Wednesday, December 23, 2009.
Aaron Tevis, Jeron Johnson, Derrell Acrey, George Iloka and Shea McClellin met with the media yesterday. It was the Boise State defense’s turn at the mike. And—unsolicited and uncollaborated—they all went down the same path. “We need to finish all four quarters,” said Tevis. “We’ve just got to finish better,” said Johnson. “We left a few chances out on the field.” The junior safety was talking specifically about the one-point Poinsettia Bowl loss to TCU last year, and what has to happen against the Horned Frogs January 4 in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl.
Each guy played the “finish” card. It’s not hard to figure out what the rallying cry is in Bronco practices right now. “The intensity is the same (as in past Decembers), but—maybe because it’s TCU—the focus is a little more this year,” said Acrey. Does Boise State have that good ol’ chip back on the shoulder? “Yes sir,” Acrey exclaimed. “What more chip do you need than a team that beat you last year?” Added McClellin, “We’ve just got to go out and finish; play hard and physical.” There’s that word again.
On the health front, the Bronco defense is better off than the offense. Iloka says the month between the New Mexico State win and the Fiesta Bowl has provided him with invaluable recovery time. “I’m feeling the same way I did before fall camp,” said Iloka, who had battled an ankle problem all season. Iloka says he never experienced injury troubles in high school. “It was kind of hard for me—then I see a guy like D.J. Harper, and I say, ‘I’d rather have the ankle injury than be out for the season.’” Acrey, meanwhile, proclaims himself healthy after a leg injury against Nevada that looked worse than it was.
Tom Dienhart of Rivals.com reports that Boise State assistant head coach and receivers coach Brent Pease will interview for the Arizona State offensive coordinator’s job. ASU coach Dennis Erickson is said to be planning to meet with Pease while the Broncos are in Phoenix for the Fiesta Bowl. Pease has been on Chris Petersen’s staff since year one in 2006. He has Treasure Valley roots, having grown up in Mountain Home. But there’s more. He also has roots in Missoula, where he was a Montana quarterback and later a Grizzly assistant. With Montana coach Bobby Hauck set to be named the new head man at UNLV today, Pease’s name is on a hypothetical short list in the Missoulian newspaper. There’s been only one change in Petersen’s core staff in four seasons, when offensive line coach Sean Kugler went to the Buffalo Bills in 2007.
We’re a week away from the Roady’s Humanitarian Bowl, featuring two teams that are come-from-behind specialists. Idaho’s 7-5 season was marked by rallies, most notably the ones that carried the Vandals past Colorado State, San Jose State and Louisiana Tech. Bowling Green’s campaign was punctuated by two one-point victories, including a 36-35 win over Kent State that ESPN.com’s Pat Forde calls the Game of the Year in the MAC. “The Falcons scored the winning touchdown with five seconds to play, but that was only part of the story,” writes Forde. “The other part was Falcons receiver Freddie Barnes catching a freakish 22 passes for 278 yards and three touchdowns.” And Barnes will certainly be part of the story next week.
Like my son said last night while watching the Las Vegas Bowl, “Goodbye College GameDay, hello Thursday night.” If Oregon State’s going to help Boise State’s strength-of-schedule in 2010, there’ll be no carryover from the bowl season. The Beavers were embarrassed 44-20 by BYU, which chalked up another one for the Mountain West. Suffice to say the Rodgers brothers did not live up to their billing on this occasion.
There’s no special-event pep rally for the Boise State football team before it embarks on the journey to the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl. The official sendoff is tonight at the Bronco men’s basketball game against Montana State. There’ll be a one hour meet-and-greet, including photo ops with Bronco players, before the game (the school is stressing that it isn’t an autograph session). At halftime, the team will be introduced on-court, with coach Chris Petersen and captains Kyle Wilson and Richie Brockel as the speakers.
Boise State guard Westly Perryman played only two minutes in Monday night’s win over Portland State. That might be it for the season for the junior college transfer, as he is planning on having surgery on both ankles in two weeks. Perryman could play against Montana State tonight and still retain a year of eligibility before the operation, but the Broncos may let him sit since they’re going to have to do without him anyway. The loss of Perryman will be felt. Before the season, coach Greg Graham hesitantly used the phrase “Eastern guard” when describing Perryman, but it was a very positive description of what he can do. "We've never had anybody quite like him,” said Graham. “He's the most athletic guy we've ever had, and he can really attack the basket."
Would Coby Karl rather be collecting pine in the NBA or starting in the D-League? Well, the pine scent is nice when it comes with all that cash. But we can recap Karl’s entire season with Cleveland in one paragraph. The former Boise State star played three minutes at Minnesota the night before Halloween and pulled down a couple rebounds. He got in for 21 seconds November 18 when the Cavs got thumped at Washington. And Karl played two minutes at Milwaukee a couple weeks ago and turned the ball over three times. The Cavs only recently paid attention to Coby’s profile page at NBA.com. For a long time, the photo used for Karl was from his Idaho Stampede days last season. Now he’s wearing a Cleveland uniform. Ah, the plight of the last guy on the bench. Coby’s former team, the Stampede, plays Utah in Qwest Arena Saturday.
Little-known fact from Idaho Steelheads media relations mogul Will Hoenike: the Steelheads’ winning percentage of 79.3 percent is second in all of North American professional hockey, trailing only (are you ready for this?) the Odessa Jackalopes of the Central Hockey League. The NHL leaders are the New Jersey Devils at 75 percent. The Steelies are off until Saturday night when they visit the Utah Grizzlies.
This Day In Sports…December 23, 2003:
Boise State’s first out-of-town bowl game as a Division I-A school, an unlikely matchup with another Top 25 team in the inaugural Fort Worth Bowl. The Broncos fell behind TCU 21-7 in the second quarter but rallied to tie it at halftime. Then Ryan Dinwiddie threw the 82nd and final touchdown pass of his BSU career, an 18-yard fourth quarter fade to true freshman tight end Derek Schouman, to cap a 34-31 win. Dinwiddie passed for 325 yards and three TD’s to earn MVP honors, while T.J. Acree took ESPN’s Player of the Game nod with 150 receiving yards and a touchdown.
(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 1350 KTIK/The Ticket. He also handles color commentary on KTVB’s telecasts of Boise State football.)