Tuesday, August 17, 2010.
The subject of peer pressure within the Boise State football program has come up more than once the past month. It started with player-run practices. It’s been a long, long time since it was a question of whether every player was going to voluntarily stay in Boise during the summer. Now it’s understood, as Bronco elders impose their expectations upon Bronco youngsters. Yes, peer pressure at its most positive. It’s really an untold story. “I think we need to pour even more gas on that fire,” says coach Chris Petersen. It certainly makes his life easier. “The coaches here say something 40 times—the teammate says it once, and he’s usually got it,” says Pete. The peer pressure filters down to the underclassmen competing for rungs on the depth chart ladder. “We don’t even have to say anything. They know what they’re fightin’ for.”
Practice during this Boise State fall camp is as fast-paced as I’ve ever seen it. “We’re trying to be the best practice crew in the country,” Petersen says. The warp-speed mode has filled the heads of newcomers with coverages and concepts and schemes—to the point that they needed some reassurance. “We sat down the younger guys and told them, ‘It’s not normally like this,’” Petersen says. Then again, it is what it is. “They should be as mentally spent as they are physically if we’re practicing the way we want to practice.”
Andy Staples of SI.com, who recently ripped Boise State over the Bob Kustra/Bronco-Vandal flap, was able to set that aside in his preseason Top 25. Staples has Boise State No. 2 and says, “Here's a prediction I know will come true: Most of the complaints I'll receive about this poll will point to this particular slot. The power-conference apologists will whine that Boise State would lose three games if it had to slog through a tough conference slate. Maybe, but those people always fail to realize that if Boise State played in the Big 12 or Pac-10, it would have Big 12 or Pac-10 players instead of the collection of two- and three-star recruits that have turned into stars. The argument falls flat after that. Here's a better idea: Want us to stop talking about Boise State? When your favorite power-conference program plays the Broncos, it better beat them.”
Boise State has raided Texas again, with an eye on the departures of seniors Brandyn Thompson and Jerrell Gavins after this season. Scout.com reports that cornerback Eric Agbaroji from Midlothian, TX, has committed to the Broncos’ 2011 recruiting class. Agbaroji, a 6-foot, 185-pounder, is Boise State’s 10th commit for signing day in February, and the fourth from Texas.
Kyle Wilson got his first taste of game-type NFL action last night on Monday Night Football, and things went fine for the Jets while the former Boise State star was in there. Wilson did indeed start in Darrelle Revis’ customary right cornerback spot, allowing just one six-yard completion and recording one tackle as the Jets forged a 13-10 first half lead over the Giants at New Meadowlands Stadium. Wilson had to watch from the sidelines in the second half as Giants’ reserves rallied for a 31-16 victory.
NFL wrapup from the weekend: Legedu Naanee got off to a great start as the interim replacement for Vincent Jackson at wide receiver in San Diego. Naanee hauled in a 28-yard pass from Philip Rivers to open the Chargers’ scoring in a 25-10 win over the Bears. And fellow former Boise State standout Richie Brockel, an undrafted free agent, actually got quality playing time in the game. Brockel had two catches for 14 yards. Fresno State product Ryan Mathews, San Diego’s first round draft pick, was smooth in his debut, with nine rushes for 50 yards and two receptions for 11 yards. Also of note is former Idaho wide receiver Max Komar, an undrafted free agent with Arizona. Komar made a tremendous grab for a 36-yard gain in the Cardinals’ 19-16 win over Houston. He had one other reception for six yards in the game.
When the Boise Hawks took a 3-2 lead over Everett into the eighth inning last night, all appeared to be well. The Hawks were 21-1 when leading after seven innings this season, and they had won 21 of their last 23 games against the AquaSox at Memorial Stadium. Then came a train wreck of an eighth. The Frogs scored five runs on just one hit, aided by three Boise errors and victimizing pitcher Jordan Latham. The Centennial High grad lasted one-third of an inning and allowed four runs, although none were earned. Everett waltzed away with a 7-3 triumph, snapping the Hawks’ modest two-game winning streak.
The Hawks’ player development contract with the Chicago Cubs has been extended by two years, with the deal announced yesterday by Chicago director of player personnel Oneri Fleita. It could have been a longer extension, but Fleita downplayed the status of aging Memorial Stadium on Idaho SportsTalk. He believes progress, in whatever form, will happen in good time. “I think everybody gets it that if we’re going to raise the bar for our players, everybody has to do their part,” said Fleita. Boise is in its 10th season of affiliation with the Cubs, one short of the 11 the Hawks spent with the Angels from 1990-2000.
About once a year we acknowledge Francisco Rodriguez as a former Boise Hawk. After all, the New York Mets closer pitched one game for the Hawks in 1999. Today Rodriguez is in the news, as his season is over after the Mets revealed he has a torn thumb ligament in his throwing hand. How K-Rod (some in the Big Apple are calling him “K-Fraud”) sustained the injury is not a mystery—he was arrested last Wednesday after punching his girlfriend’s father at Citi Field. Rodriguez was suspended for two days but returned to pitch Saturday. But the 28-year-old Venezuelan had an MRI yesterday, and now he’s on the shelf. Rodriguez had 25 saves and a 2.20 ERA this season.
This Day In Sports…August 17, 1995, 15 years ago today:
Bobby Dye, the most successful basketball coach in Boise State history, suddenly resigns three months before his 13th season was to begin. Dye and the BSU administration had been wrangling over the length of his contract, and the veteran coach elected to step down after three Big Sky championships and subsequent NCAA Tournament appearances. Dye had an overall record of 213-133 at BSU, with four 20-win seasons. He was replaced that day by top assistant Rod Jensen.
(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.)