BOISE, Idaho — Wednesday, March 18, 2020.
The Mountain West has finally directed all schools to “all organized team athletically-related activities” (read: Boise State spring football) until at least March 29. So here are some of the areas that will require cram sessions during fall camp (unless spring ball is miraculously revived the first of April). The Broncos only got three practices in before the initial shutdown. First, quarterback Hank Bachmeier’s all-reps-all-the-time advantage this spring has been neutralized. If Chase Cord recovers from his various maladies in time, there could be a real QB competition in August. This was going to be a valuable five weeks for Bachmeier, who was concentrating on a quicker delivery and decision-making.
Second, the offensive line will have to take shape in the summer instead of the spring. That will help Donte Harrington, the versatile senior who’ll try to break through into the starting lineup. Harrington would have been limited this spring. He missed all of the 2019 season after tearing his ACL during conditioning the previous winter. Third, the blank canvas known as the Boise State defensive line will provide no new personnel hints until fall camp. Not even the imposing and talented Scale Igiehon is inked in at tackle right now.
LINDER LANDS IN LARAMIE
We wondered last week if Wyoming would go this route. Good on the Cowboys, as they have hired Jeff Linder as their new men’s basketball coach. Linder was in Boise a week ago for the Big Sky Tournament as he coached Northern Colorado, where he went 80-50 from 2016-20, including 20 wins in each of the past three seasons. He was one of Leon Rice’s first hires at Boise State and spent six seasons with the Broncos. Linder was Big Sky Coach of the Year last season and let the Bears to the College Invitational Tournament championship two seasons ago.
It was strange seeing Rice’s one-time associate head coach Dave Wojcik leading San Jose State against Boise State when he roamed the Spartans bench from 2013-17. But that was SJSU. Linder will be an even more unusual (and challenging) sight, as Wyoming is much more of a rival and has a lot more hoops upside after faltering under recently-fired coach Allen Edwards. Linder will be a tough out with the Pokes.
WE CAN DO NCAA REMINISCING, CAN’T WE?
What were we talking about two years ago right now? This was the day Nevada staged the second-biggest comeback in NCAA Tournament history to beat Cincinnati 75-73 in the second round and advance to the Sweet 16. The Wolf Pack trailed by 22 points with less than 11 minutes remaining before ending the game on a 32-8 run. Josh Hall scored the winning basket on a rebound and putback with nine seconds left. It was the only lead of the game for the Wolf Pack, who had rallied from 14 points down two days earlier in an 87-83 overtime win in the first round against Texas. The Pack’s postseason run finally ended with a 69-68 loss to Loyola-Chicago—and Sister Jean, y’know—in the Sweet 16.
SUSTAINING THE HIGH-OCTANE
Brian Taylor knows how it works at College of Idaho. As wide receivers coach, Taylor was an integral part of the Yotes’ 11-1 season and journey to the NAIA quarterfinals last fall. So it was only natural that coach Mike Moroski elevated Taylor to offensive coordinator Tuesday to replace Mike Cody, who’s now the assistant offensive line coach at UC Davis. C of I set a school record last season with 2,486 yards and 23 touchdowns through the air and had two All-Frontier Conference wideouts, Hunter Juarez and Connor Richardson. Taylor has been on Moroski’s staff since 2017.
THIS DAY IN SPORTS…March 18, 2015, five years ago today:
A quirk in the NCAA Tournament selection process places Boise State in the First Four in Dayton—against Dayton. The Broncos and Flyers were the last two at-large teams picked and were No. 11 seeds in the East Region. With Dayton the pre-determined host site for the play-in round, Boise State was forced to play the first true road game in the NCAA Tournament in 28 years, in front of a First Four record 12,952 fans. The Broncos led by 12 points in the first half and nine in the second half, but the Flyers won it 56-55 on a three-pointer with 35 seconds left. BSU’s Derrick Marks led all scorers with 23 points in his final game.
(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.)