Thursday, June 7, 2012.
Mark Nelke of the Coeur d’Alene Press caught up with former Idaho and Arizona State and Oregon State and Miami and Washington State and Wyoming and San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks coach Dennis Erickson in his column last Sunday. In a wide-ranging interview, Erickson talked about the Vandals, Broncos, Sun Devils, college football playoffs, NFL concussions, the bad boy days at Miami, and a yearn to coach again while he bides his time at home on Lake Coeur d’Alene.
It was imperative, of course, that Erickson be asked about his abrupt departure to ASU from the Vandals after a return to Idaho that lasted less than a year in 2006. “There’s no question that I felt bad that I did it,” said Erickson. “I had that opportunity at Arizona State, and just decided to take it. No real rhyme or reason, but there were a lot of things involved. The naysayers are guys I wouldn’t even probably know, or don’t know me. And I understand exactly how they feel. But for me it was the right move. I had to do it.”
Erickson also talked about Boise State’s move to the Big East. “(Coach Chris) Petersen’s done a great job; the community of Boise has been unbelievable,” said Erickson. “They’ve got so many things going down there that now they want that opportunity to get into a national championship game, and the only way for them to do it is to get into one of those conferences. People jump at stuff, and they don’t really know what’s going to happen. Financially they (Boise State) are going to be way better off going to the Big East. And that’s part of the reason they went. And the other reason is they feel they have an opportunity to win a national championship, and I’ll tell you what—last year, I’m not so sure they couldn’t. (Boise State beat Arizona State 56-24 in the MAACO Bowl Las Vegas, in Erickson’s final game at ASU). They were that good.”
Doug Martin had an interesting experience Tuesday. He and his Tampa Bay teammates were addressed by Eric LeGrand, the paralyzed former Rutgers defensive tackle who signed a symbolic contract with the Buccaneers. Martin, who’s been bothered by a hamstring ailment during Tampa Bay OTA’s, said LeGrand’s talk put his own injury problem into perspective. "My hamstring is nothing," the first-round draft pick out of Boise State said. "It's just so impressive what he's been through and with my hammy, I've just got to put that behind me and go."
I can always count on Scott Slant readers to keep me on the straight-and-narrow. There have not been four former Boise State quarterbacks in the Canadian Football League, but five. Nate Sparks took snaps in the CFL for the B.C. Lions in 2000, a Grey Cup championship year. Sparks, who split time with Bart Hendricks as the Broncos’ starting QB in 1997 and 1998, rushed two times for seven yards and did not throw a pass. (Thanks, Devon.)
Boise State’s Kurt Felix couldn’t be sitting much prettier after the first day of the decathlon at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships. Felix is the leader midway through the 10-event competition with 4,187 points, 10 points ahead of Arkansas’ Gunnar Nixon. The Grenada Olympian won the long jump and finished second in the 100 meters and high jump. The national champion will be crowned today after the 110-meter hurdles, discus, pole vault, javelin and 1500 meters. Felix acknowledges the hurdles and discus are his two toughest events.
Race organizers for Saturday’s 5th annual Ironman 70.3 Boise like the chances of the healthy pro contingent from Boulder, CO. On the men’s side, Tim O’Donnell, Greg Bennett and Matty Reed are all considered contenders, while Nikki Butterfield is expected to challenge defending women’s champion Magali Tisseyre of Canada. Officials also point to Jodie Swallow of Great Britain and Linsey Corbin of Missoula, MT, as women’s triathletes to watch.
What did I say the other day after the College of Idaho’s Izaac Garsez was named an NAIA All-American? “Now we just have to get the Cubs to draft Garsez today and assign him to the Hawks.” One down and one to go. Garsez was selected by the Cubs in the 30th round of the Major League Draft yesterday and could very well get a ticket to Boise after orientation in Mesa. The Caldwell product is the first Yote to be drafted since Jason Stefani by the Dodgers in 2001. Garsez becomes the 10th big league draftee in C of I history.
If Garsez ends up playing for Boise, he’ll be only the second Coyote ever to suit up for the Hawks. The first was Bill Oliver, who played in 1998 during the Angels era. There have been three local players on the Hawks roster since. Vallivue High grad Pat McIntyre played 14 games for Boise in 2003, batting .154. Former Capital High and NNU pitcher Roger Evenson went 4-4 with a 5.58 ERA in 2005. And former Centennial and College of Southern Idaho pitcher Jordan Latham posted a 2-0 record with a 3.74 ERA in 2007.
This Day In Sports…June 7, 1982, 30 years ago today:
Dodger first baseman Steve Garvey becomes only the fifth man to play in 1,000 consecutive major league games in a contest against Atlanta in LA. Garvey joined Lou Gehrig, Everett Scott, Billy Williams, and Joe Sewell in the exclusive club, which later would welcome Cal Ripken, Jr. Garvey’s streak would end the next season at a National League record 1,207 after he suffers a broken thumb in a collision at home plate.
(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.)