BOISE, Idaho — Monday, August 19, 2019.
In most years, Boise State releases a preseason depth chart. It gives us hints as to how the pecking order will go, and it serves as a conversation piece at the very least. The Broncos did not do that this year, probably because the word “or” would have been worn out. As in, Chase Cord “or” Hank Bachmeier “or” Jaylon Henderson at quarterback. Before fall camp, coach Bryan Harsin had estimated it would be about 10 days before the season opener versus Florida State that he would name his starting QB. That would be Wednesday. Harsin said after Boise State’s second scrimmage of fall camp Friday night that it might be Tuesday, “or” Wednesday, “or” next week. “It’s a tough one,” Harsin said. “It’s not like somebody’s running away with it.”
We read between the lines a lot at this time of year, but based on Harsin’s comments Friday night, if Bachmeier is named the starter, it won’t be because Cord’s recovery from last October’s ACL year is still a concern. “He took all his reps—there were no limitations on his reps tonight,” said Harsin of Cord. “Which is good. He looks good.” Does Harsin have an inclination of who his guy will be? “I did, until tonight,” he said. So we’re left to wonder. Had Bachmeier bowled ‘em over during fall camp, followed by a boffo performance by Cord Friday night? Or was it the other way around? We talked about this on Sunday Sports Extra: why even name a starter publicly before the Broncos take the field against Florida State? With everything so new under center, the less the Seminoles know, the better.
PICK A NAME, ANY NAME
It doesn’t really matter if Boise State names its starting running back. That may just be a placeholder until one guy gets in a rhythm. If it’s going to be a committee, the Broncos need three, and it would appear to be narrowed down to Andrew Van Buren, Robert Mahone and George Holani. But Harsin made a point Friday night of mentioning redshirt freshman Danny Smith, who is “cleared from this point forward” after dealing with injuries. Harsin said now it’s a matter of Smith getting into playing shape. As for the rest of the backs? “George Holani has had a really good camp,” said Harsin. “He’s in the mix. He was worked (periodically) with the first team throughout camp.”
NOT AS MUCH DRAMA FOR THE ‘NOLES
It’s looking highly likely that James Blackman will be the starting quarterback when Florida State heads out for its first series against Boise State a week from this Saturday. Tashan Reed, the FSU beat writer for The Athletic, said Friday on Idaho SportsTalk that Blackman “has a pretty solid lead” in the Seminoles’ QB battle. “He seems to be a step ahead of Alex Hornbrook,” said Reed. Hornbrook is the graduate transfer from Wisconsin. Blackman’s going to be quite a sight out there. He is 6-5, 185 pounds and is nicknamed the “Slim Reaper.” Blackman appeared in four games with one start last year and was 33-of-51 for 510 yards and five touchdowns.
RYPIEN’S LATERAL TRAJECTORY
We never wanted to compare Brett Rypien to Boise State great Kellen Moore the past four years, because it was patently unfair. But how about this comparison? Is Rypien’s NFL journey is shaping up much like Moore’s in Detroit in 2012? The practice squad wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world, though. Rypien didn’t play in Denver’s loss at Seattle nine days ago. Now we’ll see what MNPF (Monday Night Preseason Football) holds, as the Broncos host San Francisco. He’s keeping his head up, anyway. “It’s been good so far. I think I’ve been playing well,” Rypien told the Spokane Spokesman-Review after the game against the Seahawks. “I like this whole organization and coaching staff. I’ve learned a lot, but I think I’m getting better every single day.” Will Denver let him show it on the field tonight?
KELLEN’S PROPER BAROMETER
In his second preseason game as Dallas offensive coordinator, Kellen Moore shouldn’t be judged on any more than the Cowboys’ first possession against the L.A. Rams Saturday in Honolulu. In his only drive of the game, Dak Prescott went 5-for-5 as he marched Dallas 97 yards in 12 plays for a touchdown. Moore’s offense was victimized once by a former Bronco, though, as Donte Deacon came down with a nice interception. The Cowboys went on to win 14-10. Elsewhere, Alexander Mattison is looking like a mainline running back for Minnesota. Mattison played only the first half, logging 41 yards on 10 carries, including a 22-yarder, in the Vikings 25-19 Sunday night win over the Seahawks. The play of the weekend came from Jeremy McNichols in Tennessee’s 22-17 loss to New England. McNichols flipped skyward over the pylon and scored on a 15-yard pass from Ryan Tannehill.
MERRITT’S DONE – BOISE OPEN IS HERE
Troy Merritt wrapped up his 2018-19 PGA Tour season with a six-under 66 Sunday to tie for 43rd at the BMW Championship in Medinah, IL. The bogey-free round was a nice recovery from the 76 the former Boise State star shot on Friday. Merritt earned $30,525 for his efforts. Local golf attention now turns to the 30th annual Albertsons Boise Open that tees off Thursday at Hillcrest Country Club, the second leg of the Korn Ferry (formerly Web.com) Tour Finals. The first stage, the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship in Columbus, OH, was won Sunday by Scottie Scheffler. The former Texas Longhorn had already secured his PGA Tour card for next season by finishing the regular season No. 3 on the Korn Ferry money list.
HAWKS REMAIN WOEFUL ON THE ROAD
The Boise Hawks scored two runs in the fifth inning on Sunday. Vancouver scored three in the sixth, and that was it, as the Canadians posted a 3-2 win at Nat Bailey Stadium. The Hawks won the first game of their marathon Western Idaho Fair road trip, but they’ve lost the last four—two in Hillsboro and two in Vancouver. Boise is an anemic 5-22 on the road this season.
This Day In Sports…August 19, 1992:
Rookie second baseman Bret Boone, grandson of Ray Boone and son of Bob Boone, becomes the first third-generation major leaguer when he breaks in for the Mariners against the Baltimore Orioles at Camden Yards. Bret had a hit, an RBI, and two runs in his debut as the M’s won, 10-8. Boone returned to Seattle in 2001, leading the M’s to their best season ever with 116 wins. But less than four years later, with his numbers in a steep decline, the Mariners cut him loose. Boone finished the 2005 season with the Twins and retired the next spring.
(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.)