Top of the depth chart or bust?

Monday, August 21, 2017. 

This decade has shown us one thing.  All across college football, it’s getting harder to find guys who’ll settle for being a backup quarterback.  About two weeks before the start of the season, Jake Constantine has announced he is transferring out of the Boise State program.  That after a solid spring that appeared to have him locked into the Broncos’ No. 2 spot behind Brett Rypien.  Then came the signing of graduate transfer Montell Cozart from Kansas.  And then came the preseason depth chart released by Boise State, showing Cozart listed at No. 2 and Constantine at No. 3.  Nothing appears to have changed that in fall camp.  And maybe true freshman Chase Cord is looking really good?  Constantine is now faced with losing another season of eligibility unless he enrolls at an FCS school.

Whatever happened to the B.J. Rhodes, Mike Sanfords, Mike Coughlins, Taylor Tharps, Bush Hamdans and Grant Hendricks of the world?  They’re still out there, but there are certainly fewer of them.  Constantine obviously has his reasons for leaving (“God’s plan,” he tweeted).  But he was a redshirt freshman, and if he had constantly improved his game over the next two years, he’d have been competing for the starting job when Rypien is gone in 2019.  Hedrick signed with Boise State when Kellen Moore had just finished his sophomore year—and Hedrick was a redshirt freshman when he was No. 3 behind Moore and Joe Southwick.   Then Southwick was chosen ahead of him to start in 2012.  But Hedrick persevered, and as a senior he quarterbacked the Broncos to their 2014 Fiesta Bowl victory.

Rypien, Cozart and Cord are now the only three scholarships quarterbacks on the Boise State roster.  It’s becoming clear that Cozart will have a role on this team regardless of Rypien’s status.  If Cozart’s going to be the change-of-pace guy in the offense, he’ll be the QB that Tommy Stuart wasn’t last year at Boise State.  Stuart was not used in special packages.  He appeared only in mopup—going just 3-of-5 for 50 yards through the air in 2016 and rushing the ball one time for two yards.  Understandable in Stuart’s case that he transferred to FCS Duquesne after last season.

There was one other departure from the Boise State program over the weekend, but this one wasn’t because of playing time.  Due to what he called “a recurring neck injury,” tight end Jake Knight has decided to leave the Broncos.  Knight was poised to be a contributor in a deep tight end unit (that is now slightly less so).  He’ll always be remembered for his 46-yard third-down catch that set up the winning touchdown in the fourth quarter against BYU last October.  Knight's circuitous route to Boise State is well-documented.  He originally signed with Oregon State out of Rocky Mountain High but decided to try track and field at Auburn instead.  After finishing 13th in the shot put at the SEC Indoor Championships, the call to play football drew him to the Broncos, and he walked on.

For all those Kellen Moore fans out there (and there are lots of them), it is what it is.  The former Boise State great’s night couldn’t have started any worse in Dallas’ 24-19 win over Indianapolis Saturday.  On his first official snap, Moore had the ball knocked out of his hands while attempting to pass, and the fumble was returned 15 yards for an easy touchdown.  Kellen was 10-of-21 for 131 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions, his second straight game under the 50 percent completion mark.  No. 3 quarterback Cooper Rush then came on to go 8-of-9 for 92 yards and two TDs, leading the Cowboys to their victory.

The Dallas Morning News ran a story yesterday on a conversation about Moore during the local game telecast between commentators Babe Laufenberg and Daryl “Moose” Johnston.   "You don't want to bring in a different guy every year,” said Laufenberg.  “The Cowboys got themselves into trouble doing that.  I know people poo-poo it, but (Moore) threw for 435 yards against Washington a couple years ago.  There have been only two other quarterbacks in NFL history that threw for 400 yards in their first or second start.”  And Laufenberg added, "I was talking to (then-coach) Chip Kelly in San Francisco last year before the game.  He said, 'I love the guy.'  He knew every stat (about Moore).  I thought we were talking to his dad."  Of course, Moore led Boise State past Oregon 19-8 on the blue turf in Kelly’s head coaching debut in 2009.

Troy Merritt had a pretty good weekend at the Wyndham Championship.  As a result, he finished in a tie for 28th and pocketed $36,153, his best take since a tie for eighth in the Travelers Championship in late June.  The catalyst was a five-under 65 on Saturday, and an odd round it was.  Merritt sandwiched an eagle between two bogeys on the front nine.  Otherwise, he was solid.  Merritt’s final round began with a double-bogey yesterday, but he cruised after that and posted a 69.

The Western Idaho Fair road trip is showing signs of life for the Boise Hawks.  After being swept at Salem-Keizer, the Hawks have won their first two games in Eugene, including yesterday’s 11-6 victory in a 15-inning marathon.  The game was tied 4-4 after nine innings—then both teams scored twice in the 11th to keep it going.  Boise opened the 15th with five straight singles and scored five times to salt it away.  Of the Hawks’ 22 hits on the day, 21 were singles.

The Boise State athletic year is underway, and it will (hopefully) culminate with competitors in the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships next June.  The Bronco women’s soccer team was first on the field, losing 1-0 to Montana Friday on a nightmarish own-goal.  The yesterday, Boise State routed Southern Utah 5-1, the Broncos’ first five-goal game since 2010.

This Day In Sports… August 21, 2007, 10 years ago today:

The biggest day at the plate by any former Boise Hawk to make the majors, as Garret Anderson of the Los Angeles Angels knocks in 10 runs, a franchise record, in an 18-9 win over the Yankees.  Included in Anderson’s barrage were a grand slam and a three-run homer.  Anderson had the longest big league career of any Hawks alum at 16 seasons.  He’s still the Angels’ all-time leader in games played, at bats, hits, total bases, singles, doubles, grand slams, extra-base hits and career RBIs.

(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.)

© 2017 KTVB-TV


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