Wednesday, July 10, 2013.
Stewart Mandel’s annual list of the 10 best coaches heading into the season won’t come as a surprise locally. But you still have to marvel at the company Boise State coach Chris Petersen’s name keeps. Petersen is No. 3 on Mandel’s ledger, right behind (you guessed it) Alabama’s Nick Saban and Ohio State’s Urban Meyer. Writes Mandel: “Now entering his eighth season in charge of the Broncos, Petersen has gone 84-8 to rack up an insane .913 winning percentage. Last year's team—the first in the post-Kellen Moore era—was one of the biggest rebuilding projects he's had, and it still finished 11-2. Petersen has no equal when it comes to player development. Boise never sniffs the top of the recruiting rankings and yet has produced seven first- or second-round NFL draft picks under his watch.” No embellishment necessary.
Petersen isn’t the only non-power conference coach in Mandel’s top 10. The other is (drum roll) No. 9 Bobby Petrino of Western Kentucky, who was a power conference coach just two years ago, of course. Writes: Mandel: “While Petrino isn't likely to rank among anyone's top coaches in the charm or ethics departments, his offensive game-planning and play-calling aptitude is hard to dispute.” Much of the time, Petrino has had help in that area from his brother, Paul, now the head coach at Idaho. Hopes are high among Vandal fans that the expertise Paul has applied in the Kibbie Dome will pay off this fall.
The “watch list front” has been very quiet for Boise State this season. But tight end Gabe Linehan has been named to the watch list for the John Mackey Award. The senior-to-be has enough cache from his freshman and sophomore years, because his junior season was painfully abbreviated. Linehan dealt with an ongoing hamstring issue that finally became too much, and he didn’t play again after September. He made just one catch all season, a 23-yarder in the opener at Michigan State. But Linehan made his mark in 2011 with 23 grabs for 252 yards and five touchdowns.
Good timing for the upcoming Bronco Football Summer Classic, perhaps: Fruitland High’s Joey Martarano was a first-team MaxPreps Baseball Medium Schools All-American, as reported by the Statesman’s Rachel Roberts. As a senior, the 6-3, 230-pound third baseman hit .493 with nine home runs and 45 RBI. Martarano was drafted in the 13th round last month by the Philadelphia Phillies, who knew he was committed to be a Boise State linebacker. Now, is Martarano committed to the Home Run Derby at Memorial Stadium Saturday night?
Another Washington Huskies standout is in legal hot water, although this situation isn’t as serious as that of star tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins. Wide receiver Kasen Williams, UW’s leading receiver last season with 77 catches, was fined and received a misdemeanor citation after he was pulled over for speeding and investigation of driving under the influence near Chelan, WA, in May. The incident came to light yesterday when Huskies coach Steve Sarkisian released a statement saying he was aware of the situation. Seferian-Jenkins was arrested on DUI charges earlier this spring. His twice-delayed pre-trial hearing is now scheduled for next Monday. Disciplinary action handed down to either player could affect Washington’s opener against Boise State, which is now just 52 days away.
It is what it is for the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, but at least there’s security. After the tumultuous final two years of WAC football and the resulting uncertainty, the Boise bowl knows it has a Mountain West tie-in through 2019. ESPN.com’s Brett McMurphy reports that the conference has elected to re-up on all six of its current bowl tie-ins for six more years. The Famous Idaho Potato Bowl will have the sixth and final pick of bowl-eligible MW schools, following the Las Vegas, Poinsettia, Hawaii, Armed Forces, and New Mexico Bowls.
The Boise Hawks spent the day yesterday seeing the sights of Vancouver, BC, on a rare off-day. They’ll spend this evening beginning a five-game series against the Vancouver Canadians at Nat Bailey Stadium. The Hawks knew going in that they’d be doing it without several players who had passport problems. One, at least, will be sorely missed. The Northwest League’s RBI leader, outfielder Yasiel Balaguert, will wait out the next five days playing at the rookie league level in Arizona.
Former Boise Hawk Ricky Nolasco took Stephen Fife’s spot in the L.A. Dodgers’ rotation when he arrived from Miami—and when the Borah High alum was placed on the 15-day disabled list Monday. Nolasco made the trade look good last night, debuting as a Dodger by allowing one run on four hits over seven innings in a 6-1 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks. His record improves to 6-8 (it’s impressive that he was able to win five games with the woeful Marlins). Nolasco was also hot at the plate last night, driving in the first L.A. run with a single and later doubling and scoring.
NHL movement involving former Idaho Steelheads: goalie Richard Bachman has been signed to a one-year contract by the Edmonton Oilers, although he’s probably ticketed for the Oilers’ AHL affiliate in Oklahoma City. Bachman has spent much of the past two years as a backup with the Dallas Stars. Last season was a tough one, as Bachman logged a save percentage of just .885 in 13 games, He was solid as a Steelheads rookie in 2009-10. Jeremie Blain, the Steelies’ second-leading scorer among defensemen last season, has signed an NHL-level contract with the Vancouver Canucks. Blain was on an AHL-level deal with the Chicago Wolves and was assigned to Idaho last season.
Before we let this week’s issue of Sports Illustrated go, we need to mention the exposure the Payette River Games received in “Go Figure,” SI’s by-the-numbers feature. The number was 28: “Days before her July 19 due date that two-time world kayak champion Emily Jackson, 23, won the women’s freestyle event at the Payette River Games in Cascade, Idaho.” A nice capper to the first-time effort anchored by Kelly’s Whitewater Park.
This Day In Sports…July 10, 1934:
Baseball’s second All-Star Game provides one of the mid-season classic’s all-time great moments, as Carl Hubbell of the New York Giants strikes out Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Jimmie Foxx, Al Simmons and Joe Cronin in succession. Still, the American League would go on to win the game, 9-7.
(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.)