Thursday, August 15, 2013.
It was there on the homepage of SI.com yesterday, complete with photo. An extensive article by Robert Klemko for the site’s new MMQB section headlined, “Where Is Titus Young? Who Is Titus Young?” With this subheader: “The troubled former Lions receiver’s behavior has left everyone who knows him dumbfounded. Is it mental illness, head trauma, drugs—or just a young man lost in his own world?” Klemko’s piece reveals some disturbing developments between Young’s release from the Lions in February and his crime spree in May. There was an airport confrontation in St. Louis that helped sour the Rams on him. Then he was in denial when St. Louis released him, even forgetting that it happened. There was also a stay at UCLA’s Neuropsychiatric Hospital in March, instigated by Young’s family.
Young was apparently offered help in several different forms before he snapped, but rejected it all. Klemko interviews friends of Young’s who comment on how much he’s changed. “Yes, Young was arrogant, occasionally a troublemaker, always pushing boundaries, they recall, but as long as they’ve known him he was never cruel, never criminal, never so seemingly aimless,” wrote Klemko. There are no answers. Young’s attorney, Altus Hudson, says he doesn’t know if Young will report to the Newport Beach courthouse on August 27 for his next shot at a preliminary hearing. And he’ll go back to jail if he doesn’t.
It’s hard to get a lot out of New England coach Bill Belichick. But his Patriots have been going through joint practices with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this week (see: “Tom Brady”), and Belichick has plenty to say about Bucs running back Doug Martin. “He’s a good three-down player,’’ Belichick said of the former Boise State star. “There’s really no reason for him to come off the field skill-wise. It’s a question of how they want to manage him. He can run, he can catch, he’s a tough kid. Good inside runner, good outside runner, can go the distance, handles the ball well in passing game; good on blitz pickup. Really, he can do it all.’’
ESPN.com’s Pat Yasinskas, writing about Belichick, notes the irony of Martin’s arrival in Tampa Bay instantly putting an end to LeGarrette Blount’s time as the feature back there. Because Blount was traded to the Patriots in the offseason. Boise State fans know the irony goes beyond that, but that’s another story. By the way, last week’s Sports Illustrated tabbed Martin as the No. 3 back in the NFL in its Fantasy Football section. “A key figure of the leaguewide feature-back renaissance, he belongs among the elite,” says SI. The only two ahead of Martin are Minnesota’s Adrian Peterson and Houston’s Arian Foster.
It’s a rite of August every year—Sports Illustrated’s preseason Top 25. Boise State is ranked No. 20. Writes Lars Anderson: “In September and October, Boise State quarterback Joe Southwick said he was tentative, inaccurate and often held the ball too long. But in November, he said, ‘something just clicked,’ and Southwick became one of the most productive quarterbacks in the nation. Over the last four games, he completed 76.7 percent of his passes for 888 yards, with nine touchdowns and no interceptions. Broncos coach Chris Petersen, who has only seven total starters returning—the fewest of his eight-year tenure in Boise—believes the 2012 late-season incarnation of Southwick will be on display in '13.”
The marquee game on Idaho’s home schedule gets a boost from the SI rankings, as Northern Illinois comes in at No. 24. NIU, fresh off an Orange Bowl berth, visits the Vandals on Saturday, September 14. Here’s Martin Rickman’s assessment: “There's never a good time to lose a head coach, but the Huskies at least have momentum and continuity to ease the transition. New coach Rod Carey has been on staff for two seasons and was the offensive coordinator in '12, overseeing a unit that outscored opponents 540-278. Foremost among the 16 returning starters is quarterback and Heisman candidate Jordan Lynch. Northern Illinois averaged 38.6 points, with Lynch accounting for 44 touchdowns and 4,953 yards (75.3 percent of the team's total)—numbers that earned him seventh place in the Heisman voting.” Yowza.
The Famous Idaho Potato Bowl is now owned by ESPN. More specifically, ESPN Regional Television, a subsidiary of ESPN. The bowl and ERT have agreed in principle to make the Boise game the eighth bowl to be owned and operated by the network. At first glance, the move provides stability and security to the event. “We don’t sweat a couple of seasons of bad ticket sales and wonder about staying on our feet,” said Famous Idaho Potato Bowl executive director Kevin McDonald yesterday on Idaho SportsTalk. McDonald will continue in his position, as will the rest of the bowl’s staff. Even its unpaid historian? (That’s me.) The 17th edition of the game will be played the first day of the bowl season again—Saturday, December 21.
The Boise Hawks put together yet another 15-hit night and one-upped their Tuesday night explosion with a season-high in runs, routing Eugene 13-2 last night at Memorial Stadium. The Hawks have outscored the Emeralds 25-3 in the first two games of this series. Boise got a pair of three-run homers, one from David Bote and the other from Kevin Encarnacion. And Cael Brockmeyer, playing his first game since a one-week stint with the Triple-A Iowa Cubs, went 3-for-4. The Hawks have now won seven of their last eight games to improve to 33-25 and are eight games above .500 for the first time since 2008 (the last time they had a winning season). Boise needs six wins in its final 18 games to clinch a winning campaign this year. Tonight will be your last chance to catch the Hawks before they depart on their annual Western Idaho Fair road trip.
Graham DeLaet is not peaking right now. And he’s not playing this week. DeLaet is sitting out the Wyndham Championship after missing the cut last week in his second career major, the PGA Championship. The former Boise State standout from Weyburn, Saskatchewan, had made nine straight cuts going into the RBC Canadian Open three weeks ago, then missed at the biggest event in his homeland. He chalked it up to being “tired mentally.” He gets more rest this week. DeLaet’s former teammate, Troy Merritt, is in the field at the News Sentinel Open in Knoxville, TN, on the Web.com Tour. Merritt, with a lot on the line, teed off at 5:40 Mountain time this morning.
The Portland Trail Blazers formally unveiled their preseason schedule yesterday. They’ll be on the court twice before coming to CenturyLink Arena Friday, October 11 to face the Utah Jazz in a game hosted by the Idaho Stampede. The Boise stop will be the Blazers’ third game in five nights—they’ll open the preseason in the newly-renamed Moda Center (formerly the Rose Garden) versus the L.A. Clippers on Monday, October 7, and will face the Phoenix Suns there Wednesday.
This Day In Sports…August 15, 2011:
Just short of his 41st birthday, the Minnesota Twins’ Jim Thome hits the 600th home run of his career—and his second of the game—in a 9-6 win at Detroit. The sports world made sure the event was celebrated. Thome became only the eighth player ever to reach the 600 threshold, but three of the sluggers ahead of him were all tainted by the Steroid Era (Sammy Sosa, Alex Rodriguez, and all-time leader Barry Bonds). In Thome you had no suspicion of PEDs, no oversized ego. Just a blue-collar guy, great teammate and family man working hard to reach a pinnacle.
(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.)