Monday, January 7, 2013.
Maybe it’s a game that shouldn’t have been played, but you can’t put a price tag on confidence right now for the Boise State basketball team. The Broncos’ 106-39 wailing over Walla Walla Saturday night created a lengthy list of superlatives, including the largest margin of victory in school history, with the 67-point pad eclipsing the 59-point margin versus Corban a week ago. But the key right now for Boise State is self-belief going into Mountain West play Wednesday night at undefeated Wyoming. The Broncos know what they’re in for. What the heck, though—back to the superlatives. Not only was it a 100-point game, it was a defensive gem, the first time Boise State has held an opponent under 40 points since it allowed just 35 to Cal Poly in December of 1994, in Bobby Dye’s final season as head coach.
The century mark always has to be appreciated around here. With Saturday night’s outburst tacked onto the 105-49 win over Corban, there have still been only 30 100-point games in Boise State’s 44-plus seasons as a four-year school. Two of them came in November, 2011, both over Division I foes (Cal State Northridge and Drake). Both of this season’s triples happened versus NAIA schools. Only once have the Broncos hit the century mark more than twice in the same season—they recorded four 100-point games in 1974-75. Here’s another appreciated number for the Broncos: there were 5,033 fans in the stands for the win over Walla Walla. Their final non-conference home game last season was against the more familiar Fresno State Bulldogs, but it drew only 3,702.
A “Blue” is set to play on the blue. Dionza Blue out of LaPuente, CA, and Bishop Amat High School, had committed to Fresno State three weeks ago, then reneged late last week when he received an offer from Boise State, according to Scout.com. Blue gave his verbal to the Broncos Saturday. He played cornerback and running back at Amat but is listed as an “athlete,” which means Boise State has options with him. Blue is the Broncos’ 23rd commitment for the 2013 recruiting class, including six junior college transfers.
Chip Kelly forsaking Oregon for the NFL? Duck offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich ready to take over as the coach-in-waiting? Chris Petersen’s name lurking in the shadows? Uh, never mind. Elsewhere, Nevada has apparently settled on Brian Polian as the successor to Hall of Fame coach Chris Ault, according to CBS Sports.com. Polian, son of longtime NFL executive Bill Polian, was special teams coordinator this season for Texas A&M. He spent the previous two seasons at Stanford and coached at Notre Dame from 2005-09 (so he may be a little distracted tonight). There’s been a lot of talk in Reno about Nevada being at the bottom of the Mountain West head coaches’ pay scale. Polian would do well to get much more than double the $248,000 he made at A&M. The concern among Wolf Pack faithful is how long he will stay.
There was no more interested observer at last night’s GoDaddy.com Bowl than former Boise State offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin. So much so that the new Arkansas State coach elected to be on the sidelines when the Red Wolves took the field against Kent State guided by the remnants of former coach Gus Malzahn’s staff. Defensive coordinator John Thompson, who has been retained by Harsin, served as head coach in ASU’s 17-13 win. Harsin has also named Lee Marks, the Broncos’ starting running back in 2004 and 2005, ASU’s Assistant Director of Strength and Conditioning under Jeff Pitman, the one-time Bronco strength and conditioning coach.
It’s hard to keep up with the traverses of coaches who have come out of Boise State, but here’s another interesting one. Klayton Adams, a one-time center for the Broncos who had been tight ends coach at San Jose State, has followed head coach Mike McIntyre to Colorado. As he did with the Spartans, Adams will work under offensive coordinator Brian Lindgren, the former Idaho quarterback. And here’s one from way back. Andy Ludwig, who was quarterbacks coach under Pokey Allen at Boise State in 1995-96, has left his O-coordinator’s post at San Diego State to take the same job at Wisconsin.
Our former Bronco NFLer of the Day has absolutely no stats this season. But his career is taking shape the way many thought it would. Kellen Moore spent the entire season on Detroit’s 53-man roster, but he was declared inactive for each of the Lions’ 16 games. That doesn’t mean the winningest quarterback in college football history wasn’t engaged. Offensive coordinator Scott Linehan was asked last month by mlive.com if Moore is getting better. "Oh yeah. I mean, he works very hard,” said Linehan. “He doesn't get a lot of reps, Shaun (Hill) takes a lot. But that kid works extremely hard, and he's extremely bright. His future is ahead of him." As you might expect, Moore has taken film study seriously and has been a contributor in meetings. All the more ammunition for his inevitable career as a coach.
I surmised Friday that the Idaho Steelheads must have been a bit frustrated by their 2-1 shootout loss at Bakersfield last Wednesday. The Steelheads took it out on the Condors over the weekend in CenturyLink Arena with 7-2 and 8-3 victories. There were sidebars everywhere, starting with Idaho coach Brad Ralph being signed to a two-year contract extension. Ralph has certainly been a good investment so far, as the Steelies are 22-7-5 in his first season after a moribund 2011-12 season. The Steelheads claimed center David Toews off waivers from Bakersfield Friday, and he drove to Boise in time to suit up Saturday and score one of his new team’s eight goals. And while Austin Smith was getting into street clothes after Saturday’s win, ESPN was showing his masterful backhanded goal from Friday as one of its “Plays of the Day.”
Hall of Famer Gary Stevens’ return to horse racing resulted in a third-place finish yesterday at Santa Anita. Stevens, the best jockey ever to come out of Idaho, rode Jebrica in his first race in more than seven years and was sitting in second down the stretch before finishing in back of second-place Deacon Speakin’ by a nose. It was the only mount of the day for the 49-year-old Caldwell native.
The Idaho Stampede have a new-found moxie going into the 2013 D-League Showcase today in Reno. NBA scouts and player personnel people will see a Stampede team that has won three straight games after a miserable 1-12 start, the latest victory coming Friday night at Tulsa, 114-99. Not only have the Stamps improved their shooting immensely, they’re getting it defensively as well. Idaho held the 66ers’ Jeremy Lamb, the Oklahoma City lottery pick out of UConn last June, to 3-of-18 shooting from the field.
Subtle changes to the Stampede’s bench have contributed to the surge. Former Toronto Raptor Solomon Alabi was acquired by the club 10 days ago and has double-doubles in two of his three games. Carlon Brown debuted with the Stampede last Thursday, contributing 16 points in a win at Austin and following with a 15-point night at Tulsa. The Stamps play the Texas Legends today to open the D-League Showcase, and they’ll have the services of Will Barton and Nolan Smith, assigned to the team yesterday by the Portland Trail Blazers.
This Day In Sports…January 7, 2010:
Boise State’s “Decade of Dominance” is capped with a final ranking of No. 4 in both the AP Poll and the Coaches Poll following a 14-0 season. Alabama was crowned national champion after beating runnerup Texas in the BCS title game earlier that night. The Longhorns, Florida and Boise State were tightly-bunched in the second, third and fourth spot in the polls. Most of the attention, however, was already focused on what might happen the following season, as the Broncos were set to return all but one starter from their 17-10 Tostitos Fiesta Bowl win over TCU.
(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.)