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The search for that golden toe

The search for that golden toe

by Tom Scott

Bio | Follow: @thescottslant


Posted on April 11, 2013 at 7:21 AM

Updated Thursday, Apr 11 at 11:05 AM

Thursday, April 11, 2013.

The past two Blue & Orange Games, the crowd in Bronco Stadium has held its collective breath when it came time for field goals (and even extra points).  To be sure, Bronco placekicking was conservative last season, when senior Michael Frisina wrested away the starting job from junior Dan Goodale and subsequently did everything asked of him, including the game-winning field goal that beat Washington in the MAACO Bowl Las Vegas last December. 

Now Goodale is trying to win back the spot he had for most of the 2011 season, competing with junior college transfer Tyler Rausa.  Coach Chris Petersen says the placekicking post is essentially a dead heat going into Saturday’s spring game.  “The important thing is to find one guy who can get it done for us when it really matters, when the pressure’s on him,” Petersen said.  The pressure Saturday evening comes from the quest to avoid about 15,000 groans.

How much the Boise State coaching staff takes the shackles off the running backs in front of a live audience remains to be seen, but fans will be anxious to see how Jay Ajayi is coming along.  Ajayi has put himself in position for a nice sophomore season.  “We hope he’ll make another step, and if he can, he’ll be an impact back,” said Petersen.  The coach wants to see all the backs progress by late August, though, from Jack Fields to Devan Demas to Derrick Thomas to Aaron Baltazar (once he arrives).  “It’s got to be by committee,” Petersen said.  That’s the only way for the running game to prosper through three grueling months.

Savor every snap Saturday, because with four eight-minute quarters there won’t be as many as in a standard game.  The format for the Blue & Orange tilt will be offense against defense, with a scoring system you may want to write down.  The offense will get its points the conventional way.  The defense will receive six points for a touchdown, three points per turnover and fourth down stop, two points for a sack and one point for holding the offense to a field goal inside the red zone.  The game will end a busy day that starts with the sixth annual Beat Coach Pete Scholarship Fun Run & Walk (your runner’s bib will get you into the game free).

That the Boise State-BYU game is going to be shown on ESPN is not a surprise.  Come to think of it, the fact that it’s just been moved to a Friday night isn’t, either, as it was announced yesterday the game will be played Friday, October 25, in Provo.  The Broncos and Cougars played on a Thursday night on ESPN last year on the blue turf.  Since it’s a non-conference road game this year, it’s not subject to the new Mountain West TV clause that awards $300,000 for a national telecast on a major network.

Idaho State waited until after spring break to begin spring football and is into its second week now.  There’s as much drama on the sidelines for the Bengals as there is on the field, as only one of Mike Kramer’s assistants (among the ones who are still around) is coaching the same position he was last year during the 1-10 season Kramer calls the “disaster of 2012.”  ISU has settled on a starting quarterback, junior Justin Arias, despite the fact he didn’t take a snap last season while redshirting.

It’s all on Tyler Beskorowany between the pipes as the Idaho Steelheads go into Game 6 of the ECHL Western Conference quarterfinals tomorrow night at CenturyLink Arena.  Josh Robinson has been called up by Texas of the AHL, so Beskorowany will get his fourth straight postseason start.  Beskorowany has been streaky, from the masterful 1-0 shutout of the Eagles in Game 3 to the three-goal first-period struggle Tuesday night that saw him pulled in favor of Robinson.  I wonder where Chris Rawlings is now.  Rawlings is the goalie who spent the final two games of the regular season with the Steelies two weeks ago and recorded a shutout in his professional debut.

The film “42” opens this weekend.  And when you see it, pay close attention to Jackie Robinson’s baseball action scenes.  Chadwick Boseman stars as Robinson, but former Boise Hawk Jasha Balcom is Boseman’s stunt double for baserunning and infield play.  “Having the opportunity to be a part of that was amazing,” said Balcom.  “Looking at some of the footage—the way he slid, the way he would hold the bat, and the way he carried himself around the bases—I’ve always just admired him.”  Balcom was drafted by the Cubs in the 33rd round in 2003 and played for the Hawks in 2004.  He was a good base-stealer, and that attribute was key in landing him the role.

Triumphs have been few for the Boise State golf program, at least since Graham DeLaet and Troy Merritt graduated.  But the Bronco women broke some new ground this week, wrapping up a victory yesterday in the 17-team Cowboy Classic at the Ocotillo Golf Resort in Chandler, AZ.  Boise State’s Hayley Young also won medalist honors.  It was the Broncos’ first tournament team title since 2000, and the 19-stroke margin of victory over second-place Xavier was Boise State’s biggest in almost 20 years.  Young’s win was the first individual victory for a Bronco since 2005.

This Day In Sports…April 11, 2004:

After a career of coming close, Phil Mickelson wins his first major in 47 tries with a title on Easter Sunday at The Masters.  Mickelson birdied five of the last seven holes in the final round—and needed the one he got on 18 to edge Ernie Els.  “Lefty” had 22 PGA Tour victories to that point but had always met frustration in the majors.

(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.)