Monday, August 5, 2013.
On this, the first day of Boise State fall camp, senioritis sets in. Coach Chris Petersen uses that term as a positive. Bronco seniors come to the realization that they have one more shot to make their marks. And Petersen repeatedly comes back to the seniors every year as the group that has to step up for his team to sustain its success. You can see that thread running through this year’s senior class. For starters, you have quarterback Joe Southwick who, based on his finish last year, should significantly exceed the 19 touchdown passes he threw last season. If he can hold steady on the interception front—he had seven last year—it could be that bellwether year for Southwick.
There are two Boise State wide receivers who had finishes similar to Southwick’s. Geraldo Boldewijn and Aaron Burks. Since the duo were freshmen in 2010, everyone has sensed a breakout was imminent, but it hasn’t really come for either. Senioritis time. Boldewijn has a total of four career touchdown catches. It wouldn’t be surprising to see him triple his career TDs this year. Unless there’s something we don’t know, this will be the first time since his freshman year that Boldewijn has avoided suspension and played in an August or September game. As for Burks, who greenshirted way back in 2009 (graduating early from high school in order to enroll in time for spring football), there’s no telling what he could do to his career stats, which currently total 29 receptions, 434 yards and one touchdown.
Senioritis on the Boise State defense encompasses various levels of afflication. There’s Ricky Tjong-A-Tjoe, who’s been thrust into a leadership role now as the Broncos’ feature defensive tackle. Nickel/linebacker Jonathan Brown, already tabbed as a leader on this year’s squad, wraps up an injury-plagued career with a chance to be an impact player. He just needs to stay on the field. And you have Kharyee Marshall, who was a pass-rushing demon coming out of spring football as a redshirt freshman but has been sidelined a lot by injuries since and hasn't reached the pinnacle. Believe it or not, Marshall has all of one sack in Bronco career. Watch that number this fall.
One of the first assignments from Petersen as fall camp convenes is for each Boise State player to know the names of all 105 or so of his teammates. There’ll be a real stumper if coaches want to get technical. No. 55 this year is defensive tackle Deuce Mataele, the junior college transfer with whom Bronco fans should be eminently familiar by the time the season’s over. But “Deuce” isn’t Mataele’s given name. His real first name is “Tutulupeatau.” Say that 10 times really fast.
Southwick is out of the shadows now on the “watch list watch.” After getting notice for the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award last Thursday, Boise State’s senior quarterback was named to the 2013 Manning Award watch list Friday. The Manning Award list goes in tandem with ESPN’s new Total Quarterback Rating (QBR), with the top 30 returning quarterbacks making up the list. Total QBR measures a quarterback’s contributions to scoring on each play—Southwick was 16th in QBR last year among returning quarterbacks.
Those who are ready to automatically write off Kellen Moore’s NFL career may want to call a time-out. The former Boise State great is getting publicity as positive as any since he signed as a free agent with Detroit in April, 2012. Justin Rogers of mlive.com writes that Moore is “showcasing significantly more arm strength than he did as a rookie.” Moore credits the weight room a little and frame of mind a lot. "I think, more importantly, it's just knowing where you're going, having confidence in what you're doing. When you're doing that, your body is in position to make your throws.”
The Lions saw the potential in the winningest quarterback in college football history last year and kept him on their 53-man roster throughout the campaign, but he didn’t take a snap in the regular season. This year, maybe? "He's made very accurate passes," Detroit coach Jim Schwartz said of Moore in training camp. "We liked that about him last year and we're seeing the things that have made him such an accomplished college football player." The Lions open the preseason this Friday when they host the New York Jets. Moore is slated to see a lot of action, his first since the final preseason game last August.
A couple other NFL notes: Cincinnati is listing former Boise State standout George Iloka as first-team strong safety on their depth chart. Iloka, veteran Taylor Mays and rookie Shawn Williams have all been working with the first-team defense at strong safety early in camp. And Tommy Gallarda’s bothersome shoulder has been too much to overcome in Atlanta. The Falcons have reached an injury settlement with the former BSU tight end and have released him.
How would you like to be the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors right now? UH opened fall camp Friday, with coach Norm Chow announcing that his offensive coordinator, Aaron Price, “is no longer with the team.” Price had been hired in February after spending the last nine seasons on the staff of his father, Mike, at UTEP. So things just didn’t work out between Chow and Price. But wow. Price will be paid his full salary for the year despite not being around. It’s hard to imagine Hawaii improving on last season’s woeful 3-9 record.
The Boise Hawks went the power route yesterday in rallying past Everett, 10-5. The Hawks socked three home runs, two by Rony Rodriguez and one by Jordan Hankins, his first professional homer. Every Boise batter had at least one hit, with Rodriguez going 3-for-4 with three RBI and Kris Bryant extending his hitting streak to 10 games with a 3-for-5 day that included two doubles. Eight Hawks, plus manager Gary Van Tol and hitting coach Bill Buckner, will hang around in Everett for tomorrow night’s Northwest League All-Star Game. The rest of the club will have the next three days off beforee returning home on Thursday to open an eight-game homestand.
The Hawks’ Danny Lockhart has made the rare move from short-season Class A to Triple-A, as he was promoted to the Iowa Cubs Sunday. Lockhart was hitting .309 with 16 runs batted in for Boise and had been named a Northwest League South Division All-Star. On the Iowa roster he replaces former Hawk Logan Watkins, who was called up to Chicago and became the 102nd Hawks alum to make the majors yesterday. Watkins went 1-for-4, with his first big league hit coming off none other than Borah High grad Stephen Fife in a 1-0 loss to the Dodgers. Fife was summoned back to the big club after his disabled list stint and upped his record to 4-3 and lowered his ERA to 2.47, throwing 5 1/3 scoreless innings while scattering seven hits.
KTVB.com Mountain West Factoid of the Day: This is the best conference home Utah State has had in more than 50 years. And having a home is important to the Aggies. As a member of the Skyline Conference from 1938-61, USU was aligned with BYU and Utah, not to mention New Mexico, Colorado State and Wyoming. But the Aggies were left behind when the WAC was formed in 1962 and spent the next 16 seasons as a football independent. They were a fish-out-of-water in the PCAA/Big West from 1977-2000, then spent yet two more seasons as a football independent. If the WAC was a lifeline for Utah State in 2005, the Mountain West is the zenith in 2013.
This Day In Sports…August 5, 2001:
Trailing 12-0 in the third inning and 14-2 in the seventh, the Cleveland Indians stage a stupendous rally and beat the Seattle Mariners, 15-14, in 11 innings at Jacobs Field. The Indians joined the 1911 Chicago White Sox and the 1925 Philadelphia Athletics as the only teams in big league history to overcome 12-run deficits. It was an aberration for the M's, as they won an American League record 116 games that season.
(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.)