BOISE, Idaho — Wednesday, August 14, 2019.
Boise State needs to throw the kitchen sink at Florida State in 2½ weeks. And with a new quarterback and new running back, creativity is in order. So what’s in the sink this year? Trickeration is just part of the Broncos’ playbook, but when it’s in the passing game, it’s almost exclusively throws from wide receivers. In the Bryan Harsin era, all but one non-quarterback pass has come from wideouts, who are 16-of-25 for 381 yards and eight touchdowns. That’s pretty darn efficient. Thomas Sperbeck was 8-of-12 for 181 yards and four TDs in his career. But Boise State hasn’t scored on a gadget pass the past two years, going 4-of-8 for 56 yards.
May I suggest the tight end pass? Consider this. Variety has been the spice of Garrett Collingham’s football life. The former Mountain View standout has played five positions at Boise State, finally settling in at tight end. His first touchdown as a Bronco came on a run last season. His second was on a catch, a rather important one in the win over Utah State. Now that Collingham’s a key ingredient in the Broncos’ tight ends rotation, can a touchdown pass be far behind? He played quarterback in high school for the Mavericks, throwing for 1,655 yards and 12 TDs as a senior. Collingham hasn’t forgotten how to throw, and he’s comfortable in just about any formation. Just sayin’.
TWEAKIN’ THE THERMOSTAT
The big news from Boise State fall camp Tuesday came out of the Caven-Williams Sports Complex, the indoor facility. The doors were closed, the heat was cranked, and the field was watered down (as were the players), creating maximum humidity in an effort to replicate the conditions they’ll see on Labor Day weekend in Jacksonville. This is not a new exercise. The Broncos worked that routine just last year, preparing for their trip to Troy, AL, where they beat the Troy Trojans 56-20. Boise State also created the same sweatbox in 2016 before beating Louisiana-Lafayette 45-10 on an oppressively hot day. And the Broncos used the tactic nine years ago before their monumental win over Virginia Tech In Landover, MD. It may or may not work against Florida State, but it’s worth a try.
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CREATING A CORRAL FOR COUSINS
Alexander Mattison earned the praise of Minnesota coach Mike Zimmer after the Vikings’ win at New Orleans last Friday, with an asterisk. “I think Mattison’s got a really bright future,” Zimmer said, reflecting on the former Boise State star’s 30 rushing yards and touchdown catch. But Zimmer stressed that Mattison needs to work on his pass-protection, something that was a strength of his as a Bronco. Mattison gets it. “I’m not the person to ever be satisfied, so I know that there’s a lot more, way more, that I can be on top of,” he said. “But I’m definitely starting to get comfortable with the base stuff and starting to branch out into different things. I’m just trying to work at it every day.”
EXPERIENCE IN PURPLE
Teejay Gordon was the flashy and effective icebreaker when College of Idaho reinstated its football program five years ago. Darius-James Peterson succeeded Gordon at quarterback in 2016, and it’s DJP who’s now poised to lead the Coyotes into uncharted territory. The Yotes opened fall camp Sunday as the favorite to win the Frontier Conference, largely because all 11 starters return on offense. None is more important than Peterson, who is already C of I’s career leader in total offense with 7,164 yards—an amazing 2,681 of them on the ground. He scored 13 rushing touchdowns last season alone. Peterson’s going to be something to watch as a senior.
On the pro sports front, Colton Saucerman has re-signed with the Idaho Steelheads for the 2019-20 season. If Saucerman still has his massive red beard, all will be right with the world. The 27-year-old defenseman played 10 games for the Steelheads last season, metting three goals and five assists with one power play goal and one shorthanded goal. And Spokane finished a sweep of the Boise Hawks last night at Memorial Stadium. The visitors snapped a 1-1 tie by scratching out two runs in the top of the sixth inning and won 3-1. The Hawks, who have lost seven of their last nine games, now embark on one of their longest Western Idaho Fair road trips ever, a 16-game marathon that will keep them away until August 31.
The first Boise State athletic squad to hit the field will be the women’s soccer team a week from Friday, and the Broncos will go into the season as the Mountain West favorites. For the first time in program history, Boise State is the pick to finish first in the MW Preseason Coaches' Poll. The Broncos, who captured a share of the 2018 regular-season title, are led by reigning Mountain West Offensive Player of the Year Raimee Sherle. And the new Boise State baseball program has added invaluable experience in the form of its first graduate transfer. Lefthander Jordan Britton will join the Broncos this fall after playing at Oregon State for three years, including the Beavers’ national championship season in 2018. Britton, a native of Caldwell, appeared in 31 career games, going 4-2 with a 3.63 ERA.
OSTROM ON A BIGGER STAGE
It looks like Meridian’s Hunter Ostrom will miss the cut at the U.S. Men’s Amateur Championship in Pinehurst, NC. The Notre Dame senior was seven-over in stroke play when play was suspended late Tuesday with 17 players still on the course. The cut is projected at five-over, with the top 64 advancing to match play. Ostrom finished second to Eagle’s Carson Barry in the Idaho Men’s Amateur at BanBury last month.
This Day In Sports…August 14, 1959:
The birthday of a player who helped change the trajectory of both college basketball and the NBA. As a sophomore at Michigan State, Earvin “Magic” Johnson led the Spartans to the national championship, ending with an iconic final against Indiana State star and future Magic rival Larry Bird. Johnson went on to play 13 seasons with the L.A. Lakers and was one of the most popular figures in NBA history. He was later an executive and part-owner with the Lakers. Magic’s 1991 announcement that he was HIV-positive was widely commended for dispelling the notion that it was just a “gay disease.” Magic Johnson…60 years old today.
(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.)