Monday, August 12, 2013.
After I ran down the Boise State wide receiver crew last night on Sunday Sports Extra, I thought one number really jumped out. Kirby Moore has four career touchdowns in 79 catches going into his senior year. There’s evidence that he’s due for a lot more this season. Moore holds the national high school record for career TD receptions with 95 in his four years at Prosser High in Washington. During his freshman and sophomore years, the bulk of his 32 touchdown catches came from brother Kellen. Then Kirby had a staggering 63 TDs as a junior and senior. As a Bronco, Moore’s first three scores were courtesy of Kellen. He had one TD last season on a 27-yard grab from Joe Southwick at Southern Miss. Kirby still knows the end zone, and I reckon we’ll find that out in the next 4½ months.
The consensus is the Boise State offense will be closer to its old self this season, and one reason is experience at wide receiver. Despite the loss of Chris Potter and Mitch Burroughs, there's a lot to like beyond Moore. Matt Miller is on track to become the Broncos' all-time leader, already at 128 receptions halfway through his career. I talked last week about the positive senioritis that should be afflicting Geraldo Boldewijn and Aaron Burks—and the personality that Shane Williams-Rhodes brings. They should be big-time threats if everything pans out. Then there's Dallas Burroughs, whose sophomore year (13 catches) wasn't what his junior year promises to be.
Boise State holds its first scrimmage of fall camp this afternoon, closed to the public and the media. There’ll be heavy auditioning on the defensive line, as Deuce Mataele apparently remains out due an academic issue. So at tackle, the staff’s anxious eyes will be on sophomore Armand Nance to see if he’s ready to take the next step. Two names that haven’t been mentioned much are Eliot Hoyte, the redshirt freshman Englishman with a reservoir of raw talent, and Justin Taimatuia, the junior college transfer from Mt. San Antonio College. By all accounts, the Broncos would like to be able to leave Tyler Horn at defensive end.
The ESPN The Magazine issue featuring Steve Wulf’s “Screw U” article about Boise State is out now. Wulf claims the Broncos had something to do with the demise of the BCS, but he isn’t so sure about what they are left with. “In another world, say college basketball, Boise State would have been Butler,” writes Wulf, who touts the Broncos’ “OKG” approach in building its roster (Our Kinda Guys). “But in the BCS era, the mid-majors have been made to sit at the kiddie table. Let ‘em eat the MAACO Bowl Las Vegas. Which the Broncos have won the past three years.” Wulf notes coach Chris Petersen’s notion that the new College Football Playoff is a better system. “If anything, we like our role as outsiders,” Petersen told Wulf. “It makes us work that much harder.
But reality will set in sooner or later. “Don’t think for a moment that democracy is coming to college football,” Wulf writes, referring to Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany’s 2010 protestations that the big boys have been playing together under their own system since 1902. Wulf adds, “If the NCAA actually decided to live up to its ideals, or at least its commercials about the virtues of being a student-athlete, it might declare Boise State OKP: Our Kinda Program.”
Kellen Moore, widely described as stronger and showing more zip on his passes this summer, debuted solidly in Detroit’s first preseason game Friday night. The former Boise State great was 8-of-13 for 60 yards in the Lions’ 26-17 win over the New York Jets. Moore’s first five attempts were incomplete, so he finished 8-of-8 with a long throw of 28 yards to Kris Durham. One of Moore’s drives resulted in a Detroit field goal. If the Lions elect to keep three quarterbacks this season like they did in 2012, Kellen’s chances are good. Thaddeus Lewis, brought in from Cleveland to compete with Moore, didn't enter the game until the end of the fourth quarter, and he didn't attempt a pass.
One thing hasn’t changed at Idaho. The Vandals still run off a huge number of snaps in their scrimmages. The offense got a whopping 163 chances in the team’s first scrimmage of fall camp Saturday, and it responded with 10 touchdowns. Coeur d’Alene’s Chad Chalich did nothing to knock himself off the top perch in Idaho’s quarterback battle, going 14-of-27 for 171 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions. Chalich also ran for two scores. The only concern for the Vandal QBs would be accuracy, as combined they were 34-of-63. In the running game, you can add another name into the mix of newness. Freshman Robert Montgomery rushed for 93 yards on 10 carries and ripped off a 47-yard run.
Idaho State opens fall camp today, with its opener set for September 7 against Dixie State. ISU is coming off a 1-10 season, a common occurrence for this program. The Bengals have so far to go, it’s hard to know where to begin. But how about defense? The Bengals allowed a staggering 54.8 points per game last season and had 70 points hung on them four times. “What happened to us last year defensively is something I’m terribly ashamed of, something that keeps me awake at night,” coach Mike Kramer said during a press conference last Thursday. So much so that he’s made defensive players off-limits to the media, likely for the entire season.
If Boise is getting its last looks at No. 2 overall draft pick Kris Bryant, he’s leaving quite an impression. Bryant may be gone to a higher level by the time the Boise Hawks return from their annual Western Idaho Fair road trip. Last night he came a home run short of hitting for the cycle, a performance that included a triple that showed off his speed. Problem is, the Hawks lost the game to Vancouver 6-5, ending a five-game winning streak. Earlier in the day, Bryant went 2-for-4 in a 3-1 win over the Canadians. Friday night college baseball’s player of the year capped a wild Hawks rally with a sacrifice fly that scored the winning run in the bottom of the ninth in a 5-4 Boise victory. In four games over the weekend, Bryant jumped his average from .294 to .354. The Hawks are off today—hopefully Bryant will still be around when Eugene comes in tomorrow.
There wasn’t a weekend for Graham DeLaet at the PGA Championship. The former Boise State star missed the cut at Oak Hill after shooting a six-over 76 Friday. DeLaet falls to No. 33 in FedEx Cup standings from No. 30, three spots short of where he’ll need to be at the end of the season for automatic entry into the Masters, U.S. Open and British Open next year. Troy Merritt suffered a similar fate at the Price Cutter Charity Championship, missing the cut and dropping from 63rd to 67th on the Web,com Tour money list. Merritt needs to hang on to top 75 status to make the Web.com Tour Finals next month. The saving grace locally was Meridian’s Joe Panzeri grabbing a victory in Calgary at the ATB Financial Classic on the Canadian tour. Today, former Boise State star T.K. Kim begins play at the U.S. Amateur Championship in Brookline, MA.
Bishop Kelly grad Nick Symmonds ran a rhythmic 1:45.00 yesterday in Moscow and advanced to the 800-meter finals tomorrow night at the performed at the IAAF World Track and Field Championships. And Symmonds feels the best is yet to come. “I’m just so ecstatic the way it’s shaping up,” he told the Oregonian. “Today I felt really smooth going through the gears there. I feel like I’m ready to run 1:43, maybe dip under 1:43 if need be.” And it might be needed. One other American made the finals: Duane Solomon, who turned in the fastest qualifying time at 1:43.87.
Three iconic rites of summer made their marks over the weekend. Bam Jam Boise was won by Goldy’s, featuring former Boise State stars Reggie Larry, Anthony Thomas and Kenny Buckner. The field topped 1,000 players this year. The Nightfire Nationals completed its 42nd run with John Hale of Addison, TX, winning the AA Funny Car division. And Les Bois Park wrapped up its first full season under the new local regime Saturday with the Idaho Cup. The richest race was the final one, the $30,000 Idaho Cup Juvenile Stakes, won by Five Alarm Charm with Troy Stillwell aboard.
This Day In Sports…August 12, 1978:
In one of the NFL’s most frightening moments, New England wide receiver Darryl Stingley is paralyzed after being tackled by Oakland Raiders safety Jack Tatum in an exhibition game. Tatum professed it to be a clean hit, but his style of play was widely scrutinized for the rest of his career. He died in 2009 without ever apologizing to the family of Stingley, who passed away in 2007.
(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.)