Wednesday, April 4, 2012.
There’s heavy sentiment right now for Boise State to retire jersey No. 11 in honor of you-know-who. How about this idea, though? Retire jersey No. 1. It wasn’t used last year by a senior class that had plenty of candidates. So maybe the Broncos can leave it be in honor of the chemistry that has carried them to 146 wins over the past 13 seasons. Mitch Burroughs, Jamar Taylor or Jerrell Gavins could conceivably wear No. 1 this year if they wanted to. D.J. Harper has already changed his number twice, from 34 to 6 to 7. Matt Miller? It’s not in his nature. My favorite story regarding No. 1 was Jerard Rabb, who wore that jersey in 2005 and 2006. He only took No. 1 because his favorite numeral, No. 2, was already taken by Gerald Alexander.
With the resumption of spring football yesterday, Boise State’s four quarterbacks jumped back into their rapid-fire reps. All four looked sharp. As you think about this competition, don’t forget that sophomore Grant Hedrick has a strong arm to go with the fleet feet he displayed in his running package last year. Yesterday, Hedrick lofted a beautiful 35-yard strike into the arms of wide receiver Aaron Burks against tight coverage, putting perfect air under the ball. The play drew some oohs and ahhs. The Broncos were on the blue turf yesterday, as they will be all week. It felt like a late October football morning out there.
The question through the winter has been, “Which Boise State player will go second in the NFL Draft behind Doug Martin?” Now you wonder if Shea McClellin isn’t the favorite to go ahead of Martin later this month. Mike Mayock at NFL.com has revised his outside linebacker rankings, and he’s moved McClellin from No. 5 all the way to No. 2. “The more tape I watch, the more I like this kid,” said Mayock. “He’s a second round pick that could sneak into the first round.” Mayock notes how many things the former Marsing Husky did for the Broncos last year—in a stance, standing up, rushing the passer, and dropping into coverage. “If you’re a defensive coordinator and you get your hands on this kid, let your imagination go,” Mayock said. “Because he’s a playmaker.”
Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports that Martin will be in for a pre-draft visit with the Browns this week. Cleveland has the No. 4 and No. 22 overall picks in the draft, but may trade down from the fourth spot, in which case the Browns could take Notre Dame wide receiver Michael Floyd or Alabama running back Trent Richardson. Cabot writes, “Martin is a player the Browns will strongly consider with their No. 22 or 37 picks if they pass on Richardson.” Martin’s name is still being tied to Denver as well, as a running mate for Willis McGahee.
The National Football Foundation identified 127 players last year who met the athletic and academic standards of its Campbell Trophy. Currently the NFF is honoring one of the candidates each day, and yesterday it was Nate Potter of Boise State. Potter, a consensus All-American, was a semifinalist for the Campbell award that was ultimately won by Andrew Rodriguez of Army. Potter participated in BSU’s Make-A-Wish and Go On Challenge initiatives, served at the Make-A-Wish Foundation dinner for the last three years, and spoke (and still speaks) at numerous Treasure Valley high schools.
The Idaho Steelheads’ scrappy Ron Meyers scored 1:42 into Game 1 of the Kelly Cup Playoffs—and for a long time it looked like that was it against Ontario last night. The Steelheads watched the Reign tally goals in the second and third periods to take a 2-1 lead. When Idaho embarked on a power play with 6:15 left in the game, there wasn’t much room for optimism. After all, Ontario led the ECHL on the penalty kill this season at 87.5 percent. But captain Marty Flichel was able to feed Aaron Lewicki for a tying goal less than a minute later. Then with 1:34 remaining, Flichel scored on a two-on-one charge to give the Steelheads a 3-2 victory. Game 2 of the best-of-five series is tonight.
The seventh-seeded Steelheads can visualize themselves doing what last season’s No. 7 seed did. The now-defunct Victoria Salmon Kings reached the ECHL’s Western Conference finals before falling to eventual Kelly Cup champion Alaska. The winner of the Idaho/Ontario series faces the winner of the Las Vegas/Utah series, and the Wranglers have a stranglehold on the Grizzlies. With a 3-2 win last night, Las Vegas swept the first two games in Utah and needs only one victory in three games on home ice at Orleans Arena to advance.
Steelheads backup goalie Bryan Hince has parlayed his cameo appearance last weekend into hardware. Hince was named the final ECHL Goaltender of the Week in the regular season yesterday after picking up two wins against Stockton. It’s the second time a Steelie has won the honor this season—Jerry Kuhn was Goaltender of the Week just before Christmas when he was between the pipes for three consecutive overtime/shootout victories over the defending Kelly Cup champion Alaska Aces. Kuhn was back in goal last night for the Steelies, stopping 27 of 29 Ontario shots.
This Day In Sports…April 4, 1989:
New York Yankees lefthander Tommy John matches Deacon McGuire’s record of 26 seasons played in a major league career when he beats the Minnesota Twins 4-2 on Opening Day in the Metrodome. The victory was the 288th of John’s career. He would win one more game before retiring the following month. John, naturally, underwent the first “Tommy John” surgery in 1974 and returned in 1976 to win 164 more big league games. When Jamie Moyer pitches for the Rockies this Saturday, it will mark his 25th season in the majors.
(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.)