Tuesday, July 31, 2012.
You can fill out your preseason calendar now. You have one chance to see Boise State before the Broncos journey to East Lansing to face Michigan State—the public scrimmage on Saturday, August 18. BSU quarterbacks just need practice times on their calendars, as they will have no interview appointments before the season starts. Joe Southwick, Nick Patti, Grant Hedrick and Jimmy Laughrea will be all playbook all the time. Boise State will decide later how much (if any) you’ll hear from the QB’s this season. Fall camp begins Saturday, with veterans practicing during the morning session the first four days and newcomers drilling in the afternoon.
The two most stable position groups going into fall camp will be wide receiver and offensive line. And senior left guard Joe Kellogg was a worthy advocate of the O-line as he represented the Broncos at Mountain West Media Days. “We can make it really easy on the new quarterback, whoever it’s going to be,” said Kellogg. “We really do have the most experience on the team. These guys have played in big games.”
Boise State had to provide the Mountain West with a theoretical depth chart for the conference media guide. And, left to right, the offensive line goes Faraji Wright, Kellogg, Cory Yriarte, Jake Broyles and Charles Leno. Only Kellogg and Leno are “official” returning starters, but Yriarte spent more time than not at center in place of hobbled veteran Thomas Byrd, and Broyles began last season as the starter at right guard before going down with an injury. Among the backups, I’d say Brenel Myers’ start in the 2010 Fiesta Bowl and Michael Ames’ start against Oregon in the 2009 season opener qualify as big games. Plus, Spencer Gerke got plenty of time against Georgia and later got some starts, and Matt Paradis started a game. The only guy on the two-deep who hasn’t started is Rees Odhiambo.
It’ll be the elephant in the room for Denver and Ryan Clady this season. The Broncos and Clady have mutually decided to cut off contract negotiations until after the season, when the former Boise State star is set to become a free agent. Denver had offered him a five-year, $50 million deal with $28 million guaranteed. That would have put Clady in a tie for the third highest-paid veteran offensive tackle in the NFL. But Clady and his agent were looking for the O-line mountaintop, which is the $11.5 million a season Joe Thomas makes in Cleveland.
Breeja Larson’s near-false start was unsettling yesterday in the women’s 100-meter breaststroke final yesterday at the Summer Olympics. But the one-time Centennial High student was a split-second behind Lithuania’s Ruta Meilutyte at the 50-meter mark before falling off and finishing sixth. Larson went off the platform early but was allowed a restart with the other finalists due to an equipment malfunction. Meilutyte won the gold, and American Rebecca Soni, who Larson upset in the U.S. Olympic Trials, grabbed silver.
A Boise Hawks reset as they enjoyed their second day off of the summer yesterday. The Hawks, who struggled mightily in the first half of the season, are showing signs of life. That’s the reason the Northwest League went to a first half/second half format—situations change, rosters change, and teams are afforded a fresh start. Boise is 4-2 in the second half after logging back-to-back 1-0 shutouts. The Hawks pitching staff, which did not record a shutout last season, is tied with Yakima with five shutout victories this summer and has not allowed an earned run in its last 23 1/3 innings. The Hawks close out their current nine-game homestand with a three-game series against Spokane beginning tonight.
There were lots of Hawks to choose from yesterday, but it was right-hander Ian Dickson who was named Northwest League Pitcher of the Week. Dickson went 2-0 last week, throwing 11 shutout innings and allowing just four hits while striking out eight. Dickson tossed six innings of one-hit ball in a victory last Tuesday over Yakima, following that up with a five-inning, three-hit stint in Sunday night’s win over Tri-City.
Former Hawk Marwin Gonzalez might be the most tenured member of the Houston Astros before long if the club keeps wheeling and dealing. Or, he could be part of a trade deadline transaction, if he has perceived value. Gonzalez went 3-for-5 with three RBI Sunday, snapping out of an 0-for-14 slump as the woeful Astros picked up a 9-5 win over Pittsburgh, The 23-year-old shortstop is batting .268 for the season after going 1-for-3 last night versus the Brewers. Gonzalez played for Boise in 2008, hitting .279 and knocking in 43 runs. Meanwhile, the Cubs’ Geovany Soto, who played a grand total of one game for the Hawks in 2002, has reportedly been traded to the Rangers. Soto is struggling this season, with a sub-Mendoza batting average of only .199.
Borah High grad Stephen Fife was on Idaho SportsTalk yesterday and said he’s scheduled for another start for the Dodgers tomorrow night against the Diamondbacks. Key word being “scheduled.” Fife knows there could be some movement that involves him as the major league trade deadline hits today. Last year he was part of a deal that sent him from the Red Sox to L.A.—announced four minutes before the deadline. As for getting the best of the Giants last Friday on a night when star pitcher Matt Cain was on the mound, Fife said, “Sometimes the name is bigger than another name, but it’s more me against that (Giants) lineup.” The Dodgers coaching staff has warned him about what may be ahead. “You haven’t been up here long enough for (hitters) to know you,” Fife said he’s been told.
A KTVB.com “Mountain West Forgotten Fact of the Day”: Fresno State goes into uncharted territory this year, not only as a new member of the Mountain West, but with someone not named Pat Hill as its head coach. New Bulldogs head man Tim DeRuyter treads lightly on that subject. “You honor the tradition that (Hill) built—the ‘anyone, anywhere, anytime’ mentality,” said DeRuyter. But the former Texas A&M and Air Force defensive coordinator knows the main reason Hill isn’t there anymore. “We need to start winning conference championships.” Quarterback Derek Carr was very close to Hill, having hung around the program when his older brother David was a star more than 10 years ago. “Coach Hill was like a second dad to me,” said Carr. “But I’m a Bulldog above all. Coach DeRuyter has taught me at a different level.”
This Day In Sports…July 31, 1997, 15 years ago today:
The baseball trade that set the table for history (or infamy?)—the Oakland A’s deal slugger Mark McGwire to the St. Louis Cardinals. McGwire at that point had 34 home runs and would hit 24 more with the Cards, for a season total of 58. The next year, of course, he got in a groove in St. Louis and broke Roger Maris’s 37-year-old single-season home run record in a rampage that at the time may have saved baseball…but is now shrouded in a dark cloud.
(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.)