Wednesday, August 8, 2012.
All last winter before spring football started, there was the buzz for Boise State’s Kellen Moore replacement derby, and it went Joe Southwick, Grant Hedrick, Jimmy Laughrea and Nick Patti. The order of the quarterbacks in the hype machine is different now: Southwick, Patti, Hedrick and Laughrea. Can Hedrick and Laughrea change that in fall camp? They’re getting their chance now. Coach Chris Petersen is going to let it play out some more before he makes his choice. Some Mountain West coaches facing quarterback decisions said at Media Days in Las Vegas they want to get it done as quickly as possible. Hawaii coach Norm Chow has already done it, announcing Sean Schroeder as his man. Petersen was not one of those guys. “You want to get it right, as right as you can,” said Petersen. “I think about it in terms of when you know—when it’s right.”
Just like the season is always one-game-at-a-time for Boise State, August is one day at a time. But Petersen can’t ignore what’s around the corner. “We really try to focus on ourselves in fall camp,” said Petersen. “But when you have an opponent like Michigan State, it’s hard not to think about them.” What do the Spartans think of themselves? They think new quarterback Andrew Maxwell has the “it” factor. "No doubt Maxwell has swag," wide receiver Bennie Fowler told MLive.com. "We came in together in '09, I could already tell. He's got his (Tom) Brady sleeves, and he's got the Aaron Rodgers walk, so he's ready to go."
Joe Tessitore, who has called a bundle of Boise State’s ESPN Thursday/Friday games (primarily with Rod Gilmore), has graduated to Saturday nights on the Worldwide Leader. ESPN hopes his knack for announcing nail-biters continues. Writes SI.com’s Stewart Mandel: “Tessitore remembers sprinkling the dust on the night of Nov. 26, 2010, sometime toward the beginning of Nevada's comeback from a 17-0 deficit en route to an improbable overtime upset of third-ranked Boise State. Though he'd called games for ESPN since 2004, including three seasons of Friday night games, Tessitore had remained largely unknown among football fans until that fateful night in Reno.
"’NO ... GOOD!’ rang Tessitore's tense, stentorian voice when Broncos kicker Kyle Brotzman inexplicably missed a chip-shot game-winning field goal. The Wolf Pack wound up ruining Boise's Rose Bowl and national title hopes,” Mandel writes. After that infamous game, Tessitore found himself in the booth for a series of uber-dramatic finishes, including Robert Griffin III’s unbelievable game-winning touchdown pass to beat Oklahoma last November. "It's fun to consider," Ed Placey, ESPN's senior coordinating producer for college football, told Mandel. "Do games like this follow Joe around?" Gilmore will be paired with play-by-play man Carter Blackburn for the Boise State-Michigan State opener August 31.
It was a bit uncomfortable for Boise native Nick Symmonds yesterday—until the last heat was run and he knew he was in. Symmonds didn’t finish in the top two of his heat in the 800-meter semifinals yesterday at the Summer Olympics, but he had the fastest time of the non-qualifiers (love that “non-AQ” term) and moved into tomorrow’s finals as a wild card. Symmonds likely has to improve by two seconds if he wants to medal. The former Bishop Kelly star ran 1 minute, 44.87 seconds yesterday—his personal best is 1:43.76, recorded in Rieti, Italy, in 2010. In that same race, Kenya’s David Rudisha set the 800 world record of 1:41.01. And Rudisha will be there tomorrow.
NCAA decathlon champion Kurt Felix of Boise State begins competition today in London, representing Grenada. Felix is hoping to use these Olympics as a launching pad to the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro, so he’ll be looking to improve on everything he did at the NCAA meet. Felix said on Idaho SportsTalk the day after winning his title his focus would be on the pole vault, discus and shot put. So here are some numbers to follow the next two days, if you choose to. In Des Moines in June, Felix pole vaulted 4.6 meters, whirled the discus 36.36 meters, and heaved the shot put 13.75 meters. His best event is the javelin—he dominated the NCAA decathlon field with a throw of 69.36 meters.
The Boise Hawks had their three-game road winning streak snapped last night in a 6-3 loss at Everett. They did not go without a home run, though, as Daniel Vogelbach hit his third since joining the Hawks. Meanwhile, Hawks first baseman Rock Shoulders won the 2012 Moniker Madness competition, crowned as the guy with the best name in Minor League Baseball. Shoulders garnered 60 percent of the vote against Hickory Crawdads shortstop Rougned Odor. Shoulders now joins past Moniker Madness champions Houston Summers, Will Startup, Dusty Napoleon, Rowdy Hardy and Seth Schwindenhammer.
Lo and behold, the Hawks now have had an even 100 former players make the majors. Left-hander Brooks Raley debuted last night, getting the start on the mound for the Cubs against the Padres. Raley, Chicago’s Minor League Pitcher of the Month in July, began to falter in the third inning. But the Cubs, conceding the fact that their six-game winning streak would stretch to seven, left Raley in to take his lumps. When he was done, he had yielded seven San Diego runs on eight hits over four innings in an eventual 7-4 loss. Raley is one of those borderline Boise alums, having made only two appearances for the Hawks at the end of the 2009 season. But he still counts. That 100 milestone came sooner than anyone thought it would this year. There have now been 10 former Hawks to debut in the bigs this season—that’s a record, I believe.
The Idaho Stampede’s coaching picture will clear before long now that Portland has named Terry Stotts as its new head coach. Stotts, the top assistant in Dallas the last four seasons, has previously served two-year stints as head coach in both Milwaukee and Atlanta. Under the Trail Blazers’ new single-affiliation agreement with Idaho, Stotts and the staff he hires will determine what system the Stampede run, once the Blazers determine Idaho’s head coach. One theory has Kaleb Canales, who was Portland’s interim coach after Nate McMillan was fired, being sent to the Stamps since his NBA coaching resume is a bit thin.
Boise’s Maddie Sheils rode a fine line all afternoon yesterday at the U.S. Women’s Amateur in Cleveland. A check of the leaderboard in the late afternoon showed Sheils sitting precisely on the cut line—with three holes to go. She had no margin for error. But the former Nebraska star was indeed the last player in to qualify for match play. Sheils faces Sierra Brooks of Sorrento, FL, today in the first round of match play. Caldwell’s Cali Hipp missed the cut.
This Day In Sports…August 8, 1976:
In a 5-2 victory over Kansas City, the Chicago White Sox make history by wearing shorts. Thank goodness Comiskey Park had natural turf. The latest of Bill Veeck’s experiments didn’t take (it was probably then that they started planning for Disco Demolition Night).
(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.)