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Boise State football: Harsin and the waiting game

The shock of no football this fall will slowly wear off at Boise State. That will be followed by a new drawing board for coaches and players-especially seniors.
Credit: David Zalubowski
Boise State head coach Bryan Harsin watches warmups before an NCAA game against Colorado State, Friday, Nov. 29, 2019, in Fort Collins, Colo. Boise State won 31-24.

BOISE, Idaho — Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Here are some takeaways from Boise State coach Bryan Harsin’s press conference Tuesday:

Harsin is profoundly disappointed by the Mountain West decision to postpone football (it didn’t take much to read between those lines), but he and the Broncos have no choice but to roll with it. 

“At least we have an answer,” Harsin said. “It’s not what we wanted, but how do we as a team move forward?” 

It avoids something that would have been perhaps more painful: “If we get started, we don’t want to stop.” 

Harsin’s fine with a shot in the spring, with an asterisk. It would be tough to go from a schedule that ends in, say, late May to the next one that begins in September. 

“If that’s the setup, there’s an adjustment on the other end of the (2021) season,” Harsin said. “Maybe there’s a little more (time) in between.”

SENIORS HANGING OUT TO DRY

There are 20 seniors currently listed on the Boise State roster. This is a wrenching time for those guys. The list includes stars and leaders like Jalen Walker, John Bates, Avery Williams, Kekaula Kaniho and Riley Whimpey. It hit them hard. 

“The disappointment and the reality that this actually happened—they just need a minute,” Harsin said. “Am I done playing football at Boise State? With the current situation, that’s a fair question.” 

Harsin added that the seniors aren’t afraid, and neither is he. 

“I’m going to stay optimistic,” he said. “I think college athletics will take care of the players.”

MOUNTAIN WEST NOT AN ANOMALY

Did the Mountain West jump the gun Monday? Or did it simply realize that—no matter what—too many of its schools won’t be able to afford testing protocols laid down by the NCAA? 

It’s a moot point now, as the Big Ten and the Pac-12 joined the MW and the MAC Tuesday as conferences that will not play football this fall. Now the Mountain West can start comparing notes with other FBS leagues on what a spring season might look like. 

At this moment, three Power 5 and three Group of 5 conferences are hanging on (the SEC is biding its time). The only schools west of the Mississippi that are still alive this fall are BYU and New Mexico State.

HISTORY FOR A HISTORIC TOURNAMENT

When the Albertsons Boise Open tees off Thursday morning, history shall be extended. The tournament is one of only four original events left on the Korn Ferry Tour (born as the Ben Hogan Tour in 1990). Furthermore, Hillcrest Country Club joins Highland Springs Country Club, home of the Price Cutter Charity Championship in Springfield, MO, as the only two courses to host the Korn Ferry Tour in all 31 seasons. 

Of course, history is being made in a different way this year. Not only will there be no fans this week, the COVID-delay of the U.S. Open to September means that the top five players out of the Korn Ferry Finals over the next three weeks will qualify for the Open next month at Winged Foot.

TOWNSEND MOVES ON TO MATCH PLAY

Boise State’s Hugo Townsend posted another solid round at the U.S. Men’s Amateur on the Oregon Coast Tuesday and has advanced to match play. Townsend carded a two-under 70 at Bandon Dunes, tying for 11th in stroke play. The Swedish sophomore will face Michael Feagles of Scottsdale, AZ, a University of Illinois golfer, today in the Round of 64. 

“This is a big deal for Hugo, but this is absolutely who he is,” Broncos head coach Dan Potter said. “Anyone who has seen him play knows that he’s right where he belongs, playing well among the best amateurs in the world.” 

Eagle golfers Graysen Huff and Carson Barry both struggled in Tuesday’s round and missed the cut.

QUICK: WHO IS NICK STARKEL?

It was going around Twitter last night with some GIFs of, well, puzzled faces. San Jose State’s Nick Starkel has been named to the watch list for the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award. It’s a head-scratcher. 

Starkel has never thrown a pass for the Spartans, but he has for Texas A&M and Arkansas. He transferred to SJSU after two seasons with the Razorbacks. In three years as an FBS quarterback, Starkel has thrown for 3,114 yards and 22 touchdowns against 16 interceptions. Ironically, he was the starter for Arkansas when the Spartans stunned the Hogs 31-24 last September in Fayetteville. 

Maybe we’ll see Starkel on the blue turf next spring?

THIS DAY IN SPORTS…August 12, 2015, five years ago today:

Seattle’s Hisashi Iwakuma becomes only the second Japanese pitcher to throw a major league no-hitter when he blanks Baltimore 3-0 at Safeco Field. It was also the first no-hitter by an American Leaguer since teammate Felix Hernandez’s perfect game three years earlier—and it was Iwakuma’s first career complete game. 

The other Japanese pitcher with a no-hitter, Hideo Nomo, did it twice: with the L.A. Dodgers in 1996 and the Boston Red Sox in 2001.

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.

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