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Boise State football: Hitting home for the Broncos

Boise media thought they were done with Zac Alley’s Zoom interview Tuesday—until the Boise State assistant coach added an addendum.
Credit: Steve Conner AP Images
Boise State takes the field against Air Force, Friday, Sept. 20, 2019, in Boise, Idaho. Boise State won 30-19.

BOISE, Idaho — Boise State outside linebackers coach Zac Alley was a living, breathing public service announcement on Tuesday. Out of the blue at the end of his media session, Alley shared that he had tested positive for coronavirus, was hospitalized for a day, and is just about back to normal. It’s the first known case in the Boise State athletics department. Alley, yet to turn 30 years old, assures you that you don’t want to get it. “Every breath was like stickin’ a knife through your ribs,” he said. “As a healthy young person, I didn’t think it would affect me like it did. My health deteriorated so fast.” Alley said his condition was confirmed a week ago after he lost his sense of smell, had shortness of breath and experienced “one of the worst pains I’ve ever felt in my life.” Alley is symptom-free now. He implores people to stay home.

VEGAS ISN’T ALL-IDLE

Oddsmakers in Las Vegas aren’t completely on hiatus right now. You may have heard that FoxBet has Boise State as a 1.5-point favorite over Florida State in September and a six-point favorite over BYU in November. Caesars Entertainment unveiled its projected Mountain West win totals the other day. The Broncos are tops at 9½, followed closely by Mountain Division rival Air Force at 8½. The leader in the West Division is San Diego State with a predicted total of eight wins. Utah State, at five victories, is forecast to have a losing season. The surprise is San Jose State at 5½. Then again, maybe not. The Spartans were 5-7 last season and missed bowl eligibility when they lost by two points at Hawaii and three at UNLV in November. They visit the blue turf October 3.

DRAFT ABSENCES

Michael Middlehurst-Schwartz has updated USA Today’s mock draft (first round only). Boise State’s Curtis Weaver is not there, nor is surging teammate Ezra Cleveland. But the much-discussed Jordan Love is. In this mock, the Utah State quarterback goes to Jacksonville with the 20th overall pick. “Time for Jacksonville to get realistic about its rebuild,” writes Middlehurst-Schwartz. “Much as the returning regime might like to spur a quick turnaround by using this pick to address one of the organization's many defensive deficiencies, quick fixes won't be readily available. A talented but erratic passer, Love is worth the risk for a Jaguars team that can't be certain Gardner Minshew is its quarterback of the future.” Touché on the ‘stache.

PRESENT AND ACCOUNTED FOR DOWN THE LINE

Neither Weaver nor Cleveland are first-rounders in the CBSSports.com mock draft, either, but that list covers all seven rounds. Ryan Wilson pegs Cleveland as the fifth pick in the second round, going to the L.A. Chargers. Weaver isn’t predicted to go until the third round to…the Dallas Cowboys. That’s quite a slide from his first-round status of a couple months ago, but how fitting would it be for Weaver to be a Cowboy? And former Boise State wide receiver John Hightower is seen as a fourth round pick for Jacksonville.

ZACH WILSON’S WEIRD BAGGAGE FROM THE BLUE TURF

Boise State and BYU are scheduled to play on November 6 in Albertsons Stadium. Is there any way—barring injury—that Zach Wilson won’t be quarterbacking the Cougars? The Deseret News is still talking about a QB competition, and the BYU coaching staff apparently is still insisting it’s up in the air. “If BYU coach Kalani Sitake, offensive coordinator Jeff Grimes and quarterbacks coach Aaron Roderick were to release a post-spring depth chart any time soon, here’s what it would look like at quarterback: Zach Wilson or Jaren Hall or Baylor Romney,” writes Jay Drew. Really.

“The bowl game his freshman year, the so-called perfect bowl game, might have been the worst thing that ever happened to (Wilson),” Roderick told 1280 The Zone in Salt Lake City last Wednesday. Wilson tied an NCAA record by completing 18 of 18 passes for 317 yards and four touchdowns in the 49-18 win over Western Michigan in the 2018 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl. “He played a great game and it was good for our program because BYU hadn’t been in a bowl game for a year,” Roderick said. “But it created an expectation that was unfair and unrealistic for anyone, but especially for a kid who was only a freshman and had only played five games.”

THIS DAY IN SPORTS…April 8, 1974:

In a game plugged into national prime time TV, Hank Aaron of the Atlanta Braves hits the 715th home run of his career to break Babe Ruth’s record. Al Downing of the Dodgers served it up, and it flew over the head of a future Boisean in leftfield, the late Bill Buckner. It would be Aaron’s final season with the Braves, as he would finish his career the following year with the Brewers in Milwaukee, former home of the Braves. Hammerin’ Hank’s homer record, of course, ended up at 755, and it lasted 33 years until the infamous Barry Bonds eclipsed it in 2007.

(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.)