Thursday, October 7, 2010.
So here was Boise State going into the 2010 season with a senior running back who was a thousand-yard rusher the year before. And he was, in effect, a third-teamer behind Doug Martin and D.J. Harper. Now, Jeremy Avery has his own unique spot on the depth chart. Avery began the season as an offensive rover of sorts, and that role has been magnified with a second straight season-ending knee injury to Harper. Coach Chris Petersen says Avery has embraced his place in the offense, even if it isn’t what he envisioned. “I don’t mean that he was happy by any means—but he handled it as well as he could,” said Petersen. “And sure enough, it’s not even halfway through the season, and things have changed.” For Avery now, it’s a little wildcat, a little tailback, and a little rabbit-out-of-the-hat action (he scored last week on an 18-yard reverse).
All Avery needs is space. When he gets it, he can break records. The 5-9, 174-pounder holds the top two single-game marks for yards-per-carry in Boise State history, averaging 14.2 yards per attempt at Idaho two seasons ago, and topping that with his amazing 16.9-yard average last year at Fresno State. Avery’s 1,151 rushing yards in 2009 were the seventh-most ever by a Bronco. This season he has 134 yards on the ground and the one touchdown last week.
Toledo coach Tim Beckman is slated to decide today who will start at quarterback for the Rockets Saturday night in Bronco Stadium. That became an issue last week when season-long starter Austin Dantin was ineffective and was lifted in the 20-15 loss to Wyoming. Dantin was just 8-of-20 for 76 yards before Terrance Owens got the call from Beckman near the end of the third quarter. Owens, a redshirt freshman, was only 6-of-15 for 109 yards, but he did lead the Rockets on two touchdown drives. One thing’s for sure: when facing a defensive line like Boise State’s, the Rockets are going to want a little certainty at the QB position.
Today we go to the Post-Standard way back in Syracuse, NY, and columnist Bud Poliquin, who sees Boise State’s plight this way: “All this time later, Marvin Hagler can likely identify with the Boise State Broncos. Now, you should remember Hagler. Great middleweight. Tough guy. Big heart. The works. But nobody with a belt would give him a chance to win the title for the longest time. In fact, it wasn’t until his 50th professional bout that Hagler stepped in with a reigning champion. And even on that night, against Vito Antuofermo in Las Vegas, the best Hagler was able to do by those who ran the game of boxing was register a draw with a guy he’d clearly pummeled.”
Poliquin continues: “The problem with Hagler? He was left-handed, he almost never took a step backward and he’d swing from bell to bell for as long as they kept ringing them. Simply, Marvin Hagler was far too dangerous for those with aspirations to fight. And so, for the longest time, they wouldn’t…and didn’t. Ladies and gentleman, we give you Marvin Hagler in cleats and on a blue turf: The Boise State Broncos.” Poliquin relates Hagler to Boise State in that most BCS teams will not enter Bronco Stadium. Along those lines, you have to give Oregon, Oregon State and Washington State credit as the only BCS schools that have had the gumption to play the Broncos on the blue.
Bishop Kelly and Eagle High have taken their turns as pipeline schools to Boise State the past decade. Now it’s Capital that is stocking the Broncos with local standouts. Capital senior safety and running back Corey Bell has committed to Boise State, joining former Eagles Jarrell Root, Kyle Efaw, Geraldo Hiwat and Kyle Sosnowski. There would have been a sixth Capital alum on the Bronco roster had offensive lineman Bryant Thomas worked out. Bell has been a defensive standout for three years for the Eagles and this season is going both ways, making an impact on offense as a feature back. I remember Corey as a third-grade basketball player for the “Court Menace” in Y-Ball. A born leader.
A lot has been made of Idaho’s defensive pressure parade so far this season, as the Vandals are sixth in the FBS in sacks with 17. That’s already more than they logged in 13 games last season. But coach Robb Akey is making a lot in bye week practice of Idaho’s other sack stat. The Vandals are 118th out of 120 FBS teams in sacks allowed, averaging a staggering 4.2 per game. Some of it can be traced to the wholesale remaking of the offensive line, and some to a lack of mobility on the part of quarterback Nathan Enderle. But don’t forget the value DeMaundray Woolridge brought to backfield protection packages in his one season with the Vandals. It’s not just Woolridge’s bulldozer running that is missed this year.
Two Idaho Steelheads off last season’s team and the twin brother of another have been assigned to the team by the Texas Stars. Guillame Monast and Michael Neal were assigned to Idaho yesterday by the AHL’s Texas Stars, as was Tyler Ludwig, twin of former Steelie Trevor Ludwig. Monast appeared in 67 games for the Steelheads last season and Neal 57. New coach Hardy Sauter has also acquired a guy he watched in the WHL, 22-year-old forward Matt Tassone. The Steelies take to the ice tomorrow night for the first of two exhibition games against the Utah Grizzlies.
This is a good “where are they now” bit: former Idaho Stampede forward Brent Petway is in training camp with the Harlem Globetrotters. This comes as no surprise to anyone who watched the acrobatic Petway play for the Stampede and saw the video of his winning alley-oop, between-the-legs jam at the D-League Slam Dunk Championship in 2008. Petway, the Michigan product, played two seasons with the Stamps. “It takes a special player to be a Harlem Globetrotter, as one needs not only outstanding basketball skills, but showmanship and the ability to touch lives all over the world on and off the court,” said Sweet Lou Dunbar, the team’s director of player personnel, in the Detroit Free Press. Petway would fill that bill. He’s one of six rookies in camp.
This Day In Sports…October 7, 1984:
The late Walter Payton becomes the NFL’s all-time leading rusher. Payton rushed for 154 yards in the Chicago Bears’ 20-7 win over New Orleans to surpass Jim Brown’s career mark. “Sweetness” ended up with 16,726 yards in 13 seasons; Dallas Cowboys running back Emmitt Smith eventually broke Payton’s record. Not all roses for Chicago that day, though, as the San Diego Padres beat the Cubs in the final game of the National League Championship Series to extend the Cubbies’ World Series-less streak to 39 years.
(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 1350 KTIK/The Ticket. He also served as color commentator on KTVB’s telecasts of Boise State football for 14 seasons.)