Thursday, May 9, 2013.
There’s some consternation out there over “what in the world is happening in the Bronco Football Complex?” The answer: exactly what should be happening. Chris Petersen has talked about this often over the years. Boise State’s football program isn’t for everybody. The Broncos painstakingly screen their recruits, and expectations are clearly laid out to them. Players are expected to follow through not only on the field, but in the classroom and the community. If one makes a mistake, the leash gets drastically shorter. There are no lines drawn between the All-American starter and the walk-on scout team player. Sam Ukwuachu and Lee Hightower are evidence of that (that’s why the system works). Maybe both will end up in the NFL. They just won’t be Boise State products, because they had a chance to take care of business—and they didn’t, for whatever reason.
Speaking of Petersen, Bruce Feldman of CBSSports.com talked to him last week at the Mountain West meetings in Phoenix and culled this not-so-surprising nugget: he prefers an eight-team (or more) playoff to the four-team system that will begin next year. But Petersen understands a 16-team playoff would mean a 16-game season for the two finalists—and that’s not feasible. So you know what? He’s not going to worry about it. “I've never been one of those guys that pays real close attention to things that I don't have any control over,” Petersen told Feldman. “So whatever the rules are or whatever the situation is, we just sit back and say, 'OK, Let's try to make it work.' Even with the BCS stuff, when we have taken care of business, it's worked out OK for us.”
Boise State’s not the only one with unplanned player departures. Fresno State has dismissed talented but troubled wideout Victor Dean and cornerback Davon Dunn for violations of athletic department policy. The Bulldogs were expecting a breakout season from Dean, who had 30 catches for 389 yards and two touchdowns last year as a sophomore before breaking his leg November 3 at Hawaii. Twenty-two of Dean’s grabs came in a three-game stretch in October that included a seven-catch day in a Fresno State loss on the blue turf.
Titus Young’s two arrests in 15 hours last Sunday have drawn some other gems to the surface. A story at Deadspin.com tells about Young banging on the doors of an AT&T store in suburban Detroit just after it closed, demanding to be let in. Young pulled the “do you know who I am?” routine. Per store policy, employees refused. Then the former Boise State wide receiver returned the next day, berating store personnel for not opening the doors for him. Young then proceeded to a bench in the middle of the store, laid down on it, and went to sleep. And wouldn’t you know it—a photo went viral. Seriously, though, someone who knows Young well thinks he’s in need of help. His high school coach, E.C. Robinson, who last saw Young in March, said, “He was talking some things that just didn’t make sense.”
It was just Jamar being Jamar at the first day of Miami’s rookie minicamp last weekend. James Walker of ESPN.com was there. “Taylor fluidly went into his backpedal the first day of camp. He watched both the receiver and quarterback. When the ball was thrown, Taylor jumped the route and made a perfectly timed deflection.” The Dolphins hope that leads to a starting cornerback spot for the former Boise State star opposite former Pro Bowler Brent Grimes, who Miami signed during the off-season. Taylor will be competing with former Utah State star Will Davis, the Dolphins’ third-round choice, and veterans Dimitri Patterson and Richard Marshall.
There’s new life for the Idaho Steelheads in the ECHL Western Conference Finals after a gritty 2-1 overtime win at Stockton last night. The penalty-kill units for both teams were perfect—until the Thunder flinched deep into the OT. An elbowing call on the Steelies’ Andrew Carroll just over 11 minutes into the extra period put Stockton on a power play, and Idaho killed off that one. Then a cross-check penalty on the Thunder’s Matt Reber near the 18-minute mark put the Steelheads on the man-advantage, and it took 23 seconds for Austin Fyten to strike from the left circle to win it. Josh Robinson was magnificent between the pipes for the Steelies, stopping 41 of 42 Stockton shots on goal. The Thunder lead the series two games-to-one, with Game 4 tomorrow night.
One by one, spring sports are wrapping up their seasons. The 2013 Mountain West Outdoor Track & Field Championships kicked off yesterday at UNLV with the first day of the men’s decathlon and women’s heptathlon. Defending champion Air Force is favored on the men’s side. If you go by USTF collegiate rankings, the Broncos are picked to finish third. The Boise State women would be picked seventh using the rankings as the measuring stick. The Broncos are headed by interim coach Jeff Petersmeyer, who’s been leading the program since the firing of J.W. Hardy last month. The Boise State women’s softball team wraps up the regular season with a three-game series against Nevada starting today at Dona Larsen Park. And the Bronco men’s tennis team is set to open the NCAA Tournament against Clemson tomorrow in Knoxville.
Elite high school level hoops are coming to the Treasure Valley this weekend, as Idaho Select Basketball hosts the 4th annual Northwest Premier Invitational at Centennial and Capital High Schools. The NPI attracts college coaches and scouting services from near and far to evaluate the talent on almost 50 boys club teams from Washington, Oregon, California, Utah and Idaho. A number of those slated to compete are ranked as top 10 recruits in the region by MountainWestHoops.com. Games begin at 4:30 tomorrow afternoon and continue through Sunday.
UNLV is missing one basketball player it already knew about—and one athletic director that maybe it didn’t. Mike Moser, most familiar locally for being booted out of the Rebels’ game at Boise State this season after a hard foul that flattened the Broncos’ Anthony Drmic, is transferring to Oregon. Moser started his career at UCLA before moving to UNLV, and he had been linked to Washington before making the decision to finish as a Duck. Rebel athletic director Jim Livengood is retiring, and some UNLV boosters say he’s being forced to step down. Boosters say university president Neal Smatresk, having blamed Livengood for a football team that has won just two games each of the past three seasons, is at the root of the controversy.
This Day In Sports…May 9, 1918, 95 years ago today:
A Boston Red Sox pitcher has five hits but takes the loss in a 4-3 defeat at the hands of the Washington Senators. His name was Babe Ruth, and the next season he would give up pitching to become an everyday outfielder and hitter. Ruth clubbed a then-staggering 29 home runs for the Red Sox in 1919—then was traded to the Yankees, and you know what happened from then on. In Boston, the trade became the “Curse of the Bambino”, finally extinguished with the Red Sox World Series title in 2004.
(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.)