Tuesday, Nov 5 at 4:41 PM
Thursday, September 15, 2011.
On his KBOI radio show last night, Boise State coach Chris Petersen reiterated his feeling on statistics. He doesn’t like ‘em. Most of ‘em, anyway. But there are glaring exceptions. One, naturally, is turnover margin. Another, discussed at length during the Kellen Moore era, is pass efficiency rating. Petersen made a big deal of a third last night. Call it “sack margin.” It couldn’t have been much better in the win over Georgia in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game. The Broncos registered six sacks of Aaron Murray—the Bulldogs went sackless against Moore. That’s a plus-6, and Petersen sees that number as really important. Boise State led the nation in sacks last season with 48 and was third in the country in fewest sacks allowed with eight. How about a nation’s best plus-40 in “sack margin” last year?
Shea McClellin had 2½ of Boise State’s six sacks against Georgia—a sterling start to the former Marsing Husky’s senior year. McClellin started last season similarly, scoring touchdowns in two of the Broncos’ first five games. The second TD happened to come against Toledo on the blue turf, a 36-yard interception return that blew the game open on the Rockets’ first drive of the second half of an eventual 57-14 BSU victory. On KBOI last night, McClellin talked about the importance of the Broncos’ depth on the defensive line. He said the ability to go full-tilt for six plays, then rest for six plays while the second team is in allows for exceptionally strong and fresh fourth quarters. That’s always big on the road.
How Boise State rolls out its running game tomorrow night without fullbacks Dan Paul and Chandler Koch will be interesting. In the instances when the Broncos do use a fullback, they can plug defensive tackle Michael Atkinson or linebacker Tommy Smith into the spot. If you attended the Blue & Orange spring game in 2009, I know what you’re thinking. Would Boise State ever hand the ball off to Atkinson, the affectionately-nicknamed “Canadian Bacon” who doubled as a running back in high school? The Broncos did on that April night, and the 6-0, 312-pounder rumbled 25 yards.
Despite the ever-increasing worry surrounding the eligibility of Dutch imports Geraldo Boldewijn, Cedric Febis and Ricky Tjong-A-Tjoe, Boise State has gone outside the U.S. for two more commitments to the 2012 recruiting class. And the latest additions are evidence that the Broncos want the defensive line tradition they’ve developed to extend deep into this decade. Scout.com reports that Boise State has received a verbal from Rory Connop out of Edmonton, Alberta, a guy who never played high school football but has thrived at the club level.
Scout.com also says Boise State has landed Elliot Hoyte, a defensive end from Tavistock, England. "They reckon he's the best defensive end prospect they've seen in 10 years," said Brian Smallworth, Hoyte's former coach at the Cornish Sharks, on the BBC’s website. The story is accompanied by a photo of Hoyte in a Boise State shirt. If these two players do indeed sign on National Letter Intent Day in February, you can bet BSU will have all the I’s dotted and the T’s crossed. The Broncos now have 16 commitments for the 2012 class.
Idaho State fans must sense something good is going to come out of the hiring of Mike Kramer as head coach, because the Bengals attracted their biggest crowd in four years for their home opener, a 44-7 win over Montana Western in Holt Arena. The last time ISU drew more than the 8,002 that turned out last Saturday was in 2007, when No. 3 Montana came to town. The Bengals will try to keep it going when they host Northern Colorado in their first Big Sky game of the season this Saturday. ISU will be trying to beat an FCS school for the first time since the end of the 2009 season. The Bengals have lost eight straight to what used to be called Division I-AA teams.
Troy Merritt can make an adjustment to what 2012 might be like for him with a focused effort in the Albertsons Boise Open. The former Boise State star has experienced a sophomore jinx of sorts on the PGA Tour this season, making only 6 of 19 cuts with winnings of $133,553. Compare that to his rookie season last year, when Merritt played the final two rounds in 14 of 29 events and pocketed $786,977. He may be looking at Q-School this fall, if he chooses to go that route. Merritt tees off today at 1:25 p.m. on No. 10, with fellow former Bronco and PGA Tour pro Graham DeLaet playing in the group behind Merritt’s. This is the first event on the Nationwide Merritt has played this year, but it may he his home next year without a big finish on the big tour this fall.
I play meteorologist now by pointing out that this perfectly toasty September is making up for a very cool June, and that’s making for a perfect week at the Albertsons Boise Open, even with the cool-down that’s coming tomorrow. The only day this month that hasn’t landed in the 80’s or 90’s was on the first, when the high was 77. In June, we only had seven days the entire month break 80, with just three of them topping 90. Had the Boise Open been played the third weekend in June, same as the U.S. Open, three of the four days wouldn’t have cracked 70. Remember that if temperatures are, as forecast, in the low 70’s tomorrow, Saturday and Sunday. There’s a reason this tournament is scheduled in September.
The Idaho Steelheads have another returnee in the fold as training camp sits 2½ weeks away. Defenseman Steve Oleksy has re-upped for a third season with the Steelheads after establishing himself as one of the club’s top blue-liners last season, scoring 21 points and logging a team-high 134 penalty minutes. The 25-year-old Michigan native also got his first AHL call-up last season, playing in 17 games for Lake Erie.
Former Idaho Stampede coach Bob MacKinnon Jr. is back in the NBA D-League, now as the new coach of the Springfield Armor. MacKinnon coached one season for the Stampede in 2009-10, but on several levels things just never clicked, despite the fact he had led the Colorado 14ers to the league title the season before. MacKinnon coached in China last season for Tianjin, which finished last in the Chinese Basketball Association with a 5-27 record. Springfield is the only D-League affiliate of the New Jersey Nets, so McKinnon’s assignment will be to mold the team after the Nets’ style and use the plays and terminology of Nets coach Avery Johnson.
This Day In Sports…September 15, 1961:
One of the NFL’s most prolific quarterbacks ever is born. About the only thing Dan Marino didn’t do during his career with the Miami Dolphins was win a Super Bowl. He led the Dolphins to the playoffs 10 times in his 17-year career, throwing for 61,361 yards (an NFL record surpassed by Brett Favre in 2007. Marino still holds the league’s single-season mark with 5,084 passing yards in 1984. The former Pitt star was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2005. Dan Marino is 50 years old today. Oh—and former USC and current Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll turns 60 today.
(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.)