BOISE, Idaho — (TOM SCOTT'S COLUMN WILL RETURN MONDAY, AUGUST 5)

Friday, July 26, 2019. 

While surfing snippets from out-of-town media following Mountain West Media Days, I ran into a Fresno Bee story that had Fresno State running back Ronnie Rivers reminiscing about his winning overtime touchdown in the Mountain West championship game.  “I’ve seen it probably…maybe 50 to 100 times,” Rivers said.  “I’ve watched the full game probably at least 10 to 15.  It never gets old watching those type of games and remembering the feelings of those experiences.”  

From a Boise State standpoint, just remove the word “never” from Rivers’ last sentence, and you’ve got it.  “It gets old…”  That moment is what should fuel the Broncos going into the 2019 season, especially considering they wouldn’t have been in that predicament had they made one simple extra point with eight minutes left in the game.

With Boise State picked to win the Mountain Division of the Mountain West, you could say the Broncos are on the “watch list.”  Individually, the recognition continues, as coach Bryan Harsin is on the watch list for the Dodd Trophy that goes to the national coach of the year.  

Only two other Group of 5 coaches are on the 23-man docket: UCF’s Josh Heupel and Army’s Jeff Monken.  Former Broncos coach Chris Petersen was the winner of the Dodd Trophy in 2010.  

Also, Boise State cornerback and punt returner Avery Williams was named to the watch list for the Paul Hornung Award that honors the most versatile performer in college football, and Bronco offensive lineman Kole Bailey of Twin Falls is a preseason candidate for the Wuerffel Trophy that combines community service with athletic and academic achievement.

NO MORE RAFTING THE SALMON

The Dallas Cowboys open training camp today in Oxnard, CA.  So summer vacation has come to an end for Riggins’ favorite son, Leighton Vander Esch.  

My colleague Jay Tust of KTVB did some math after NFL Network released its list of the top 100 players in the league this week.  

“There are 1,696 active roster spots in the NFL,” tweeted Tust.  “After just one year in the league, former Boise State LB Leighton Vander Esch is already ranked as the 74th best player, putting him in the top five percent of the NFL’s elite.”  

Andy Benoit, the Boise native who now writes for Sports Illustrated, has updated the profile of LVE he did for SI 15 months ago.  Seems that Vander Esch and his new wife, Maddy, spent a lot of offseason time in a new RV they bought.  

An escape from reality.  And the reality is: Leighton has become a popular national figure.

HE WEARS NO. 16, REMEMBER?

Can you name the other five former Broncos on the Dallas roster?  DeMarcus Lawrence, Tyrone Crawford, George Iloka, Darian Thompson and…Cedrick Wilson.  Wilson’s been the forgotten man.  If he’s going to become part of the Cowboys’ wide receiver rotation, you’d hope the Cowboys will fix his profile on the team’s official website.  “Height 6-5, weight 6-2,” it says on the roster.  When you click the link, it goes to a “Ced Wilson” page with no photo.  The entirety of his bio: “6th round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft.”  Guess you gotta earn your keep in Big D.

RANKING THIS YEAR’S BOISE STATE UFA’S BEYOND RYPIEN

Will any of Boise State’s undrafted free agents make NFL rosters?  There’s defensive end Durrant Miles in Atlanta.  He’s probably the best bet.  Miles had a solid senior year for the Broncos, then trained hard in the offseason and impressed scouts at Boise State’s Pro Day.  He has to hope the Falcons keep five players at D-end—Miles has a legit shot at the practice squad.  Wide receiver Sean Modster is in Baltimore and was impressive in OTAs.  “No. 14 (Modster), he came alive the past couple practices,” Ravens cornerback Tavon Young said of Modster’s moves in the slot last month.  Fellow wideout A.J. Richardson is with the Arizona Cardinals.  Richardson does not have top-end NFL receiver speed, so he’ll have to make his bid with hands, route-running and savvy.

OVER/UNDER ON KNEECAP RECOVERY?

It’ll probably be okay by the time the hoops season starts, but you never know.  According to the Salt Lake Tribune, Utah State star center Neemias Queta sprained his knee and dislocated his kneecap during an FIBA U-20 Europian Championship game versus Russia last weekend in his native Portugal.  The Aggies, the favorite to win the Mountain West next winter, have three months to get him healthy.  Queta averaged 11.8 points, 8.9 rebounds and 2.4 blocks last season as USU won the conference tournament title.  He was both Freshman of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year last season in the Mountain West. Queta declared for the NBA Draft this spring but elected to return to USU.

AN EVEN BIGGER STAGE FOR OSTRANDER

After turning pro less than a month ago, Allie Ostrander said on KTIK’s Idaho SportsTalk, “I do think I have a lot of growth potential in my times.”  The former Boise State superstar will try to grow them today at U.S. Outdoor Track and Field Championships as she competes in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, the event she has won the past three years at the NCAA Championships.  “I have my sights set on trying to make an impact on the world stage,” said Ostrander.  She also said at the beginning of the month that she’d be using the next year to determine whether the steeple or the 10,000-meters will give her the best opportunity to make the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.  Ostrander’s not entered in the 10,000 this weekend in Des Moines, though.

OTHER PRO SPORTS POINTS

Meridian’s Troy Merritt has a score of +6 points through 15 holes in the suspended first round of the Barbasol Championship outside Reno.  A plus-score is good, as this is the lone PGA Tour event played under the modified Stableford scoring system.  Merritt essentially was penalized points for two bogeys but was rewarded for three birdies.  And Boise Hawks starter Jeffri Ocando didn’t make it out of the first inning Thursday night in Eugene, allowing six runs (three earned) on four hits.  That’s all the Emeralds needed as they racked Boise 11-1.  The Hawks return home tonight to open a three-game series against Hillsboro.

This Day In Sports…July 26, 2013:

Russell Knox shoots the fifth 59 in Web.com Tour history in the second round of the Albertsons Boise Open at Hillcrest Country Club.  The 28-year-old Scotsman missed a chance to break the tour record when he parred the final two holes.  Knox carded two eagles and eight birdies in his bogey-free round.  He would, however, finish tied for 12th.  Kevin Tway who won the tournament two days later on the first hole of a playoff over Spencer Levin.  It was the first time the event had been played in July.

(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.)