The month of September had twists and turns for Boise State even before this season began. The Broncos knew they’d be faced with taking on Mike Leach’s Air Raid at Washington State—and then turning it around five days later against the team that led the nation in rushing last season, New Mexico. But is the short week a positive? “Maybe the good thing is we play Boise State Thursday,” Lobos coach Bob Davie said after Saturday’s 30-28 loss to rival New Mexico State. New Mexico players echoed that sentiment. Bryan Harsin feels his players want to get back on the field just as badly after the Wazzu disappointment. “Yeah, I think they do,” said Harsin yesterday. “Coaches and fans can let it sting a little bit. They can think about the what-ifs. Players, they don’t have time for that. That game is over. They’re on to New Mexico.”
Brett Rypien is still listed as Boise State’s starting quarterback, but whether or not he’ll play against New Mexico Thursday night is anyone’s guess. “We’ll know throughout the week,” Harsin said. “What happened to Brett? He got hit,” said Harsin of the vicious (but clean) shot the junior quarterback took at Washington State. “It was a protection issue.” It could be concussion protocol, or a shoulder or ribs. Harsin isn’t saying. He did acknowledge that true freshman Chase Cord will be getting a lot of reps this week just in case. “When Brett went down, Chase was ready to play,” Harsin said of Cord’s eagerness to get in there. As far as Montell Cozart’s misfortune in the fourth quarter goes, Harsin said he doesn’t want him to change the way he plays. “It’s really not shutting it down—it’s making good decisions,” Harsin said.
Harsin remains supportive of the Boise State offensive line, saying it improved as the game progressed against Washington State. “I like where we’re at—I like their demeanor on the sidelines,” said Harsin. “We just need to start faster.” Former Bronco and Green Bay Super Bowl winner Daryn Colledge had another view yesterday on Idaho SportsTalk. Colledge said he could tell what the Cougars would do. “They shifted their defensive line in mid-cadence, and Boise State had trouble picking it up,” said Colledge. The ESPN crew Saturday night contended that the Broncos weren’t communicating well on the O-line and weren’t adjusting to counter Hercules Mata’afa and company. Some consolation for the future: Boise State has received a commitment from standout center Kekaniokoa Gonzalez of SoCal power Mater Dei.
Cedrick Wilson’s supporting cast still hasn’t taken center stage at wide receiver. And now the group is one man thinner after it was revealed that Akilian Butler has been lost for the season with a torn ACL. Butler, who played as a true freshman two years ago, does have a redshirt year available. Now, about those colleagues. Wilson had an impactful nine catches for 147 yards and two touchdowns in Pullman. A.J. Richardson made three grabs for 22 yards, Sean Modster had one for seven, and Butler one for minus-one. Did I mention Thomas Sperbeck isn’t around? The tight end spot is still strong, but not nearly as deep as it was a month ago. Chase Blakley was injured on the third possession of the game at WSU and is not listed on the depth chart this week. The only mainstays now are Jake Roh and Alec Dhaenens.
There are lots of quarterback questions after Week 2, not only at Boise State. New Mexico’s fifth-year senior, Lamar Jordan, was pulled midway through the third quarter against New Mexico State Saturday night in favor of redshirt freshman Tevaka Tuioti, who rallied the Lobos from a 25-point deficit to the final margin of two. At Nevada, coach Jay Norvell is replacing Ty Gangi with true freshman Kaymen Cureton as starting quarterback for this Saturday’s game against Idaho State. Norvell wants more production in the Wolf Pack passing attack—Gangi has completed just 47 percent of his throws through the first two games.
We don’t know how former Boise State standout Rees Odhiambo graded out in his first NFL start at left tackle for Seattle Sunday, but don’t expect it to be especially good. “Green Bay’s defensive front simply dominated Seattle in holding the Seahawks to 225 yards, fewer than any game for the Seahawks last season,” wrote the Seattle Times under a photo of Odhiambo helping up quarterback Russell Wilson after a sack. The story didn’t single out Odhiambo, but Seattle allowed four sacks and had only one first down until its final drive of the first half in the 17-9 loss to the Packers.
Adam Stanley of PGATour.com has zeroed in on 10 players to watch in this week’s Albertsons Boise Open, the second leg of the Web.com Tour Finals at Hillcrest Country Club. Two of them are veterans of the big circuit, Hunter Mahan and Ben Crane. “The reinvigorated Mahan finished tied for 13th (at the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship) in Columbus as he began his quest to better his PGA Tour status via the Finals,” writes Stanley. “The six-time Tour winner finished outside the top 125 on the FedExCup for the first time.” Crane, a five-time winner on the PGA Tour, is another veteran in the Web.com Tour Finals for the first time and is resurgent himself. “Crane embraced the challenge two weeks ago in Columbus and finished tied for sixth,” notes Stanley.
Nick Symmonds, the six-time U.S. 800-meters champion, retired after the USA Championships in June. It wasn’t clear at that time what the Bishop Kelly grad’s next move would be. After all, Symmonds has long been an activist for athletes’ rights. Well, on his Facebook page, Symmonds has posted an emotional video about coming home to Boise. The intro: “When I was young, I couldn’t wait to leave home. When I became a professional runner, I looked forward to the trips that took me as far away as possible from home. Now—I realize that in order to know what home is, you have to leave it. Home for me was and always will be Boise, Idaho. Here is a film about going home.” Check it out. You’ll be proud of him.
Two more former Boise Hawks have made their major league debuts via September callups. Pitcher Dillon Maples, a 2014 Hawk, has made three appearances for the Chicago Cubs. Close your eyes, though—he’s allowed six earned runs in 2 1/3 innings for a jaw-dropping ERA of 23.14. Maples was good in Boise, going 5-2 with a 2.14 ERA in 10 starts. Outfielder Jacob Hannemann debuted for the Mariners on Saturday, going 0-for-1 against the L.A. Angels. Hannemann played 14 games for the Hawks in 2013, batting .290. Maples and Hannemann are the 127th and 128th former Hawks to make the bigs.
This Day In Sports…September 12, 1999:
The reincarnation of the Cleveland Browns franchise makes its debut, suffering a 41-0 rout at the hands of the Pittsburgh Steelers. It was three years after the original Browns, a fixture in Cleveland for 50 years, were moved to Baltimore by the late Art Modell and became the Ravens. This new version of the Browns was an expansion team, though it used the same basic uniforms and color scheme. (With the same basic results.)
(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.)