BOISE, Idaho — Thursday, August 8, 2019. 

While I was in the KTVB newsroom yesterday, Jay Tust showed me video of a reception made in practice earlier in the day by Boise State wide receiver Octavius Evans.  It was an amazing, falling-down one-handed grab against tight coverage by the Broncos’ top returning cornerback, Avery Williams.  The catch was Cedrick Wilson-esque.  That’s what was expected of Evans last year—when his jersey switched from No. 82 to No. 1—before a high ankle sprain limited him to just two catches in five games.  At the outset of fall camp, coach Bryan Harsin indicated the Boise State staff would ease him into drills after the trials and tribulations of last fall.  But even if the Florida State game was two days away instead of 23, Evans is looking like he could suit up and start.  He has only 17 career catches and two touchdowns, but the expectations are returning.

A DIFFERENT SHADE OF BRONCO

After awarding walk-on Bruno DeRose a scholarship last week, Boise State has one more to give.  Will it go to Ozziah Williams?  The Broncos have added the junior cornerback to their roster, but his status for this season is undetermined.  Williams is from Tampa, FL, and played at Fresno City College before transferring to Western Michigan earlier this year (after the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, of course).  Reportedly, he also had offers from, among others, Maryland and Houston.  Williams, a 5-11, 177-pounder, enrolled early at WMU but transferred after the spring.  So instead of a Bronco in brown, Williams is now a Bronco in blue.

SECONDARY BECOMING A PRIMARY FORCE

Whether or not Williams is eligible this year, Boise State’s secondary is looking to be deeper than anybody thought.  The unit is bolstered first and foremost by the return of safety DeAndre Pierce, who was lost for the year with the lacerated spleen suffered at Wyoming at the end of September.  Pierce’s recovery has been remarkable, considering he couldn’t do any weight room work or football-related drills until January.  But he immersed himself in the film room during his down time and has been able to hit the floor running. 

The wild card is the cornerback spot vacated by Tyler Horton.  Jalen Walker is the favorite there, and he is not lacking experience.  His three career starts were against Oregon in the 2017 Las Vegas Bowl, and at Oklahoma State and Wyoming last season, all in place of an injured Horton.  In those three games combined, Walker compiled 16 tackles and a fumble recovery. 

RYP MIGHT NOT GET A LOOK TONIGHT

When you’re an undrafted free agent, and your primary competition is a second-round pick, let’s just say there’s a built-in disadvantage.  That’s evident as Denver coach Vic Fangio unveiled his plan for tonight’s preseason game against Seattle at CenturyLink Field.  Joe (Flacco) is going to start and play some,” Fangio said after practice Tuesday.  “We’re going to bring in Kevin (Hogan) and he’ll play some.  Drew (Lock) will get a good bit of the rest of it—and Brett Rypien may or may not play in the game.”  Lock, the second-round pick out of Missouri, was 7-of-11 for just 34 yards in the Broncos’ Hall of Fame Game win over Atlanta last Thursday.  Rypien was 5-of-10 for 41 yards and, of course, the winning touchdown

FRESH AIR IN MOSCOW

State Board of Education approval of Idaho’s new athletic director was seen as a layup.  Indeed it was on Wednesday, and now we can see why.  Terry Gawlik, currently the Senior Associate Athletic Director for Sports Administration and Senior Women's Administrator at Wisconsin, will take over the Vandals program September 1st after a tumultuous couple of years.  Gawlik’s hiring means a fresh direction, fresh voice, fresh outlook and fresh vision—and experience in the issues facing college athletics today.  She also heads up a multitude of Title IX and gender equity programs in Madison, just the tonic for a campus that had been embroiled in sexual abuse allegations under former AD Rob Spear. 

IT’S NOT 2014 ANYMORE

We’re coming up on the five-year anniversary of the rebirth of College of Idaho football.  There have been expected growing pains and unexpected successes, but it’s a new world for the Coyotes as they open fall camp on Sunday.  C of I is the pick to win the Frontier Conference.  It’s not where you start but where you finish, of course, but this is quite the compliment for C of I and coach Mike Moroski, who has led the program all five years.  The Yotes are returning all 11 starters on the offensive side of the ball and nine defensive starters.  Camp will be intense—there’ll be less than three weeks to prepare for the season opener August 31 against Eastern Oregon. 

MERRITT HOPES TO EXTEND HIS SEASON

It’s crunch time on the PGA Tour, as the FedExCup Playoffs begin today with the Northern Trust in Jersey City, NJ.  The series has been moved up almost a month this year as the tour completes its new calendar designed to avoid the kickoff of the NFL and college football.  The top 125 in FedExCup standings are eligible for this week’s field (Nos. 126-200 have spots waiting in the Albertsons Boise Open).  PGATour.com projects Merritt, currently ranked No. 72, would need a 29th-place finish or better in The Northern Trust to be among the 70 players who advance to the BMW Championship next week.  He missed the cut last week at the Wyndham Championship, the last event of the regular season.

This Day In Sports…August 8, 2006:

Roger Goodell is chosen as the NFL’s next commissioner, succeeding Paul Tagliabue.  Goodell was unanimously elected by the league’s 32 owners on the fifth ballot.  He has been a polarizing figure, but most commissioners are.  Goodell has navigated the NFL through Spygate, Bountygate and Deflategate, as well as high-profile player suspensions, player safety concerns, and one lockout.  Goodell, considered the most powerful man in sports, began his NFL administrative career as an intern in 1982.

(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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