Friday, April 13, 2012.
According to the 2010 census, New York City’s population is 8,175,133. Marsing’s is 1,031. Shea McClellin’s football career has taken that kind of a leap. The NFL announced yesterday that McClellin is one of 26 players who have accepted invitations to New York to attend the NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall. Quite a change of itinerary for the former Boise State star, who had planned to spend the draft with his immediate family. Now, he’s taking them to the Big Apple. The NFL must have the same feeling that so many draft prognosticators have—that McClellin is now a legitimate first round prospect. He started this process with no expectations, so if he’s a first-rounder in two weeks, it’s gravy. If not, McClellin will still end up in the league, and his family will have a Gotham experience.
Boise State coach Chris Petersen talked at length about senior cornerback Jamar Taylor at Wednesday’s press conference. The Broncos’ senior class is being self-branded as a “band of misfits,” but Petersen sees Taylor as more akin to the recently-departed class that won 50 career games. “Jamar’s one of those types of guys we just lost,” said Petersen. That’s high praise from Pete, but he still expects to see out of Taylor exactly what he’s demanding of the cornerback’s classmates. For Boise State’s seniors, tomorrow night’s Blue & Orange Game is a passing of the torch. “I can’t emphasize this enough,” said Petersen. “We need those guys to take the next step. We need Jamar to have the best season he’s ever had here.”
If Taylor can pick up where he left off last year, that would be sufficient. He had the longest interception return in Boise State history in the win over Arizona State at the MAACO Bowl Las Vegas—the 100-yard touchdown in the third quarter that put the game away. Taylor is a different kind of Bronco veteran, and he’s embraced his leadership role. He’s the only senior other than D.J. Harper who played back in 2008. Taylor redshirted in 2009 in what would have been his true sophomore year.
Everything has fallen into place for Boise State’s new football complex at the north end of Bronco Stadium, right down to the first shovels of dirt. Groundbreaking for the $22 million facility was held yesterday, on a calm, mild afternoon. Then, as soon as the ceremony was done, the cold front blew through. Orange paint outlined the dimensions of the building, and it’s going to be large (68,000 square feet). A corner of it extends all the way to Cesar Chavez Lane near the Boise River. Completion is planned for June of 2013.
If you haven’t seen the Kellen Moore episode of “Gruden’s QB Camp” that aired yesterday on ESPNU, find someone who recorded it. It was exceptional. Instead of grilling Moore, Gruden gave him kudos as “a football wizard” (with a goodly dose of humor). In one segment, Gruden shuttled rapid-fire through about 10 different Boise State formations and shifts on tape. “You guys are nuts,” he told Moore. “Our whole goal is to make it look as confusing as possible,” replied Kellen. And, Gruden pointed out, that forces defenses to communicate. “Whenever there’s communication, there’s miscommunication,” said Gruden. “Sometimes the communication is this: ‘What the hell are they doing!?’”
Gruden went through the laundry list of Kellen’s perceived NFL liabilities and asked him what he thought when people say those things. “I think you smile at ‘em, say thank you—and remember their name,” answered Moore. Gruden wondered if it puts a chip on Kellen’s shoulder. “Absolutely,” Moore said. Gruden’s closing line on the show as the two walked off the practice field: “I wish I could spend about three days with you.”
Idaho is planning to scrimmage tomorrow in the Kibbie Dome, although coach Robb Akey switched things up last week and conducted an extended practice. The consensus last season was that the Vandal defense made progress despite yards per game allowed jumping from 420 in 2010 to 437, and points yielded going from 28 to 33. But there’s reason for optimism this season as seniors Robert Siavii and Thaad Thompson are back in the fold. Both suffered knee injuries last spring and were lost for the season. Siavii, a linebacker, made a team-leading 91 tackles in 2010.
Good news for the Las Vegas Wranglers—bad news for the Idaho Steelheads going into the opening of the ECHL Western Conference semifinals Monday night. The Wranglers have goalie Joe Fallon back from the Houston Aeros of the AHL in time for the series. Fallon finished third in ECHL MVP balloting and was on his way to breaking the ECHL record for wins in a season before he was called up to Houston in March. At that point Fallon was 30-10-4, with his last outing a 5-1 win over the Steelheads in CenturyLink Arena. Game 1 of the best-of-seven set is Monday at Orleans Arena in Las Vegas.
The Idaho Select Basketball organization is bringing in Nike’s top basketball trainer, Alan Stein, to present his Cutting Edge Training Clinic Tuesday night at Capital High. Through Nike, Stein has worked with and trained several top NBA stars, including as Kevin Durant, Chris Paul and LeBron James. Idaho Select says at the clinic, “Stein will be demonstrating the training techniques that have helped players become dominant forces at the highest level.” Registration is available online at idahoselect.org/stein.
The Boise State athletic department has wrapped a number of events around tomorrow’s Blue & Orange Game to create what it calls “BroncoFest 2012.” And why not? The day starts with the annual Beat Coach Pete Fun Run, with Chris Petersen predicting a 30-minute-ish 5K. The Boise State women’s tennis team holds Senior Day in its match against Air Force. And the Bronco softball team plays its first conference series as a member of the Mountain West, hosting UNLV at Mountain Cove Field. The Broncos and Rebels actually start the series today and face off Sunday as well as Boise State tries to extend a 23-game home winning streak.
This Day In Sports…April 13, 1997, 15 years ago today:
Tiger Woods, playing in his first Masters at the age of 21, becomes the youngest player ever to win the tournament, with a record-low score of 270. Woods’ margin of victory was also a record, 12 strokes over Tom Kite. Also, on April 13, 1975: Jack Nicklaus wins his fifth Masters, edging Tom Weiskopf and Johnny Miller by one stroke. And on April 13, 1986: 46-year-old Jack Nicklaus shoots a 30 on the back nine and a 65 for the final round to become the oldest player ever to win the Masters.
(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.)