Tuesday, August 3, 2010.
Before Boise State fall camp craziness consumes us, let’s hit a few NFL checkpoints. First stop is Green Bay, where a turning-point training camp is underway for Daryn Colledge. Going into his fifth year, the Boise State alum’s position is far from secure. In a Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel story about the Packers offensive line, there’s speculation that Colledge, Jason Spitz or Allen Barbre could start—or be cut. “Coming off a terrible season in which he didn't play with strength, athleticism or savvy, Colledge is back on a $1.759 million tender,” the story says. “The Packers undoubtedly considered running him off, but in the end likely decided they had nobody better to replace him.”
Jim Trotter’s camp report on the San Diego Chargers made the home page at SI.com the other night, as did an accompanying photo of Legedu Naanee. The former Boise State star has a chance to start this season with Pro Bowl wideout Vincent Jackson in a prolonged holdout. Trotter reports that “during the first 11-on-11 drill, Philip Rivers directed his initial pass to Naanee. Coincidence? Not for a second.” Trotter considered it a message to Jackson. “Naanee grabbed the pass and immediately cut upfield, but no one should fool themselves into believing that he is the second coming of Jackson,” wrote Trotter. “Naanee is better built for the slot, as his numbers attest. Last season he averaged 10.1 yards on 24 catches.” Naanee would be the first Boise State product ever to start at wide receiver in the NFL.
Opportunity also knocks for Chris Carr in Baltimore, as long as his back cooperates. Ravens cornerback Domonique Foxworth will miss the season after tearing up his knee, carving a hole in a secondary already weakened by injuries. Carr should get a better look now—the former Boise State standout had entered camp planning to compete at nickel corner with Walt Harris and Fabian Washington. But a lingering back injury, not thought to be serious, kept Carr out of practice yesterday. The sixth-year pro will also be challenged in his role as punt returner, where he averaged a serviceable 8.2 yards per runback last season.
Several multiple-time Bronco opponents are in the news. Former Hawaii star Colt Brennan, the 2007 Heisman Trophy finalist who holds FBS records for single-season passing efficiency and touchdown passes, among other things, was cut yesterday by the Washington Redskins. Brennan told the Washington Post he was “totally surprised” by the move, which came shortly after the ‘Skins traded to get quarterback John Beck from the Ravens (Boise State faced Beck versus BYU in 2003 and 2004). Brennan hasn’t yet appeared in a regular season NFL game. Elsewhere, former TCU icon Jerry Hughes, the 31st overall pick in April’s NFL Draft, finally signed with the Colts late yesterday.
Watch list update: Boise State strong safety Jeron Johnson is on the scroll for the 2010 Jim Thorpe Award that goes to the nation’s best defensive back. Johnson, going into his senior year, was second-team All-WAC last season after posting 91 tackles and four interceptions—and his usual assortment of jarring hits. Idaho’s Shiloh Keo is also on the list. Maybe the Thorpe Award will get more attention this year, what with the battle between the legendary athlete’s family and the town of Jim Thorpe, PA, over the final resting place for his remains. Thorpe, of course, was an inductee into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, a winner of Olympic gold medals in the decathlon and pentathlon, and a pro baseball player nearly 100 years ago.
Tri-City nicked the Boise Hawks for two runs in the first inning last night, and until the ninth inning, it looked that was all the Dust Devils would need. The Hawks, however, scored twice in the final frame and had the winning run at the plate in the form of Dustin Harrington—who grounded into a double play to end Tri-City’s 4-3 victory. Defense was a problem last night, as the Hawks committed three costly errors. Big sticks have been missing, too. Boise had been hitting for power consistently up until two weeks ago, but last night marked the 14th straight game it went without a home run.
Yesterday I talked about the worst big league inning ever involving former Boise Hawks. John Lackey’s and Randy Wells’ nights weren’t as bad as Sean Marshall’s and Andrew Cashner’s infamous inning last Friday, but each had his own Monday nightmares. Lackey, in his first year with the Red Sox, was brushed aside on home turf at Fenway Park by lowly Cleveland. The 31-year-old righthander was touched up for six runs on nine hits, with four walks in 5 1/3 innings in a game the Indians eventually had to hang on to win, 6-5. Lackey had yielded two or fewer runs in each of his last three starts. He’s generally been on the right mound at the right time with Boston—Lackey is still 10-6 despite his 4.48 ERA.
As for Wells, he was tagged with seven runs on 10 hits in just four innings in the Cubs’ 18-1 embarrassment at the hands of the Brewers. Wells is now 5-9 with an ERA of 4.40. In that game, Casey Coleman became the 78th former Hawk to make the majors. He also became a third-generation big leaguer. Coleman was 1-1 in seven appearances with Boise in 2008. So how did it go last night? Well, Coleman threw 2 1/3 innings—and gave up six runs on eight hits. Now there’s an ERA to calculate (it’s 23.14).
What to make of Alyssa Freeman. The 12-year-old Boise girl is one of the best baseball players her age in the state—of either gender. Alyssa recently played an All-Star tournament with a Boise boys team in Central California, where she struck out 16 batters in two six-inning games and was discovered by a national girls team looking to fill the final spot on its roster. So, Alyssa is headed to Cooperstown with the group (yes, that Cooperstown) to compete in a four-week tournament starting August 15 that initially features 100 other teams. All boys. Alyssa will be a seventh grader at Lowell Scott Middle School this year, but according to her family, she is eyeing a spot in high school baseball in 2012. They say Capital High has confirmed that it’s legal for a girl to play prep baseball, if it gets that far. Don’t bet it won’t.
New Idaho Steelheads coach Hardy Sauter has another returnee in the fold, with defenseman Brendan Milnamow signing for the 2010-11 season. Milnamow was an ECHL All-Star Game participant last January, in the midst of a sterling rookie year for the Steelheads. The 24-year-old ironman was the only Steelie to appear in every game possible last season—that’s 88 between the regular season and the Kelly Cup Playoffs. Milnamow joins fellow defenseman Weston Tardy and forward Geoff Irwin as players who have already re-signed with Idaho. The Steelheads have lost one of the players to whom they made a qualifying offer, though. And he’s a key one, as Evan Barlow has signed a contract with a team in Finland, HIFK Helsinki. Barlow was the Steelies’ leading scorer last season with 75 points. He tallied 18 more in the Kelly Cup Playoffs.
This Day In Sports…August 3, 1989:
The Cincinnati Reds establish the highest-scoring first inning in Major League history, pushing across 14 runs against the Houston Astros at Riverfront Stadium. The Reds sent a record 20 men to the plate and collected 16 hits. The bottom of the first lasted 38 minutes, with the Reds going on to win the game, 18-2. It was exactly three weeks later that Cincinnati manager Pete Rose was forced out, accepting a permanent place on baseball’s ineligible list.
(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.)