Even more critical than the wideouts?

Friday, August 18, 2017. 

Boise State defensive line coach Steve Caldwell told reporters the other day that his unit isn’t where he wants it to be.  And it didn’t sound like idle talk just meant to fire players up.  Caldwell needs to see something out of the D-line in tonight’s scrimmage.  That group is the key to any defensive improvement the Broncos show this season.  Depth was a killer last year.  Sam McCaskill, Elliot Hoyte, David Moa and Durrant Miles (after Jabril Frazier’s injury) just plain wore down from the massive snaps they played.  Caldwell wasn’t comfortable with the second wave on the D-line.  Those second and third-wavers are supposed to be better players now—ready to step into lead roles.  “We’re getting better in short strides,” said Caldwell.  “We’re not taking that long stride I was hoping for right off the bat.”

Presumably Caldwell’s uneasiness doesn’t stem from Moa, who was the only interior defensive lineman coach Bryan Harsin mentioned last week as standing out in fall camp.  “David’s leadership on the field is big for us,” said Caldwell.  Moa just needs to be able to take a breath once in a while during games.  Caldwell likes what sophomore Chase Hatada is doing at defensive end.  But he’s looking for seven or eight more players like that.  “I think we’re getting closer to being able to play more guys,” said Caldwell.  But he wistfully reflected on the 2014 Fiesta Bowl season.  “You go back three years, and we almost played three deep (on the D-line),” recalled Caldwell.

Bronco opponents certainly must be aware of the junior from San Diego.  Theo Lawson of the Spokane Spokesman-Review penned a story this week headlined, “Dangerous Dozen—12 players who could make life hard for Washington State this season.”  There was one for each Wazzu foe.  Writes Lawson: “Brett Rypien is obviously another strong choice, but few defensive linemen in the Mountain West harness the tools that Moa does when it comes to rushing the passer.  He pretty much came out of the blue as a sophomore to lead the Broncos with 8.5 sacks and 10.5 tackles-for-loss.  The All-MWC first-teamer put Luke Falk on his butt 1.5 times in WSU’s loss at Albertson’s Stadium last season and made five tackles to go with a pass breakup.”

Tonight’s College of Idaho Purple & Gold scrimmage, the Coyotes’ final dress rehearsal for the season, will be held at Nampa’s Ridgevue High—the Simplot Stadium area is rather congested due to the Caldwell Night Rodeo.  The Yotes get an early start to their fourth season following the program’s reinstatement, as the campaign opens a week from tomorrow at Montana Western.

Doug Martin is making sure the Tampa Bay Buccaneers remember him during his three-game suspension next month.  Martin played the first quarter and rushed five times for 30 yards and a touchdown while catching two passes for 11 yards in the Bucs’ 12-8 win over Jacksonville last night.  Among other former Boise State stars, Jeremy McNichols got the most carries of any Tampa Bay back, 11 of them, gaining 32 yards.  Also, Jonathan Moxey registered three unassisted tackles for the Bucs, and Jeron Johnson had one stop for the Jaguars.  In Miami”s 31-7 loss to Baltimore, the Dolphins’ Jay Ajayi saw his first action of the preseason following his concussion 2½ weeks ago.  Ajayi had just two carries and netted minus-two yards but had an 11-yard reception.  Kamalei Correa, who’s been struggling to get established with the Ravens, logged two tackles.

Unlike the PGA Championship a week ago, par took a first-round beating yesterday at the Wyndham Championship in Greensboro, NC.  Meridian’s Troy Merritt and Nampa’s Tyler Aldridge were among 101 golfers who broke par at Sedgefield Country Club.  Merritt carded a three-under 67, spurred by three birdies over his final seven holes.  He’s tied for 34th.  Aldridge shot a 68 and is tied for 58th.

The fall sports season begins today with Boise State’s women’s soccer opener against Montana.  The Broncos’ game against the Grizzlies, as well as Sunday’s matchup versus Southern Utah, will be played on campus at the rec field across from the Lincoln Parking Garage due to maintenance at the Boas Soccer Complex.  The winter sports season has been dealt a setback as reports say Sofia Galeron, a member of Spain’s junior national team who signed with Boise State in April, will not join the Broncos after all.  Galeron appears headed for Picken Claret, a team that plays in Liga Femenina 2, the second-highest women’s league in Spain. 

The Boise Hawks got racked for the second straight game last night, falling 14-5 at Salem-Keizer.  Everything was fine until the fifth inning, when the Volcanoes plated eight runs and sent 11 batters to the plate.  S-K then scored five more times in the seventh.  The Hawks have now been outscored 26-8 over the first two games of their Western Idaho Fair road trip.

Chicago Cubs pitcher John Lackey, the longest-tenured former Boise Hawk currently in the majors, has been an All-Star, won a World Series Game 7 and helped three teams take home championships.  But Lackey had never stolen a base during his 15-year career—until Wednesday.  The 38-year-old righthander swiped second base in a 7-6 win over Cincinnati after the Reds chose not to hold him at first.  Did he have the green light, though?  "Of course he does," manager Joe Maddon cracked to MLB.com after the game.  "How would you ever red-light John Lackey?"  But moments later, he was picked off second.  Think about this: Lackey played in Boise in the last century (back in 1999).  I mean, he’s old.

This Day In Sports…brought to you by BBSI…your business owner advocate.

August 18, 2010:  Just when the dust appears to be settling in conference realignment, word leaks that Brigham Young University would leave the Mountain West, going independent in football and joining the WAC for all other sports.  Then came rumors that UNLV and San Diego State would bolt for the WAC in all sports, spurring the Mountain West to counter in the afternoon with invitations to Fresno State and Nevada.  The Bulldogs and Wolf Pack accepted later that evening, leaving the WAC reeling just hours after it appeared the league would pull off an historic coup.  Two weeks later, BYU would indeed leave the Mountain West, but it announced its non-football sports would instead move to the West Coast Conference.

(Tom Scott hosts the Scott Slant segment during the football season on KTVB’s Sunday Sports Extra and anchors five sports segments each weekday on 93.1 FM KTIK.  He also served as color commentator on KTVB’s telecasts of Boise State football for 14 seasons.)

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