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When consistency and SWR merge, look out

When consistency and SWR merge, look out

by Tom Scott

Bio | Follow: @thescottslant


Posted on October 3, 2013 at 7:21 AM

Thursday, October 3, 2013.

You remember the preseason hype over Boise State wide receiver Shane Williams-Rhodes.  “We’ve got to find ways to put him out there,” said quarterback Joe Southwick this summer.  “You can’t not with a player like that.”  Well, the Broncos have put Williams-Rhodes out there.  Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t.  Or it’s a combination.  SWR had a career-high nine catches last Saturday against Southern Miss, but they covered only 59 yards.  That’s just 6½ yards per reception.  The 5-6, 157-pounder has averaged over 10 yards a catch in just one game this season.  Defenses have to pay a lot of attention to him, though.  You know he’s due to bust off some yards-after-catch and bump up that season average, which is currently 7½ yards per grab.

The anticipation of a breakaway catch-and-run sometime soon comes from watching Williams-Rhodes on punt returns.  He’ll often juke cover guys up the middle, then outrun them on the edge before he’s brought tumbling to the ground like a rag doll.  Williams-Rhodes has a 23.6-yard average on five runbacks this season.  You think opponents aren’t wary of him?  SWR has had an actual punt return in just two of five games so far this season.

Boise State wide receiver Kirby Moore has been selected by the National Football Foundation as one of 170 candidates for the 2013 NFF National Scholar-Athlete Awards.  The nominees also comprise the list of semifinalists for the 2013 William V. Campbell Trophy, which recognizes the best scholar-athlete in the nation.  The 170 semifinalists represent the most since the NFF increased the nomination standards to require a minimum cumulative 3.2 GPA in 2006.

The Air Force-Navy game will go on as scheduled Saturday in Annapolis, MD.  There was a scramble after financial impact estimates said the Naval Academy could lose up to $4 million in revenue if the game was cancelled due to the government shutdown.  The game’s expenses will now be covered by non-appropriated funds.  The scheduled 50th anniversary reunion of Roger Staubach’s 1963 Cotton Bowl team at Navy will go on as well.  Oh, and the Midshipmen are favored by 11 points over the Falcons, who endured a frustrating 45-42 loss at Nevada last week after leading by 12 in the fourth quarter.

When right guard Daryn Colledge went down with a leg injury late in the third quarter of Arizona's game at Tampa Bay last Sunday, the Cardinals turned to a fellow former Boise State standout to take over.  Nate Potter, drafted last year as a tackle, had to get a baptism under fire at guard in the 13-10 win over the Buccaneers.  Potter didn’t allow a sack but did yield two quarterback hurries while playing 22 snaps as a new camper.  Now the Timberline High product may be moving back to tackle, as the Cards have traded starting left tackle Levi Brown to the Pittsburgh Steelers.  The presumption is that Bradley Sowell will move into Brown’s starting spot, with Potter the backup.

Graham DeLaet will get a lift from the gallery when he tees off in the Presidents Cup today at Muirfield Village in Ohio.  DeLaet told the Canadian newspaper National Post he’ll have “10 or so” of his former Boise State teammates rooting him on, plus a crew of family members and a few buddies from Saskatchewan.  The Internationals are the underdogs against Team USA, but with seven President’s Cup rookies on the squad, DeLaet said his team could play loose.  He’s drawing inspiration from fellow Canadian Mike Weir, who played in five President Cups from 2000-09.  “Mikey taking down Tiger in the singles (in 2007) was an unbelievable moment for golf in our country, and he’s a great role model,” DeLaet said.  He’ll be paired with Jason Day today against Americans Hunter Mahan and Brandt Snedeker in the first group off the tee.

Preseason national scribblings about Boise State basketball sometimes get overlooked.  Until this year, there was hardly anything to overlook in the first place.  But's Myron Medcalf posted an in-depth piece on Bronco junior guard Derrick Marks yesterday.  Medcalf chronicles Marks’ journey: “Even Marks admits that he never thought he'd compete for the Broncos as a prep.  But he clearly made the right choice.  In his first two seasons with the team, he's emerged as an offensive star for a squad that could win the Mountain West title this season and rally in the NCAA tournament.  ‘I couldn't really tell you how I ended up in Boise,’ he said.  ‘When I came on my visit, it just felt like the right place I had to be.  Boise's just a good city and I felt like I wanted to come to college here.’”

Medcalf points out that as good as Marks was last season, he has room to grow.  “His defense could be better,” writes Medcalf.  “He commits too many turnovers (3.4 per game in 2012-13).  He was a better overall shooter as a freshman than he was as a sophomore (49.5 percent from the floor to 46.6 percent), although he took more shots last season.  And he committed four or more fouls in a game 16 times in 2012-13.”  Medcalf calls this season “Boise State's bid to show the sports world that there's more to the school than the kids who play football on the blue turf.  The key cog—all involved confirm—is Marks, a young man with a relaxed demeanor but cutthroat persona on the floor.”

The pipeline between the Dallas Stars organization and the Idaho Steelheads seems to be flowing pretty well right now.  The Texas Stars of the AHL have assigned another player to the Steelheads, Etienne Boutet.  The 21-year-old defenseman spent the past five years in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.  The Steelies open training camp Sunday at CenturyLink Arena.

A few season-ending notes from the majors.  Former Boise Hawk Jeff Samardzija was one of the aces of the Chicago Cubs rotation this season, for what that’s worth.  The one-time Notre Dame wide receiver had his moments but ended up 8-13 with a 4.34 ERA in 33 starts.  Ex-Hawk Welington Castillo split time at catcher for the Cubs this year and had a decent season.  Castillo, who had a brief stay with Boise in 2006, batted .274 with eight home runs and 32 runs batted in.  And Borah High grad Stephen Fife, as expected, was left off the L.A. Dodgers postseason roster.  Fife went 4-4 with a 3.86 ERA in four different stints with the Dodgers this year.  He had a tough September, going 0-1 with a 13.50 ERA in his three appearances.

Back to football—Idaho State envisions a game it can win Saturday.  The Bengals, 2-2 but seeking their first win of the season over an FCS school, host North Dakota in Holt Arena.  UND, pummeled at home the past two weeks by Montana (55-17) and Montana State (63-20), are off to a 1-3 start for the first time in 24 years.  The interesting thing about North Dakota is, it has no nickname right now.  The former Fighting Sioux don’t use a mascot name anywhere on their website.  As for the Bengals, former Skyview High standout Luke Austin is back in the lineup.  Austin returned last week after missing two games with an injury, catching six passes for 62 yards and a touchdown in ISU’s 30-13 loss at UC Davis.

This Day In Sports…October 3, 1951:

Bobby Thomson hits the “Shot Heard ‘Round The World” in the deciding game of the National League playoff series between the New York Giants and Brooklyn Dodgers.  With two outs in the bottom of the ninth—and the Dodgers leading 4-2—Thomson belted a three-run homer off Ralph Branca to give the Giants a 5-4 victory and the National League pennant.  And Russ Hodges exclaimed, “The Giants win the pennant!  The Giants win the pennant!”

(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.)