Tuesday, February 15, 2011.
Bush Hamdan experienced the intense disappointment of being passed over as starting quarterback his senior year at Boise State for freshman Kellen Moore. But Hamdan was always involved on the sidelines. It was part of his game plan. He got his coaching start on the equipment staff with Dan Hawkins at Colorado, allowing him to experience Coaching 101. Then Hamdan spent last season as an offensive assistant at Maryland. Now he has his first full-time assistant’s job, hired as the tight ends coach at Sacramento State. Little known fact: in his four years at Boise State , Hamdan completed 19-of-36 passes for 276 yards and four touchdowns. That would be a good game for somebody. Also at Sac State, former Bronco Andy Avalos is the new linebackers coach. Avalos also got his coaching start with Hawk before moving on to Nebraska Kearney.
Tanner Mangum is shaping up as the most sought-after high school quarterback out of the state of Idaho since, well, maybe Jake Plummer. Mangum, currently a junior at Eagle High, now has four scholarship offers after picking up overtures from BYU, Utah and Arkansas in the past couple weeks, according to Bronco Country.com. Mangum has an affinity for the Cougars—that’s the offer he hoped for, so consider them a favorite. But Boise State, which offered Mangum a scholarship in September, is still in the mix, he told Bronco Country. Mangum will attend the Broncos’ football camp in June.
Speaking of Jake Plummer, there’s an extended feature on the former Capital High star in this week’s Sports Illustrated. It’s been almost four years now since Plummer announced his sudden retirement from the NFL after being traded from Denver to Tampa Bay. The SI story by Chris Ballard starts with then-Buccaneers coach Jon Gruden flying out to Coeur d’Alene in the summer of 2007 with his general manager and trying to talk Plummer into playing again. Ballard details Jake’s rebelliousness, his relationship with the late Pat Tillman, his love of teammates, and his zest for life. He’s cashed in on the latter with handball and beer in his idyllic and semi-anonymous post-NFL existence in the Panhandle. Plummer’s still only 36 years old.
The ACC released its 2011 football schedule on Valentine’s Day (if only we were so lucky to get Boise State’s this early). Virginia Tech is getting some grief for its non-conference schedule, which includes Appalachian State, East Carolina, Arkansas State and Marshall. Writes Mark Giannotto in the Washington Post: “The past two seasons Virginia Tech opened its schedule with high profile matchups against Alabama and Boise State at neutral sites. In 2011, the Hokies take the more traditional route and face Appalachian State at Lane Stadium—although we all remember what happened last time Hokies fans penciled in a home win over a I-AA opponent.” And Giannotto doesn’t even mention Michigan, circa 2007. Appalachian State is Virginia Tech’s only non-conference foe that finished with a winning record last season.
Tostitos Fiesta Bowl CEO John Junker, the guy who stood in Boise State’s locker room in Reno after the Broncos’ regular season finale in 2006 and all but invited them to their first Fiesta Bowl, has been placed on administrative leave. Bowl officials are awaiting a report from a special independent committee looking into allegations that Junker helped encourage Fiesta Bowl employees to make illegal political contributions to specific candidates, followed by reimbursements disguised as bonuses. Junker has been the face of the Fiesta Bowl for more than 30 years.
The San Diego Union-Tribune is speculating that Legedu Naanee’s arrest in Indianapolis on public intoxication and resisting arrest charges early Saturday morning “likely sealed his fate with the team that drafted him in 2007.” The former Boise State star’s agent, Buddy Baker, was with him, according to police. The Union-Tribune notes that Naanee is expected to be a free agent once the NFL’s labor issues are resolved. In four seasons with the Chargers, Naanee has 63 catches for 746 yards and three touchdowns.
As we transition to late February, we can do a little handicapping on Boise State’s chances of a winning season in Leon Rice’s first year as coach. The odds increased enormously with the Broncos’ 69-63 win over Idaho Saturday night. Boise State, at 14-11, needs two wins in its final five regular season games to clinch a finish above .500. That would put the Broncos at 16-14 going into the WAC Tournament, meaning even a first round loss couldn’t keep them from a winning campaign. How about a 20-win season? Well, BSU would have to win out in the regular season and open the WAC tourney with a victory, or, make a deep Cinderella run into the postseason.
It’s the Idaho Stampede’s turn for scheduling quirks to set in. The Stampede host the Bakersfield Jam tomorrow night; then they have NBA All-Star weekend off before going to Utah on President’s Day. And they’re back in Qwest Arena the following weekend for two more games against Bakersfield. The Stamps have won seven of their last 11 games, which is pretty good for a team that started 2-13.
New ground broken by the Boise State women’s gymnastics team, as the Broncos have jumped to No.11 at GymInfo.com, their highest ranking ever. And junior Amy Glass has become the first Boise State gymnast to be ranked No. 1 in the country in an event, as she now tops the balance beam list. It was quite a situation that catapulted Glass into the top spot, as she tied for first in the beam in a Bronco win at San Jose State last Friday on the same floor where she broke her neck warming up on bars two years ago. Boise State visits rival Utah State Friday night.
Congratulations to Bob Behler, Boise State’s play-by-play voice, who’s been named the Idaho Sportscaster of the Year by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association. Behler will join 109 other sportscasters and sportswriters from around the country for the NSSA’s 52nd Annual Awards Weekend in May in Salisbury, NC. Idaho’s Sportswriter of the Year was the Statesman’s Brian Murphy. Congrats to Murph, too. Maybe they’ll carpool to Murphy’s old stomping grounds.
This Day In Sports…February 15, 1978:
In one of boxing’s big upsets, Leon Spinks wins a 15-round decision over Muhammad Ali in Las Vegas to take the world heavyweight title. Ali was 36 at the time, but had held the title for over three years. He would get it back from Spinks seven months later in a rematch in New Orleans.
(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.)