Wednesday, August 6, 2014.
The lack of media access to fall camp practices at Boise State has been replaced, at least in the Broncos' minds, by the football program's All-Access videos. It's a sleekly-produced series that began last winter after Bryan Harsin took over as head coach. The university is able to control content, but at the same time the crew can sometimes elicit more natural responses from players.
The first All-Access video of fall camp, "Blue Collar, Episode 1," is out this week, including Jake Hardee talking about learning he has a scholarship, and probable fan favorite Antoine Turner talking about the day's workout. "I thought it was just going to be a little warm-up run—then we got to doin' the squats," says Turner. "Plus with coach Harsin's sarcasm in the group: 'We only got 40? We only got 50?' And I was like, 'Bro, we've got 50 squats, up and down!' It was an amazing grind, but I needed it." Oh, and there are creative shots from a drone flying over the blue turf. It's good stuff—and hey, it's about all you've got.
Harsin's reluctance to keep the fall camp doors open to media may be related to his experience with the Longhorn Network during his two years as offensive coordinator at Texas. Harsin and his fellow UT coaches weren't enamored with the extraordinary amount of access the fledgling network was given when it was launched in 2011 in conjunction with ESPN. The offense would have to try to install new plays with a camera following every X and O. Sometimes, we're told, the staff would have to hide the offense away in a building somewhere to go over new schemes.
After listening to Boise State wide receivers coach Junior Adams' interview with a gaggle of local media yesterday, you wonder if Troy Ware's listing as a starter in the Mountain West media guide wasn't just a placeholder for the Broncos. In discussing Ware's chances of taking the Broncos' coveted No. 3 receiver spot behind Matt Miller and Shane Williams-Rhodes, Adams said, "Troy's still a work in progress—he's had a quiet camp so far." That draws a line in the sand for the junior who logged 10 catches for 107 yards and two touchdowns last year. The guy Adams talked up a bit was Chaz Anderson, who just moved to wide receiver from the secondary. "We were looking for another guy, and Chaz was interested in moving over to offense," said Adams, who praised Anderson's natural ball skills.
Boise State is the top non-power conference school for the 2013-14 academic year in the Collegiate Licensing Company's rankings of the top 75 universities in merchandise sales. The Broncos placed 42nd, five spots ahead of their September 13 football opponent, Connecticut (it wasn't football that earned UConn that high a spot). BYU was 48th, Fresno State 58th, Wyoming 61st and Nevada 66th. Texas was No. 1 for the ninth straight year.
Two of Colorado's top lawmakers, U.S. Sen. Mark Udall and Congressman Doug Lamborn, are supporting the Air Force Academy superintendent's call for an investigation of the school's athletic department. A Colorado Springs Gazette story has blown the lid off some serious behind-the-scenes problems at the Academy. The Gazette found that "for three years starting in 2010, some cadets, including a core group of football players, took part in acts including drug use, binge drinking, sexual assault and cheating. The newspaper's investigation described a dragnet with 32 cadet suspects that commenced in the days after a Dec. 2, 2011 party where informants told investigators that women at the party got drinks from a bottle laced with the date-rape drug Rohypnol." This can't help but be distracting for the Falcons.
It's hard to say the word "improved" when talking about Idaho State football, but the program did get to the three-win mark last year (3-9) in Mike Kramer's third year. The Bengals opened fall camp Monday, hoping for more in 2014. Treasure Valley players dot the ISU roster, and two are expected to have impact in the passing game. Madison Mangum, a sophomore from Timberline High who transferred last year from BYU, will get a look at wide receiver. Mangum, the older brother of future BYU quarterback Tanner Mangum, made seven catches for 76 yards last season. And Mountain Home High grad Tyler Wright, a junior tight end, contributed 18 catches for 201 yards and a touchdown in 2013.
Shea McClellin may have a primo opportunity to answer his many doubters Friday night when Chicago opens the preseason against Philadelphia. The former Boise State star and Bears 2012 first-round draft pick has been moved from defensive end to outside linebacker this year. He also plays in the middle some in Chicago's nickel package, and he'll see more time there versus the Eagles with seven-time Pro Bowler Lance Briggs having apparently bruised his knee in practice yesterday. Later in drills McClellin received a congratulatory pat from Briggs after a nice pass breakup. "We do like what we're seeing so far from him," said new Chicago defensive coordinator Mel Tucker.
Only one Boise Hawk collected a hit in last night's Northwest League All-Star Game in Eugene, but that's kind of the way the game went. It was called after 10 innings with the score 0-0 and both teams out of pitchers. The squads combined for just nine hits, and the Hawks' Mark Zagunis had the only extra-base hit for the South All-Stars, a double. Zagunis, Rashad Crawford, Danny Canela, Justin Marra and Trevor Clifton will now head up I-5 to join their Boise teammates for the start of a three-game series tomorrow night at Salem-Keizer.
Former Boise Hawk Javier Baez made his debut last night for the Cubs and went 0-for-5 before logging his first major league hit. But the hit was a huge one—Baez homered in the top of the 11th inning to give Chicago a 6-5 win over the Colorado Rockies in Denver. Baez played second base, with fellow former Hawk Arismendy Alcantara moving from second to centerfield (Alcantara was 0-for-5). One other note involving a Boise alum—Josh Harrison becomes all but the centerpiece of Pittsburgh's lineup now that Andrew McCutchen is out after fracturing a rib Sunday against Arizona. McCutchen has not been placed on the disabled list, though. Harrison moved to third in the batting order last night, going 1-for-4 in the Pirates' 6-3 loss to Miami.
The seventh annual BAM Jam Boise takes over a chunk of downtown this weekend, and there are some interesting combinations brewing. Australian John Rillie, one of Leon Rice's assistant coaches at Boise State, is playing on both an elite and men's competitive team. Bryan Champ, who 15 years ago was playing in the Little League World Series with the South Central Boise All-Stars, will team up with Rillie in the elite division. Champ went on to become a two-sport star at the College of Idaho. Also on Rillie's team will be former Bronco Bryan Defares, currently a Treasure Valley Community College assistant. The games, lots and lots of them, will be played Saturday and Sunday on the streets surrounding Capitol Park near the Idaho Statehouse.
Graham DeLaet is in the field for the tee-off of the PGA Championship tomorrow despite a nasty bout with the flu that knocked him out of the Bridgestone Invitational last Sunday. DeLaet told the Vancouver Sun he lost about 10 pounds due to the bug and was tired as he toured the Valhalla course yesterday during a practice round. Hydration will be an issue for the former Boise State star. "I might even try to get a couple of bags of I.V. and try to stay on top of it, because it's going to be hot and humid and you sweat a lot more," said DeLaet.
This Day In Sports…August 6, 1999, 15 years ago today:
San Diego's Tony Gwynn has a four-hit game to reach the 3,000-hit plateau as the Padres beat the Expos, 12-10, at Montreal. Gwynn's historic evening came six years to the day after his 2000th hit, and both milestones came on his mom's birthday. Vendella Gwynn was there, but only 13,539 other fans joined her at Olympic Stadium, underscoring the attendance problems that would eventually trigger the Expos' move to Washington, D.C.
(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.)