Tuesday, October 1, 2013.
But of course Chris Petersen’s name has come up for the USC job vacated when Lane Kiffin was fired Sunday morning. He’s No. 1 on the USA Today list of most desirable prospects. But it was a column Bruce Feldman of CBSSports.com penned before the firing last week that is causing a stir locally. Wrote Feldman: “Another intriguing option is Boise State's 48-year-old Chris Petersen, who is 86-10 (now 87-10) in eight seasons. Petersen has turned down repeated offers to leave Boise, including a chance to coach in Los Angeles at UCLA, but a source close to Petersen told me in the past month that the coach has said he's looking for a change. Would that change mean more money but also a much, much bigger spotlight at USC? Probably not.” Two key words at the end of that quote.
This is just me talkin’. But Petersen has been down this road so many times. He doesn’t like dealing with the media any more than he has to. He doesn’t like the spotlight and the scrutiny it brings. He doesn’t like to share much about his closed practices—and nothing about injuries. His son Jack is now in college at Santa Clara, but Sam is a sophomore in high school, and Petersen is happy they’ve been able to grow up in Boise and its public school system. In early 2011, Petersen was in discussions with Stanford when Jim Harbaugh left. One of the deal-breakers was the salary pool for assistant coaches. It was likely that staff members, were they to buy homes, would have had to live far from Palo Alto. What would it be like in L.A. for guys accustomed to living 10 minutes from campus? But that’s just me talkin’.
Did you know? This is the first season in the Chris Petersen era that Boise State has reached 60 points twice in the same season. Okay, one was against an FCS school, but that’s still saying something. Let's get right down to last year versus this year with the Bronco offense now that there have been three straight 500-yard games. Boise State’s total offense average has gone from 378 yards to 491. Passing is up from 226 yards per game to 281, rushing from 152 yards to 210, and points per game from 26 all the way up to 42. After the inauspicious six-point beginning to the season in Seattle, the Broncos have risen to 18th in the country in scoring and 23rd in total offense.
The days of counting Boise State’s sacks allowed on two hands are about to end. Joe Southwick was sacked for a loss of nine yards by Southern Miss on the first play from scrimmage Saturday night, and there would be two more sacks to come. That gives the Broncos a total of nine allowed already this season, one short of the total for all of last year. The issue wasn’t the health of the offensive line. Two of the sacks by the Golden Eagles happened before right tackle Rees Odhiambo was injured with just over five minutes left in the first half, and the third came immediately after. Senior Jake Broyles, who has logged a lot of playing time for the Broncos—including a start in the season-opening win over Georgia two years ago—replaced Odhiambo and played well.
Should Boise State’s Demarcus Lawrence have been named Mountain West Defensive Player of the Week yesterday for his five tackles, sack and forced fumble versus Southern Miss? Naw. Colorado State linebacker Shaq Barrett had 13 tackles, four tackles for loss, three sacks, two forced fumbles, one pass breakup and one quarterback hurry in Colorado State’s 59-42 win over UTEP. Those are stout stats. Could Lawrence have been MW Special Teams Player of the Week with his two game-turning field goal blocks? Probably. Logan Yunker of UNLV punted three times for an average of 51.7 yards in the Rebels’ 56-42 win at New Mexico. Must be because it was a conference game.
I promised yesterday to talk about the San Jose State situation on ESPN after watching the telecast of the Spartans’ 40-12 loss to Utah State last Friday. Athletic director Gene Bleymaier’s challenge is enormous, as the atmosphere in Spartan Stadium was awful. Attendance was only 10,533, with the end zone seats and upper deck on the press box side mostly empty. ESPN cameras showed only tight shots of the crowd. Coming off an 11-2 season, the best in school history, this was a big deal for San Jose State. Yet the university remains so far down the Bay Area sports totem pole that it struggles for relevance. Will the Spartans ever get over the hump? It did not look good for the Mountain West.
Jamar Taylor made his injury-delayed NFL debut last night for Miami and had the pleasure of covering guys like New Orleans stars Jimmy Graham and Marques Colston. The second round draft pick out of Boise State gave up a second quarter touchdown to Graham despite good coverage—it was a perfect throw by Drew Brees. In the second half Taylor was “highlighted” by ESPN’s Jon Gruden after Colston overpowered him on one catch. But Taylor did stop Colston short of a first down on a third down play later in the same drive. On the other side, former Boise State star Chris Carr had one of the Saints’ three interceptions of Ryan Tannehill in their 38-17 victory. It was the first pick in almost three years for Carr, who’s in his ninth NFL season.
Idaho Steelheads observers have advanced some theories as to who will be between the pipes for the team this season. The Texas Stars completed their preseason schedule Sunday by blanking out San Antonio, 3-0, with Josh Robinson and Pat Nagle combining for the shutout. Considering the depth at goalie in the Dallas Stars organization, either Robinson or Nagle—or both—could be in the picture for Idaho. Robinson in particular would be just fine. In his rookie year with the Steelheads last season, Robinson was 27-8-4 with a 92.5 percent save percentage and a 2.57 goals-against average. Nagle won a Kelly Cup with the Florida Everblades two years ago. The Steelies gather for training camp this Sunday.
University of Utah basketball coach Larry Krystkowiak, the one-time Idaho Stampede head man, turned crimestopper Saturday morning. The Deseret News reports that Krystkowiak, while on his way to his office at the Huntsman Center, saw a middle-aged man who was riding a bicycle and pulling another one near the arena and detained him. After asking Krystkowiak if he planned to call the police, the man then inquired about whether the coach would give chase if he ran. “I said, ‘Yeah. Not only am I going to chase you, but I’m going to tackle you. So why don’t you sit down on the sidewalk,’” Krystkowiak told the newspaper. The alleged thief didn’t mess with the 6-9 Krystkowiak and waited for the arrival of campus officers, who discovered bolt cutters and five cellphones in a bag the man was carrying. “It felt kind of good,” said Krystkowiak.
Portland Trail Blazers news is particularly relevant right now with their exhibition game in Boise against the Utah Jazz just 10 days away. The Blazers have exercised their third-year options on Damian Lillard, Meyers Leonard and Thomas Robinson. Lillard, the former Weber State star, is the big one. The sixth overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft averaged 19.0 points, 3.1 rebounds and 6.5 assists in earning unanimous Rookie of the Year honors last season. Lillard was one of only three rookies in NBA history with 1,500 points and 500 assists.
This Day In Sports…October 1, 2011:
Boise State avenges perhaps the most painful loss in its history by dominating Nevada, 30-10, before a sellout crowd on a 90-degree day on the blue turf. It was the earliest in the season a day game had ever been played at Bronco Stadium. BSU had fallen in overtime in Reno the previous November, dashing its Rose Bowl hopes. But the Bronco defense would stifle the Wolf Pack’s pistol offense this time, holding it to 182 yards. Doug Martin led the Boise State offense, rushing for 126 yards and a touchdown.
(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.)