Harsin stays the learning curve course

Tuesday, September 2, 2014.

So how does Boise State coach Bryan Harsin look at the big picture after the sobering experience at the Chick-fil-A Kickoff? "Schematically, how we're doing things, how we're operating, I like it," Harsin said. In other words, there's no panic—no need for wholesale changes after the 35-13 loss to Ole Miss. His goal moving forward is understated: "To get through four quarters, not three quarters." While acknowledging that it takes awhile for first-time coordinators like Mike Sanford and Marcel Yates to get their legs under them, Harsin said, "I thought both Mike and 'Cel did a good job. They made good adjustments throughout the game." The coach adds in special teams coordinator Kent Riddle in talking about his brain trust's football IQ. "These guys take a bunch of notes after games, and they can figure out how we can get better," said Harsin.

Harsin didn't have an injury update on defensive tackle Tyler Horn and cornerback Donte Deayon, saying he doesn't yet know if they'll be able to play against Colorado State Saturday night. Horn looked like a long-term loss when he was doubled over in pain with a knee injury in the third quarter last week versus Ole Miss—and when he limped off the field after the game with a crutch and in a knee brace. But what do we know? The Mountain View High grad had four tackles and a sack in Atlanta. Both Horn and Deayon were sorely missed in the second half of the game. "He's crucial to our defense," said Harsin of Deayon. "He's a good player." The All-Mountain West junior was grimacing as he walked the sideline in the second half, and while walking to the locker room after it was over.

The Boise State record watch zeroes in on pass completions, and the receptions that go with them. Grant Hedrick's 36 completions were the second-most ever by a Bronco quarterback in a single game. With six catches against Ole Miss, Matt Miller is now just seven away from reaching the school career record of 229 held by Austin Pettis. Shane Williams-Rhodes' 14 grabs versus the Rebels equaled the third-most in a single game in school history and were the most since Tim Gilligan set the school record in 2003 with 16 at Louisiana Tech. And Jay Ajayi's 12 receptions were the most ever by a Bronco running back in a single game.

Back to Hedrick, a game like that puts a real crimp in one's pass efficiency rating, and it'll take some big games for it to recover. Hedrick's rating was just 116.3—the only saving grace was the career-high completion percentage of 78.3 he posted. The interception percentage is the biggest culprit in his rating, of course. But the low touchdown percentage and the low yards-per-attempt number sink the number, too. Hedrick's efficiency rating last year was a respectable 150.0.

There are numerous things Boise State can build on despite the loss in the Georgia Dome. I mean, how would you like to be Fresno State today after that 701-yard, 52-13 beatdown at USC Saturday night? Thing is, though, the Broncos are going to have to build in a hurry after what Colorado State did to Colorado Friday night. The Rams rallied past the Buffaloes and then some, winning 31-17 at Invesco Field, and the story wasn't much-ballyhooed CSU quarterback Garrett Grayson. It was the Rams' running game that gashed CU, with Alabama transfer Dee Hart dashing for 139 yards and JC transfer Treyous Jarrells gaining 121. Colorado State brings its considerable momentum to Albertsons Stadium this Saturday night for the Mountain West opener.

Here's hoping Idaho can still get its game in against Florida this season. The severe weather at the Swamp wiped out the opener Saturday night between the two teams, leaving the Vandals' $975,000 payday in doubt. About $200,000 was earmarked for travel expenses—it's unclear whether Idaho is on the hook for that amount since the game wasn't played. Both schools have a bye on Saturday, October 25, so that's a possibility. If the game is re-scheduled, do the Gators get to start with a first-and-10 at the Vandals' 14-yard-line? "If the game is resumed, it will begin with the same time remaining and under the identical conditions of down, distance, field position and player eligibility," a statement from Florida read. The Gators' Valdez Showers ran back the opening kickoff 64 yards to the Idaho 14 before the game was called.

This week is just like any other September week at the College of Idaho. September, 1977, that is. It's this Saturday that the Coyotes finally return to the football field at Pacific University in Forest Grove, OR. The Yotes last played intercollegiate football 37 years ago, going 2-6 during that final year under head coach Ed Knecht. They take a one-game win streak into 2014, having defeated Pacific U., 24-23, in their final game. Technically the C of I is playing up for this one—the Coyotes are an NAIA school, while Pacific is NCAA Division III. The Boxers went 7-3 last year.

Just four Boise State representatives in NFL camps were cut at the roster deadline Saturday, and one of them was not Kellen Moore. The former Bronco star will be the Detroit Lions' No. 3 quarterback for the third straight year after his strongest preseason yet. One of the cuts was mildly surprising, as sixth-round draft pick Matt Paradis was released by Denver, but the former Council Lumberjack was named to the Broncos' practice squad. Nate Potter and Geraldo Boldewijn were waived by Arizona and Atlanta, respectively, with injury settlements, and Chase Baker was cut by Minnesota. So 17 Boise State products have made it in the NFL this season, including Ricky Tjong-A-Tjoe, who's on injured reserve with San Diego.

For purposes of this paragraph, we'll say that Labor Day weekend started Thursday night—and what a weekend it was for the Boise Hawks. They made some rare national news by default when Mariners catcher Jesus Montero, on a rehab assignment with Everett, went ballistic after a Seattle scout sent a Hawks "ice cream helmet" to him in the AquaSox dugout at Memorial Stadium. The scout, Butch Baccala, was apparently making light of Montero's ongoing weight problem, and Montero grabbed a bat and went after him in the stands, throwing the ice cream at him. The M's elected to end Montero's season after the incident, and they made his suspension official yesterday.

On the field the Hawks made plenty of local news. Having already clinched a second straight winning season last Wednesday, they secured another berth in the Northwest League Playoffs with their 9-8 win Saturday night over Salem-Keizer. Then last night, Boise rallied for four runs in the bottom of the ninth to stun the Volcanoes, 6-5. Jason Vosler was the walk-off hero, lining a single to right field to score Kevin Brown to end it. The Hawks finish the regular season with a 41-35 record, 19-19 in the second half, and open the Northwest League South Division playoffs tonight against the Hillsboro Hops. Game 2 and, if necessary, Game 3 will be played in Hillsboro. Boise is a looking for its first NWL championship in 10 years and sixth overall.

After a solid third round Sunday, Graham DeLaet closed with an even-par 71 yesterday to fall to a tie for 50th at the Deutsche Bank Championship at TPC Boston. The former Boise State star's FedExCup ranking dropped six spots to No. 43. DeLaet still has a berth in this week's BMW Championship as the top 70 in FedExCup points advance to Cherry Hills Country Club outside Denver. But he'll have to get back into the top 30 to make next week's Tour Championship. Elsewhere, Maddie Sheils missed the cut Friday in her first LPGA Tour event, the Portland Classic at the Columbia Edgewater Country Club. The Bishop Kelly grad carded back-to-back 75s in the first two rounds.

This Day In Sports…September 2, 2006:

Dennis Erickson makes his much-celebrated return to the University of Idaho in the season opener at Michigan State—against his former Vandal defensive coordinator and one-time Idaho head coach John L. Smith. The Vandals, 29-point underdogs, stayed with the Spartans to the end of a 27-17 loss. Erickson, however, would be Idaho's coach for less than a year, bolting to Arizona State in December of that year as Dirk Koetter's replacement.

(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.)


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