(Tom Scott's column will return Monday.)
Thursday, July 25, 2013.
Not only did Joe Southwick go through a grueling learning curve as first-year starting quarterback at Boise State, Robert Prince and Jonathan Smith went through boot camp as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, respectively. Southwick’s emergence over the final four games of last season mirrored the groove Prince and Smith achieved. Now, after a coaching staff upheaval a year ago, Chris Petersen has had zero changes to his core group in 2013. The importance of that cannot be ignored. “It’s awesome—just having the same guys,” said Southwick at Mountain West Media Days. “Having coach Smith back is awesome, so I’m sure (all my teammates) are just as happy that their same guy is still there.” Southwick says Prince is really dialed in entering his second season as O.C.
Petersen does what he can to retain his assistants, despite the allure of larger programs. According to a December report by USA Today, Boise State has the largest salary pool for assistants in the Mountain West. Furthermore, the Broncos rank 21st among 102 public schools in the FBS, which means they outdistance a slew of BCS schools. That’s no small factor in the strength of Petersen’s staff.
Staff aside, Petersen gives Southwick a lot of credit for his growth last fall. “The nature of following Kellen, the scrutiny that’s on him,” Petersen said of what Southwick had to overcome. “It’s usually going to be the quarterback or head coach that’s going to take the heat when it’s not going right. These kids know what’s going on—they know what people are saying about them.” But Southwick kept a stiff upper lip (eventually growing a moustache on it for luck). “There wasn’t a day that he didn’t come in working his tail off,” said Petersen. “And then it caught up. It really did.”
Washington coach Steve Sarkisian said yesterday on ESPN that he hasn’t made a decision on possible suspensions for tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins and wide receiver Kasen Williams. “As much as the law might put some punitive stuff on them, we’re looking at it from a rehabilitative standpoint and we’ll handle it internally,” Sarkisian said, according to the Seattle Times. “We haven’t gotten to the point where we’ve made a final decision with them on games and times and suspension and all that stuff, but they’ve been working extremely hard…and have done all the things we’ve asked them to do.” I’m thinking they’ll be on the field when the Huskies face Boise State in 37 days.
The Albertsons Boise Open has a lineup for the ages as the 24th edition of the event tees off this morning at Hillcrest Country Club. With a $775,000 purse, sixth largest on the Web.com Tour, and a sense of urgency with the regular season winding down, PGATour.com says Boise will have the Web.com’s strongest field of the year to date. Every top 10 player is here, as well as 24 of the top 25 and 88 of the top 100 on the Web.com Tour money list. That includes the No. 1 golfer on the circuit, Michael Putnam, who has won $390,384 and has a lead of more than $100,000. Putnam tees off at 8:15 a.m.
Two of the Idaho ties in the Albertsons Boise Open go off in the same group this morning as Eagle’s Ty Travis and Meridian’s Joe Panzeri tee it up at 9:15 a.m. Travis gained entry through the Monday qualifier, while Panzeri, who plays on the Canadian tour, received a sponsor’s exemption. Moscow’s Chris Williams, who shed the world’s No. 1 amateur ranking this summer to turn pro, starts at 9:15 a.m. on the 10th hole. Troy Merritt, the former Boise State star who at No. 60 on the money list is at a pivotal stage of his season, gets a toasty afternoon round with a 1:05 p.m. tee time. Idaho Falls Country Club pro Sean Thomsen tees off with the last group at No. 1 at 2:15 p.m. And longtime Quail Hollow pro Jim Empey and SpurWing pro Adam Martens get on the course together in the final group on 10 at 2:15 p.m.
Graham DeLaet is back at home this week in the Canadian Open at Oakville, Ontario. With a sobering British Open experience behind him, the Saskatchewan native can exhale on home soil. The Canadian Open was the first PGA Tour event DeLaet ever played in—he missed the cut the year after graduating from Boise State. In three other Canadian Opens he has made the cut twice, but his best finish has been a tie for 46th. Now that he’s considered the best golfer in his homeland, DeLaet would like to back it up with a good showing this year.
One of DeLaet’s current goals is to become the only the second Canadian ever to play for the International Team at The Presidents Cup. DeLaet enters the week ranked 13th in the International standings. The top 10 after the Deutsche Bank Championship Labor Day weekend get automatic spots on the team. This year's Presidents Cup will be held the first week of October at Muirfield Village in Dublin, OH. "My ambitions are very high, I can guarantee that," DeLaet said in a story at PGATour.com. "Starting the year that was definitely one of my main goals and was on my radar."
The Boise Hawks pitching staff’s scoreless streak reached 31 innings before Eugene finally broke through last night. It was the Emeralds’ hurlers that kept the Hawks in check this time, as Boise’s streak of three straight shutouts came to an end in a 5-1 loss to the Ems. The Hawks had nine hits in the game but couldn’t cash in, leaving nine on base. Kris Bryant, the second overall pick in the 2013 Major League Draft, collected his first hit as a Hawk, a first-inning double. Bryant is now 1-for-9 in two games, a .111 average. The three-game series in Eugene wraps up tonight at PK Park.
A couple other local notes: Gabby Barker of Caldwell fell 4-and-3 in match play in the round of 64 yesterday at the U.S. Girls Junior Championship in Fort Wayne, IN. Barker, the Idaho Women’s Amateur champion, was bested by Gabriella Then of Upland, CA. And the Boise Nationals Italia U15 girls took a pounding yesterday at the U.S. Youth Soccer National Championships in Overland Park, KS. After beating Tennessee 3-1 to open the tournament Tuesday, the Nationals fell 8-1 to defending national champion MSC Coyotes Green of Maryland, 8-1. The Boise crew, the first from Idaho ever to make nationals, finishes pool play today against Eclipse Elite Black of Illinois.
And back to football. First came word that former Boise State star Jamar Taylor practiced without limitations when Miami Dolphins training camp opened Sunday, appearing to be fully recovered from his sports hernia surgery in May. But Taylor has not practiced since, relegated to working out on the stationary bike on the sidelines in shirt and shorts. “Looks like he's been shut down due to what we suspect is lingering hernia issues,” wrote the South Florida Sun Sentinel.
KTVB.com Mountain West Factoid of the Day: Contrary to a widely-held belief, Air Force doesn’t have height and weight restrictions for its cadets (and consequently its football team). But the Academy does have fitness restrictions. “I’ve never had a 285-pound lineman,” said Falcon coach Troy Calhoun. Here’s why. Prospective cadets have to be able to run 1½ miles in 11 minutes at an elevation of 7,200 feet. So, if a 300-pounder could pull that off, he could play for Air Force? “Yes,” Calhoun said. “If you run across one who can do it, you send him my way.”
This Day In Sports…July 25, 1913, 100 years ago today:
Washington’s Walter Johnson, a one-time semi-pro hurler in Weiser, strikes out St. Louis Browns pitcher Carl Weilman six consecutive times. Johnson struck out 16 batters that day in 11 1/3 innings…of relief. The “Big Train” went on to win 417 games during a 21-year career in the majors. He amassed 3,508 strikeouts, a big league record until both Nolan Ryan and Steve Carlton surpassed it early in the 1983 season.
(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.)