Tuesday, Nov 5 at 4:41 PM
Friday, August 12, 2011.
Bronco Nation is still trying to let the firing of Boise State athletic director Gene Bleymaier sink in. Is there a smoking gun beyond the problems the Broncos had with the NCAA? President Bob Kustra is looking to shed the baggage of the NCAA’s most serious charge, the “lack of institutional control,” his own way. There are those with strong opinions out there. Former Boise State gymnastics coach Sam Sandmire is one. “Looking for a ‘smoking gun’ is as ludicrous as O.J. looking for the ‘real killer,’” said Sandmire. “It’s simply one guy who was looking for an opportunity to get rid of another.’”
What I’ve taken from the people I’ve talked to over the last 36 hours on the Bleymaier issue is: If it had to happen (and many think it didn’t), why wasn’t Bleymaier allowed to exit gracefully? Kustra told the Statesman yesterday Bleymaier did have that opportunity. Maybe independently a community celebration of Bleymaier’s accomplishments over 30 years can be organized down the line. Any concern about this controversy being a distraction to the BSU football team is unfounded. The Broncos were crisp on the blue turf yesterday. Wide receiver Aaron Burks had a particularly good day, pulling in a 28-yard touchdown reception from Kellen Moore on an 11-on-11 drill and making a juggling catch of a deep throw while falling to the ground with a defender all over him.
Coincidentally, other Boise State sports-related news—and, in a way, Bleymaier-related news—has come down the past two days. On Wednesday there was the naming of John Cunningham (no relation to the Idaho Steelheads and Qwest Arena figurehead) as Boise State’s new compliance director. Cunningham will operate under the auspices of the president’s office. And the State Board of Education yesterday delayed the start of work on Dona Larsen Park over concerns regarding parking logistics. The university says it should have problems resolved in time for a special State Board meeting in the next few weeks.
Catching up on stuff I was going to plug in yesterday (pre-empted by the Bleymaier firing). Chris Petersen was on the Scott Van Pelt Show on ESPN Radio Wednesday, and Van Pelt asked if the experience the Broncos drew from playing last Labor Day in front of almost 87,000 fans in the come-from-behind win over Virginia Tech will benefit them against Georgia in the Chick-fil-A game. Petersen’s more concerned with the guys who didn’t participate in the classic against the Hokies. “We’re going to need a lot of players who weren’t in that environment or who didn’t play in that environment to step up for us to have a chance,” he said.
In ESPN.com’s first Heisman Watch, the poll of experts ranks Boise State quarterback Kellen Moore fifth behind (from the top) Stanford’s Andrew Luck, Oklahoma’s Landry Jones, Oregon’s LaMichael James, and Alabama’s Trent Richardson. Luck and James were with Moore for the Heisman ceremony in New York last December. Kellen is the only senior in ESPN.com’s top five.
While the Kyle Orton-Tim Tebow controversy swirls in Denver, former Boise State star Ryan Clady wonders which side he’ll be blocking—Orton’s blind side or Tebow’s vision side. Either way, Clady says he’s 100 percent healthy. Clady injured his knee playing pickup basketball in April of 2010, and although he started every game last season, it clearly affected him. "It's been a nice offseason for me to get that knee back to where it needs to be so I can play at the level I want to play at,” Clady said in the Denver Post. He was All-Pro in his second season in 2009 after being drafted 13th overall by Denver the year before.
Fall camp is an awkward time to be making a coaching staff change, but that’s what Idaho is going through. Linebackers coach Rob Christoff has left the Vandal program, with his spot taken by former Washington State defensive back Torey Hunter, who will coach the cornerbacks. Defensive coordinator Mark Criner will add the linebacker duties to his plate, with the season opener against Bowling Green in the Kibbie Dome less than three weeks away.
The Eugene Emeralds are accustomed to winning this season, so they were roiled when they dropped the first game of their five-game series against the Boise Hawks Wednesday night. The Emeralds recoiled last night, thrashing the Hawks 17-6 at Memorial Stadium. It was a good, old-fashioned whuppin’, with the Em pounding out 20 hits—but it was only the second time this season the Hawks have allowed double-digit runs. I noted yesterday that the Hawks’ Paul Hoilman hadn’t hit a home run in a week. Scratch that now, as Hoilman hit his 12th homer of the season last night, a moon launch that went over the scoreboard. He’s now five away from breaking the Boise single-season record with 22 games to play.
Les Bois Park is going out big this weekend, with a special card tonight before the season-ending Idaho Cup extravaganza tomorrow. The eighth race is the focus tonight, a futurity race for quarterhorses with a $16,700 purse. Les Bois’s leading jockey, Dirk Crane, is riding Wavy, going in as a 20-1 shot (I don’t know what kind of a tip that is). The Idaho Cup is an all-Idaho affair, with the all the entries bred in the Gem State. Total purse for the season finale is in the $150,000 range.
This Day In Sports…August 12, 1994:
One of baseball’s darkest hours, as players go on strike, ultimately wiping out the rest of the season and—for the first time—the World Series. The ordeal would last through spring training and into the 1995 season, 233 days in all. Many fans said they’d never come back. But, as they always do, most eventually did.
(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.)