Monday, Mar 22 at 7:41 AM
Monday, March 22, 2010.
Boise State’s first spring scrimmage is Wednesday, close enough to talk about what to look for. The most visible goings-on of significance will be at cornerback, where the battle to replace Kyle Wilson begins in earnest. Coach Chris Petersen says Jerrell Gavins, the favorite after his surprise start as a fifth defensive back in the Fiesta Bowl, twisted his ankle in practice. That could give Jamar Taylor a chance to showcase himself. Taylor played as a true freshman in 2008 but redshirted last year after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery early in the fall. “Jamar has not missed a beat,” said Petersen. “I think he’s on a mission.” Fiesta Bowl MVP Brandyn Thompson, meanwhile, will try to shine on the other side of the field to ensure that his position isn’t included in the battle.
Of course, it’s not that simple. This will be Bronco fans’ first look at Ebo Makinde, the redshirt freshman from Phoenix who tore it up on scout team last season. “For a young guy, he’s tremendously, tremendously focused,” says Petersen. The Boise State staff talks a lot about football intelligence. With Makinde, football maturity comes into play, too. Watch for him Wednesday. According to the roster at Bronco Sports.com, Makinde wears No. 37.
John Shifflett of the Statesman kind of stole my thunder on this one this morning with his good line about Hidden Hollow. Because I was going to mention that Saturday at about 5PM (this is true), there was a line down Seaman’s Gulch Road to get into the Ada County landfill. I surmised that all those pickup trucks had just had loads of brackets dumped in them upon Northern Iowa’s toppling of Kansas.
The timing of the torrential upsets in the first and second rounds of the NCAA Tournament would seem to be good for the Boise State basketball coaching search. It shows what is possible for the Broncos—and it indeed is (as if BSU football hasn’t already demonstrated such). Cornell in particular bore some resemblance to Bronco football, playing smart and tough, and executing to perfection in its 87-69 thumping of Wisconsin yesterday. Boise State athletic director Gene Bleymaier is very familiar with Cornell, having spent a lot of time there while son Tommy was playing football for the Big Red from 2005-08. You can be sure Bleymaier gets it—the connection between Cornell’s accomplishment on the hardwood and the Broncos’ potential.
Bud Withers of the Seattle Times says Gonzaga assistant Leon Rice is expected to be a candidate for the job at Boise State. This wouldn’t be the first time for Rice, whose name was front-and-center for awhile after Rod Jensen was fired in 2002. Rice just finished his 11th season as associate head coach under Mark Few at Gonzaga, which ended its season yesterday with an 87-65 loss to Syracuse in the second round of the NCAA’s.
The Idaho Press-Tribune reports that the College of Idaho has interviewed Jensen for its top job, vacated last week by Mark Owen. C of I athletic director Marty Holly told the IPT Jensen is “very high” on his list. “He has a reputation of being one of the best defensive coaches in the country,” Holly said. Jensen has been associate head coach at UNC Greensboro the last five seasons. He spent three years assisting Pete Gillen at Virginia after leaving Boise State.
That was one big sweep by the Idaho Stampede over the weekend. The Stampede glided past the Tulsa 66ers in Qwest Arena 124-113 Friday night, and 110-95 Saturday night. Fighting for their postseason lives, the Stamps are not only a game and a half behind Utah, they’re also now only a game and a half behind Tulsa for the final West Conference berth in the D-League Playoffs. It was a team effort, needless to say, against the 66ers. But Donell Taylor has to be singled out again, as he scored 55 points in the two victories. The Stampede next go head-to-head with the Utah Flash on the road this Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.
You could have predicted some of the struggles on the road for the Idaho Steelheads after they clinched everything they could clinch last week heading into the Kelly Cup Playoffs next month. And so it was that the Steelheads dropped their first two games at Ontario over the weekend before salvaging the finale in a 6-5 shootout win last night. What we couldn’t have predicted was the spike in goals suddenly being yielded by the Steelies. They’ve given up a whopping 23 goals in their past five games, with both netminders, Rejean Beauchemin and Richard Bachman, being victimized. The Steelheads play their last three home games of the regular season this week, beginning Wednesday night against Victoria in Qwest Arena.
Boise State has another Top 15 team in the books for the 2009-10 athletic year. The Broncos finished 11th Saturday at the NCAA Wrestling Championships in Omaha, as Kirk Smith made it to the finals at 184 pounds before misfiring on a risky move early in his title match against Missouri’s Maxwell Askren. Smith, a Centennial High grad, had gone into the tournament as an undefeated top seed. Adam Hall joined Smith as an All-American, taking third at 157 pounds.
The Boise State men’s tennis team rebounded from its 4-0 first round blanking at the hands of Fresno State to beat Middle Tennessee and Harvard at the Blue Gray Classic in Montgomery, AL, over the weekend. Speaking of Bronco tennis, I liked the photo accompanying the story on the Discovery Center Friday in Scene in the Statesman. Wesley Moodie and his family were captioned as “visiting from South Africa.” Doesn’t look like they knew they had a former Wimbledon doubles champion in their presence (not to mention a former Boise State All-American).
This Day In Sports…March 22, 2006:
About 48 hours after undergoing an arduous 3½-hour surgery for thyroid cancer, Boise State junior guard Coby Karl is released from St. Alphonsus hospital to attend the Bronco team banquet. Karl’s father, George, came to Boise for the operation during a break in the Denver Nuggets’ schedule, as did the rest of his family. The surgery was declared a success, and Karl was named BSU’s Most Valuable Player that night after leading the team in scoring at 17 points per game and earning second-team All-WAC honors.
(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.)