Friday, Aug 13 at 8:19 AM
Friday, August 13, 2010.
Sports Illustrated hit newsstands and mailboxes in earnest yesterday, with Ryan Winterswyk, Brandyn Thompson and Jeron Johnson staring readers down. The Broncos’ cover comes complete with photoshopped blue turf. The most interesting nugget out of Austin Murphy’s cover story insinuates that what Boise State coaches learned from their TCU counterparts last summer during an information exchange in Fort Worth was thrown back in the Horned Frogs’ faces (in the most respectful way) in the Fiesta Bowl. The Broncos took the Frogs’ 4-2-5 defense and invented the 4-1-6 that turned TCU quarterback Andy Dalton’s world upside down, holding the Frog offense to its lowest yardage output and point total of the season in Boise State’s 17-10 victory.
It was a perfect day for football yesterday. The temperature was just pushing up over 70 degrees at Dona Larsen Park at 9:35AM, when Boise State was scheduled to begin practice. The Broncos were nowhere to be seen, though. It was too nice for coach Chris Petersen, and he moved drills to the Caven-Williams indoor facility for the second straight day. The field there had been watered down for humidity, and the heat was cranked up. And voila, it was Washington, DC. “The guys are sweating a lot more, which they need to do right now,” said Petersen. He said there hasn’t been any specific practice work on Virginia Tech yet in preparation for the Labor Day showdown. But the Broncos were gearing up yesterday for one thing they’ll experience at FedEx Field. They pumped in crowd noise during live drills—nice and loud and obnoxious.
There were two pleasant sights for the Boise State staff at practice yesterday. Running back Matt Kaiserman was in pads for the first time since he suffered a broken leg against Idaho last November. The injury came shortly after the sophomore from Skyview High had thrown a touchdown pass to Kyle Efaw on a halfback option. It’s been a difficult healing process for Kaiserman. Likewise for offensive tackle Garrett Pendergast, in pads for the first time since going down with the broken ankle during practice in December that kept him out of the Fiesta Bowl.
A friend e-mailed me yesterday and asked if Tyrone Crawford was still with Boise State. I replied, “Yes, Crawford’s still on the roster. Why?” The friend said he was just surprised he hadn’t heard anything about Crawford, the Broncos’ lone junior college transfer. That changed later in the day when Petersen raved about the 6-4, 275-pound Canadian from Windsor, Ontario. “He’s as big and strong and fast as anyone we have right now,” said Petersen. “Just getting him dialed into our schemes—we’ll see how long that takes.” Boise State had been recruiting Crawford heavily in high school (that’s how the staff discovered Michael Atkinson), but Crawford had to go the JC route at Bakersfield College because of academics. The Bronco staff stayed on him (and Crawford never wavered), and he appears ready to pay some dividends.
The San Diego Chargers are finding out how many spots Richie Brockel can be plugged into, just like Boise State did five years ago. The undrafted free agent, thought by many unfamiliar with him to be just a body for practice, has been getting a lot of reps with the Bolts at tight end, fullback, and on special teams. In Wednesday night’s practice, Brockel had a touchdown reception. The tight end starting job, of course, belongs to Antonio Gates, a six-time Pro Bowl selection. Competition for a backup spot is steep for Brockel, who is going against former Dolphin and Ram Randy McMicheal, veteran Kris Wilson, and fellow rookies Dedrick Epps and Dajleon Farr. The Chargers’ first exhibition game is tomorrow against Chicago at Qualcomm Stadium.
Former Boise State standout Daryn Colledge has a new challenge at left guard in Green Bay. Colledge had been excited when the Packers selected Brian Bulaga out of Iowa in the first round of the NFL Draft in April. That meant Colledge probably wouldn’t have to back up anymore at left tackle, a position that was a nightmare for him during a stretch of last season. Well, Packer coaches have been so impressed with Bulaga that they’ve using him now at left guard to compete with Colledge for the starting job. The Packers host the Cleveland Browns to start the preseason tomorrow night.
Word out of Denver is that former Boise State standout Coby Karl will be waived by the Denver Nuggets this weekend. His dad, coach George Karl, acknowledges that the team is probably going to release Coby prior to a Sunday deadline that would guarantee his $854,389 contract for next season. It wasn’t up to George. The Nuggets vice president that brought Coby in after his Idaho Stampede stint, Mark Warkentien, was fired last week. George Karl is already putting out feelers to other teams, feeling that Coby merits an NBA roster spot somewhere next season. He played well for the Nuggets’ summer league entry last month.
Each season, the PGA Tour does several re-shuffles of the golfers who either got their season card by getting through Q-school or finishing 2-25 on the Nationwide Tour. It changes the priority order in which players make open fields on the tour. It was poised to be a nailbiting process this year for Boise State’s two rookies on the tour—but so far, so good after the latest reshuffle this week. This one will determine the order used to fill the field for next week’s Wyndham Championship. Troy Merritt is now 15th on the priority list with season earnings of $656,348, and Graham DeLaet is 17th with $589,240. Among tour rookies, Merritt and DeLaet are sixth and seventh.
The Boise Hawks, trying to leave a miserable road trip behind, have won the first two games of their homestand against Tri-City. Some timely Boise hits and another rash of Dust Devil errors pushed the Hawks to a 6-3 victory last night at Memorial Stadium. The Hawks got a great middle relief performance from Matt Loosen, who retired 11 of the 13 batters he faced and allowed only one hit in 3 2/3 innings to pick up his first win as a Hawk. On the Alvaro Ramirez watch, the Northwest League’s batting leader went 2-for-4 and upped his hitting streak to 15 games. His average inched up to .383.
Not one, but two national TV appearances now for the North Boise Little League All-Stars. At least. The team rallied past Beaverton, Oregon, 6-3 yesterday in the Northwest Regional semifinals in San Bernardino on ESPN2. The underdog Boiseans see themselves as the “little train that could,” as they had lost to Beaverton earlier in the tournament and trailed the Oregonians 3-1 at one point yesterday. Tomorrow night at 7PM North Boise will be on ESPN, facing Auburn, Washington, for a berth in the Little League World Series in Williamsport, PA. In my office we’re most excited about the scoreless middle innings pitched by Evan Escobar, whose mom is a valued employee.
This Day In Sports…August 13, 2008:
Kristin Armstrong becomes Boise’s first-ever Olympic gold medalist and only the second American ever to take a gold in women’s cycling when she wins the time trial in Beijing by 24 seconds over Britain’s Emma Pooley. Armstrong had been a promising triathlete before osteoarthritis forced her to give up running in 2001. She switched to cycling, first trying the hometown HP Women’s Challenge in 2002, finishing seventh. Armstrong then made the U.S. Olympic team in 2004 and won the world championship in the time trial in 2006. She won the world title again in 2009 before retiring.
(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.)