Thursday, April 5, 2012.
Boise State coach Chris Petersen got uncommonly specific—and expansive—when discussing which players have stood out during spring football at his press conference yesterday. And you could tell Petersen really enjoyed detailing quarterback Nick Patti’s progress. That’s partly because, as a true freshman, Patti has so much to learn. “It’s easier to see Nick’s improvement,” said Petersen, who especially likes Patti’s demeanor on the field.
In the March 23 scrimmage, Petersen stood a few steps behind the huddle to observe how each quarterback handled the calling of the plays. “I think he did a very nice job for being in there the first time, without any coaches being around to help him.” Petersen indicates it’s still a long-shot that you’d see a true freshman start at quarterback at Boise State. But Patti’s winter arrival, thanks to early graduation from high school in Orlando, has been invaluable. “To have a spring under your belt, then a summer, then fall camp is really beneficial.”
However, thou shalt make no assumptions about the outcome of the Broncos’ four-way quarterback battle. Petersen said Joe Southwick’s experience was evident at the first scrimmage. “Joe knows the most, in terms of running the show and managing the game,” said Petersen. “Was he where we need him to be? No.” But none of the QBs has crested in the competition. Grant Hedrick and Jimmy Laughrea also had their ups—and downs. “All of those guys had plays they’d love to have back.”
I was only half-kidding yesterday when I said the question later this month might be which Boise State player goes second after Shea McClellin in the NFL Draft. ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. is mulling that himself after projecting McClellin as a first round pick and Doug Martin as a second-rounder. Kiper has McClellin going at No. 27 overall to the Patriots and Martin No. 49 overall to the Chargers.
Former Boise State star Chris Carr will get a fresh start with a rehabbed back this season. Carr has agreed to terms as a free agent with the Minnesota Vikings after an injury-marred season in Baltimore that limited him to nine games. But Carr was an important part of the Ravens secondary as a starter in 2010, and Josh Alper of NBC Sports writes, “There’s no clear impediment to Carr earning the (Vikings’) nickel corner job.”
USA Today reports that the BCS has narrowed its options to four different plans as it sorts through the future of its much-maligned system. All of them involve a multi-game route to win a national championship, from the plus-one format to a four-team playoff. One plan in particular that abolishes the automatic-qualifying status of the power conferences would appear to fit Boise State’s profile. Although the elimination of AQ’s would allow the BCS bowls to invite whomever they want, just like the Sugar Bowl did this year, this proposal would take 16 teams outside of the top four and place them in an expanded lineup of elite bowls "with the aim of providing the most evenly matched and attractive games that make geographic sense for the participants." Sounds intriguing. The BCS hopes to make a final decision by July 1.
The Idaho Steelheads saw a little bit of everything last night in Game 2 of their Kelly Cup Playoffs first-rounder against Ontario. What they didn’t see was a victory, as the Reign pulled out a 4-3 win in overtime at CenturyLink Arena. The Steelheads had to call on backup goaltender Bryan Hince cold turkey in the second period when starting netminder Jerry Kuhn was ejected with a game misconduct after a major penalty for clipping. Still, the Steelheads held a 2-1 lead past the midway point of the third period. The two teams then traded goals one minute and 12 seconds apart. But with 2:23 left in regulation, Ontario tied it on a goal by J.D. Watt as the net popped off its moorings. And former Steelie Geoff Irwin won it for the Reign nine minutes into the OT.
With the series now knotted at a game apiece, the Steelheads and Ontario now head for Southern California, where the series resumes tomorrow night and Saturday night on the Reign’s home ice. A decisive game 5 will also be played in Ontario Monday night if necessary. Positives for the Steelheads include the leadership of 36-year-old captain Marty Flichel, who scored his second playoff goal in as many games last night, and Idaho’s penalty kill, which has gone 9-for-9 in the series.
Idaho Stampede fans have to appreciate the team’s local ownership. If it weren’t for that, the Stampede could be owned by an NBA club and be playing in a warehouse in Lake Oswego. That’s what is happening to one of the most stable D-League franchises, the Dakota Wizards. The Golden State Warriors bought the Wizards last June and are preparing to move them after 17 years in Bismarck. The destination is Santa Cruz, CA, a 1½-hour drive from the Warriors’ Oakland headquarters. The Santa Cruz city council will vote next month on a proposal for a $2.5 million facility that would house the Wizards. As for the Stampede, they wind up the season with a pair of games this weekend against the Bakersfield Jam in Century Link Arena.
The inaugural Exergy Tour on Memorial Day weekend will divvy up more than $100,000 in prize money. Race organizers say it’s believed to be the largest payout for a five-day race in the history of women’s pro cycling, and an amount that is comparable to payouts for the men. “With a field comprised of several former, current and future national, world and Olympic champions, we expect the competition level to rival the classic European races and to set a new standard for the highest level of ladies professional bike racing in North America,” said event director Heather Hill. The Exergy Tour will visit Boise, Nampa, Kuna, Garden Valley/Crouch and Idaho City May 24-28.
Boise State’s Amy Glass is one of six finalists for the AAI Award, the women’s gymnastics version of the Heisman Trophy. The award is voted on by Division I coaches and will be presented in two weeks at the banquet preceding the NCAA Championships, which the Broncos hope to make as a team for the first time with a strong showing Saturday at regionals. Elsewhere on campus, if you’d like to pay respects to Amy Dunn, the former Boise State soccer player who lost her battle against cancer last Saturday, a memorial service will be held Monday at 6 p.m. at the Simplot Ballroom in the BSU Student Union Building.
This Day In Sports…April 5, 2010:
At the time, many felt Butler was one runnerup that would not be forgotten. History will be the judge of that, but in one of the most riveting championship games in NCAA Tournament history, Butler falls to perennial power Duke, 61-59, in Indianapolis. The game had the feel of “Hoosiers”—the classic movie was largely shot in the Bulldogs’ gym almost 25 years earlier. But Butler was no Hickory High, having spent the entire season in the rankings. Still, the Bulldogs were popular underdogs as a No. 5 seed against one of the most storied programs in college basketball. And, incredibly, they’d make it back to the title game the following year.
(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.)