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Reading between the Bronco running game lines

Reading between the Bronco running game lines

by Tom Scott

Bio | Follow: @thescottslant


Posted on August 7, 2012 at 7:18 AM

Updated Tuesday, Nov 5 at 4:44 PM

Tuesday, August 7, 2012.

Picking up on my Sunday Sports Extra subject this week, there are some twists and turns in the Boise State running game as fall camp settles in.  Yes, Doug Martin, one of the best there ever was, is gone to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.  And with him go 3,431 yards rushing and 43 touchdowns on the ground.  The only other running back the Broncos lost who had played was Raphiel Lambert—three carries for two yards.  But they also lose those rushing yards from the quarterback position.  A certain No. 11 had minus-133 yards in his career.  So that brings the departed yardage down to 3,300.  Whew.

There's a lot more hope for the ground game than some think.  D.J. Harper is the equivalent of a returning starter—he began the season as the starter at running back three years ago before the first of his season-ending knee injuries.  Harper has gained 1,642 yards with 24 rushing touchdowns in his career.  Former Vallivue star Drew Wright's production has increased as he's grown older (311 yards, three TDs).  The intriguing aspect of the running game is determining who will step up to a major role between redshirt freshman Jay Ajayi and true freshmen Jack Fields and Devan Demas.  The Boise State coaching staff is very confident one of them will. 

Here are the hidden yards in Boise State’s rushing attack, though.  You have four quarterbacks who can run, and two of them already have stats in the book, as Joe Southwick and Grant Hedrick have combined for 117 yards and a touchdown.  And then there are the Burroughs brothers.  Mitch and Dallas have 95 yards and two TDs rushing between them, with the potential for much, much more.  And wait—I think I hear fullback Dan Paul asking for the ball, having returned from the groin injury that kept him out last season.  There’s actually more depth in the Broncos’ rushing attack this year.

The days of Boise State being overlooked by major powers are long gone.  Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio reinforced that at the Spartans’ media day yesterday as his team looks ahead to the August 31 season opener against the Broncos.  "I can assure you that our guys, they’ll be hyped up," Dantonio said.  "The first time they run out here and see that (new video) board, see the stadium, 8 o’clock nighttime, national TV audience, Boise State, giant killer, if you can’t get ready for that, then you have to move on probably.  Our guys will be ready to play."

No concrete news regarding Nate Potter’s grade in his first NFL preseason game, Arizona’s 17-10 loss to New Orleans at the Hall of Fame Game Sunday in Canton, OH.  The former Boise State star did get playing time at tackle in the game.  Daryn Colledge started at left guard for the Cardinals.  On the Saints’ side, ex-Broncos Korey Hall and Aaron Tevis both played but recorded no stats, while Boise State grad Derek Schouman one catch for no gain.

Plans are set for Olympic gold medalist Kristin Armstrong’s Boise celebration.  Armstrong will lead a bike parade of sorts from the Depot down Capitol Blvd. to Capitol Park near the Statehouse on Saturday, her 39th birthday.  Armstrong, who won the time trial at the Summer Games for the second time last Wednesday, will begin the victory ride not far from the Vista Ave. site of the crash that broke her collarbone at the Exergy Tour in May.  The ride will end with a ceremony that includes Gov. Butch Otter, Mayor Dave Bieter, University of Idaho president Duane Nellis and Treasure Valley YMCA CEO Jim Everett.

Bishop Kelly grad Nick Symmonds tries to take the next step this afternoon (tonight in London) in the semifinals of the 800-meter run at the Summer Olympics.  Former University of Idaho great and 1996 Olympic decathlon gold medalist Dan O’Brien thinks Symmonds’ chances to medal rest on his experience.  “Unfortunately I think he’s running great, but so are a lot of other guys,” said O’Brien last Friday on Idaho SportsTalk.  “Nick has the smarts to get through the rounds, and anything can happen in the final.”  No matter what, Symmonds will always command attention, partly because of his mission to loosen sponsorship restrictions on track and field athletes.  “I love Nick Symmonds’ passion—not only for running, but the passion for his sport,” O’Brien said.

Little-known fact: three former Idaho Stampede players are playing in the Summer Olympics, and all three were in action yesterday.  Patty Mills drained a dramatic three-pointer as time expired to lead Australia past Russia, 82-80.  Mills, who had 13 points, made his pro debut for the Stampede while on assignment from the Blazers 2½ years ago.  Mickael Gelabale, one of the first NBA players ever assigned to the Stamps when he played for the Sonics, is representing France.  Gelabale scored 11 points in a 79-73 win over Nigeria (the same team the USA beat by 83 points last Thursday).  And Eric Boateng contributed 10 points for Great Britain in a 90-58 rout of China.  Boateng played for Idaho early in the 2010-11 season.

The long ball has been a very good friend to the Boise Hawks.  Last night the Hawks went yard three times in an 11-7 win at Everett, including two-run homers by Stephen Bruno and Carlos Escobar and a solo shot by Gioskar Amaya.  The Hawks lead the Northwest League with 40 home runs in 50 games this season.  They’re also tops in hitting with a .270 team average, 14 percentage points ahead of the second-best AquaSox.  The victory gave Boise a three-game lead in the second-half standings in the Northwest League East Division.  It also marks the Hawks’ first three-game road winning streak in more than two years.

Boise’s Maddie Sheils is right on the cut line after the first of two rounds of stroke play at the U.S. Women’s Amateur in Cleveland.  Sheils shot a three-over 75 and is tied for 62nd place.  The top 64 advance to match play tomorrow.  Sheils, who just finished an outstanding college career at Nebraska, made it to match play at the national tournament last year and took her first round opponent to 19 holes before being eliminated.  Caldwell’s Cali Hipp needs a sizzling round today to advance—she carded a six-over 78 over the first 18 holes and is tied for 96th.  Hipp is a junior-to-be at Oregon.

This Day In Sports…August 7, 2007, five years ago today:

The Giants’ Barry Bonds gets it done at home in San Francisco, the one place left where most fans cheer him.  Bonds launched his 756th career homer to become baseball’s Home Run King, passing Hank Aaron.  It was a 435-foot shot over the right-centerfield wall at AT&T Park off Washington’s Mike Bacsik.  Commissioner Bud Selig was not in attendance, nor was Aaron himself, speaking volumes about how history may judge Bonds’ accomplishment.

(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.)