Friday, April 19, 2013.
Former Boise State star Joe O’Brien, who’s in the process of turning his life around after his federal prison term for conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine while an assistant at Montana State, attended the Blue & Orange Game and associated activities last weekend. By Tuesday, he was back in Montana, speaking to 250 regional high school student council leaders in Great Falls, documented by a crew from ESPN’s “Outside The Lines.” “He has a way that really connects with students,” said Great Falls High teacher and student council adviser Christine Baroch in the Great Falls Tribune. “He’s not presumptuous. He’s a very humble and grateful man.”
“Outside The Lines” reporter Steve Delsohn had read the book “Busted Bronco” that O’Brien co-wrote with Boise author Bob Evancho and convinced ESPN to do the piece on him. The book chronicles O’Brien’s rugged childhood, follows him through the Bronco career that was capped by Big Sky Defensive Player of the Year honors in 1994 (“living a lie” all the while), and continues through his downfall at Montana State. The ESPN program’s cameras will pick up the story with the narrow 4-3 school board vote in February in Simms, MT, approving O’Brien as the town’s new high school head football coach. The “Outside The Lines” piece will air sometime in June.
KTVB’s Jay Tust reported on the conference call with NFL.com’s Mike Mayock yesterday regarding the NFL Draft. On Boise State’s Jamar Taylor: “I’ve got Jamar Taylor at number 51 in my top 100. I think he’s a mid-second round pick. He’s got quick feet, he’ll tackle and like most Boise players he’s tough and understands the game of football. I think Jamar Taylor is a starting cornerback in the NFL and I really like him.” On the Broncos’ D.J. Harper: “The Harper kid I think is late draftable. I like him, but just because of that injury history and where he’s been, he’s kind of an interesting player I think he’s one of those guys in this draft where you might get a bargain. He’s kind of got straight line speed. He doesn’t have make you miss kind of speed.”
Washington wraps up spring football with its spring game tomorrow. It won’t be at Husky Stadium, which won’t reopen until Boise State visits for the season opener August 31. The Huskies will play the spring finale at Seattle Center's Memorial Stadium under the Space Needle. UW won’t show anything more than the Broncos did last Saturday, but one Husky in particular is ending the spring on a crescendo. The Seattle Times’ Bob Condotta reports that Bishop Sankey, he of the 205-yard rushing game against the Broncos in the MAACO Bowl Las Vegas last December. “looked exceptionally explosive (Thursday) while displaying a burst through holes and around the corner.” Oh boy.
Idaho plays its Silver & Gold Game tonight in the Kibbie Dome, wrapping up spring football. The big story of the spring hasn’t been the Vandals’ quarterback battle—that won’t be decided until August when junior college transfer Josh McCain joins Chad Chalich and Taylor Davis. It’s the rushing game that has created the most buzz, with Bay Area JC transfers Kris Olugbode and Jerrell Brown emerging as consistent pounders. Olugbode is 5-9, 200 pounds, and Brown is 6-2, 220. “Those two (Olugbode and Brown) might be the two biggest studs of the whole camp,” Petrino said. “Running backs are one of our strengths.”
The Idaho Steelheads finally open the ECHL Western Conference semifinals tonight on the road against the Ontario Reign. The Steelheads haven’t played since last Friday—and the Reign have been idle since April 6. The road isn’t the worst thing in the world, as Idaho has won 14 of its last 19 games away from Boise, dating back to a win at Utah on January 21. And if the Steelies’ penalty kill is on point, you have to like their chances. In the Steelheads’ four wins in the opening round series against Colorado, the Eagles’ potent power play was just 1-of-16. One Ontario player the Steelheads will be tracking at all times is C.J. Stretch, who tied an ECHL postseason record with four goals in the Reign’s Game 2 win over Utah during their opening-round sweep.
Down Under strikes again. Boise State has signed forward Nick Duncan of Sydney, Australia, to a National Letter of Intent. Duncan is a 6-8, 225-pounder out of the Australian Institute of Sport, the same organization that produced current Broncos Anthony Drmic and Igor Hadziomerovic. Duncan is following the same path as Drmic and Hadziomerovic. He helped Australia earn the silver medal at the 2012 U17 World Championship, leading the squad in rebounding. And Duncan’s a good bet to play this summer on the Aussie team that will play in the U19 World Championship, just as his Bronco countrymen did two years ago. He’s already been named to the Australian team for the Team China Tour.
Two-and-a-half weeks of rest didn’t do much for Graham DeLaet on the PGA Tour. DeLaet is in danger of missing his first cut since the first weekend of February after opening the RBC Heritage yesterday with a three-over 74. The former Boise State star bogeyed four of the first eight holes at Hilton Head (one of them a double). DeLaet is tied for 110th going into the second round today.
A couple campus notes: It’s Senior Day for the Boise State men’s tennis team, as Filipp Pogostkin, Scott Sears, and Freddy Walsh before the home finale against Nevada. The hottest Bronco, however, is a freshman. Thomas Tenreiro has won 14 matches in a rwo, 13 of them in straight sets. For the Boise State women’s softball team, it’s only the second home series of the season. The Broncos host San Diego State today, tomorrow and Sunday at Dona Larsen Park. The two teams are polar opposites right now—the Aztecs are 5-1 in the Mountain West, and the Broncos are 1-5.
As the Race To Robie Creek approaches tomorrow, we take note of the event’s website and the interesting historical nuggets it has added. Did you know, for example, that there was a forerunner of the Race To Robie Creek called the “Idaho Summer Road Racing Championships” over Aldape Summit in 1975? That one took place in August. Yikes. The first actual Race To Robie Creek, with all of 171 entrants, was in April, 1979. But that test run four years earlier counts as you calculate this year’s run being the 36th annual.
This Day In Sports…April 19, 1991:
It’s the “Battle of the Ages,” a bout between 28-year-old world heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield and 42-year-old former champ George Foreman. Holyfield was at the peak of his career, while Foreman had won 24 consecutive fights since launching a comeback in 1987. Before a star-studded audience that included Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier, Holyfield ultimately wore down Foreman in a unanimous decision. Incredibly, Foreman would regain the heavyweight title briefly in 1994 at the age of 45.
(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.)