Monday, April 5, 2010.
As spring football resumes today at Boise State, so does one of its most interesting battles. It’s one that may not affect what happens on the field next season. But then again, it may, and that’s why it’s so important. The Broncos need to identify the 2010 backup to Kellen Moore. Just in case. Moore has stayed remarkably healthy through the first 27 games of his college career. But one of this program’s themes is “carry the flag,” and Mike Coughlin and/or Joe Southwick need to be ready to do that at all times. They know it, and so far they’re playing like it.
You could tell at Boise State’s first spring scrimmage that this race is going to be close. Their numbers were similar (170 yards, a touchdown and an interception for Coughlin—137 yards and two TDs for Southwick). Coughlin looked as good as we’ve ever seen him, especially on a couple of deep throws to Aaron Burks. Southwick, last season’s Offensive Scout Team Player of the Year for the Broncos, was perhaps more consistent. As a freshman, he has opportunities after Moore leaves in 2012. Coughlin is going into his senior year, so this is it.
Nothing much definitive came out of Idaho’s first spring scrimmage Saturday. Quarterback Nathan Enderle was hot between the 20-yard-lines, and the Vandal defense was hot in the red zone, holding the offense to four field goals. I talked Friday about the Vandals needing a go-to guy in the passing game to replace Max Komar. Well, it’s not going to be Preston Davis, at least not until well into the 2010 season. It was revealed that Davis tore his ACL in practice last Tuesday, and he now begins the rigorous rehabilitation routine for such injuries. Davis certainly would have been a leading go-to candidate, having caught a 50-yard pass from Enderle on Idaho’s final desperation drive in the Roady’s Humanitarian Bowl in December—and snagging the two-point conversion to win the 43-42 decision over Bowling Green.
Graham DeLaet has suddenly become very comfortable on the PGA Tour. Financially comfortable at the very least. The former Boise State star finished in a tie for third yesterday at the Shell Houston Open and took home $336,400. DeLaet has thus more than tripled his season earnings and now has over $457,000. The tour rookie made his move Friday with a five-under-67, then jumped five spots yesterday with a four-under-68 to earn elite money for the first time.
Whether or not the Treasure Valley is poised for a college basketball renaissance remains to be seen, but that’s clearly the goal—first with the hiring of Leon Rice at Boise State, and now Rod Jensen at the College of Idaho. You could sense the anticipation in Caldwell by looking at the size of the crowd at Jensen’s introduction Friday, with a mixture of Coyote boosters and old Bronco acquaintances.
Jensen was a good coach caught in the crossfire at Boise State. His last season at BSU was the school’s first in the WAC. I would venture to say the WAC was a stronger basketball conference then than it is today. But sagging attendance was the straw that broke the camel’s back in 2002, just as it was this season with Greg Graham. Now Jensen appears to be renewed, rejuvenated and ready for the C of I head coaching assignment after eight years as an assistant at Virginia and UNC Greensboro. On the other side of Canyon County, NNU would like to think it already has the renaissance ball rolling. The Crusaders were the valley’s only men’s college basketball team with a winning season in the campaign just completed, going 15-12.
The end of the Idaho Stampede’s season was a tale of home-sweet-home after road-dreaded-road. The bitterly disappointing three-game sweep at the hands of Utah in Orem was tempered by last Wednesday’s record-setting scoring spree and the weekend sweep of the L.A. D-Fenders. Since no one knows what the future holds for any of the players on the Stampede roster, it was fitting that former Boise State star Coby Karl led the way with 25 points in Saturday night’s 114-101 victory. Also fitting from a ball-sharing perspective that three other Stamps scored 20 points or more (Andre Barrett, Joe Dabbert, and Donell Taylor). The Stampede saved themselves from a losing season, finishing their first campaign under Bob MacKinnon at 25-25.
The Idaho Steelheads had hoped to reach a landmark 50 wins when they traveled to Bakersfield to wrap up the regular season. Oh well—no harm, no foul. The Condors handed the Steelheads a pair of 2-1 losses, one in a shootout and the other in overtime. The two hottest Steelies down the stretch, Mark Derlago and John Swanson, scored the only two goals of the weekend. The Steelheads couldn’t get anything else going offensively. But they still finish with the best record in the ECHL, 48-17-7. And the big prize is still sitting in front of them when they start their quest for a third Kelly Cup a week from Friday.
Still some unfinished business as the major league season opens. Former Boise Hawk Jarrod Washburn remains unsigned, but he’s a wanted man right now. Seattle is dealing with an abdominal injury to Cliff Lee, and Kansas City is without No. 2 starter Gil Meche due to a bum shoulder. The Mariners would seem like natural fit, since Washburn pitched so well for them the first half of last season before being traded to Detroit (where he struggled). But various reports say Washburn has rejected a smallish contract offer from the M’s, and that the Royals are prepared to offer more money.
This Day In Sports…April 5, 1913:
At a cost of $750,000, Ebbets Field opens with an exhibition game between the Brooklyn Superbas (later to be called the Dodgers) and the New York Yankees. Brooklyn won, 3-2, with a run in the bottom of the ninth before a sold-out crowd of 30,000. The new stadium featured a lobby 80 feet in diameter, with marble and glazed brick walls. Ebbets should have been saved as a national baseball shrine, but it was torn down after the 1957 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 1350 KTIK/The Ticket. He’s also handled color commentary on KTVB’s telecasts of Boise State football the last five seasons.)