthened the resolve of WAC commissioner Karl Benson to extract $5 million apiece from Fresno State and Nevada and force them to stay in the league until 2012. Benson reiterated that in a statement yesterday. At the very least, he’s positioning the WAC for some kind of payday. Meanwhile, with the Mountain West deadline now a day away, we may know something today on BYU. The Cougars are clearly bent on independence in football—at the expense of their other sports.
Around the horn in the NFL: Ian Johnson, not unexpectedly, is not getting much of a shot in the preseason in Minnesota. The former Boise State icon is stuck behind Adrian Peterson and Toby Gerhart, competing for the No. 3 slot (and perhaps even the spot he held on the Vikings’ practice squad last season). Ian had only four carries for 10 yards Saturday night in the Vikings’ 24-13 victory over the Seahawks. Kyle Wilson is doing everything expected of him with the Jets. The first round draft pick notched three tackles and half a sack in the Jets’ 16-11 loss to the Redskins. And former Boise State standout Chris Carr is trying to lay claim to a prominent role on Baltimore’s defense. Carr led the Ravens with eight tackles, one of them a sack, in a 24-10 win over the New York Giants.
The Boise Hawks’ annual Western Idaho Fair road trip came to a crazy end last night with an 8-5 win in Spokane. It wasn’t just any 8-5 game. The Hawks had been sloppy in watching the Indians take a 5-1 lead into the ninth inning. But then Boise’s switch flipped on. Five singles, two triples and a double produced an unthinkable seven-run inning that left Spokane stunned. The biggest shot was a bases-clearing triple by Arismendy Alcantara. The Hawks finally return to Memorial Stadium tonight, opening their final homestand of the season. The Indians follow them down to start a three-game series.
This Day In Sports…August 31, 1996:
Boise State and Idaho make their debuts in Division I-A. The Broncos fell at home to Central Michigan, 42-21, while coach Pokey Allen was away in Vancouver, BC, undergoing alternative cancer treatment. The Vandals led Wyoming into the fourth quarter before falling 40-38 at Laramie. Ryan Fien broke Ken Hobart’s Idaho single-game passing record in his debut with 543 yards.
(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.)