One thing is certain, at least early in the season: the Boise State defense will have the ability to stay fresh, especially on the defensive line and at safety. And that will be huge with hot, humid trips to Troy and Oklahoma State coming up. On the D-line, the Broncos can get back to the days when they’d essentially rotate in two sets of starters: David Moa, Sonatane Lui, Chase Hatada and Emmanuel Fesili on the inside, and Curtis Weaver, Jabril Frazier, Durrant Miles and Sam Whitney on the outside (not forgetting Matt Locher). Just two years ago, there was basically one set of defensive linemen as the season progressed, and that unit was flat-out worn down by the time it had to face Baylor in the Cactus Bowl.
At the outset of fall camp, defensive coordinator Andy Avalos singled out not only Tyreque Jones as a player to watch, but also Jordan Happle and Evan Tyler. All three are safeties. We’ve talked about Jones and Tyler. Remember that that the last time we saw Happle in a game, he produced the biggest play yet of his young career, the leaping interception during the Boise State defense’s dominant first half against Oregon in the Las Vegas Bowl. (And remember that he has his dad’s buddy, Mark Wahlberg, in his corner.) If you consider Kekaula Kaniho a safety as opposed to a nickel, and throw his name into the mix that includes starters Kekoa Nawahine and DeAndre Pierce, well, imagine the different looks the Broncos can throw at opposing offenses.
There was a guy who played for Troy on the blue turf last year you may not have noticed. And when Boise State visits the Trojans a week from Saturday, you’ll have to keep your eyes peeled for him. But Troy starting long-snapper Cameron Kaye has gone viral in the past week. Coaches have gotten more creative every year in surprising walk-ons with scholarships, but I’ve never seen one delivered by a player’s mom before. Trojans coach Neal Brown brought Kaye’s mom on the field last Friday night after practice holding scholarship papers. Mom tried to keep a straight face while Brown made the announcement. Kaye’s reaction was everything you’d expect. Watch for a content—albeit focused—No. 74 on September 1 (hopefully you have access to ESPNews).
Colorado State coach Mike Bobo remains in a Denver area hospital, undergoing diagnostic testing to try to pinpoint the source of the nerve damage causing soreness in his feet. And it’s four days until kickoff for Bobo’s Rams, as they host Hawaii in one of the four Week Zero games involving FBS schools on Saturday. He’s been hospitalized since August 11. CSU and the Rainbow Warriors, meeting in the earliest conference game in Mountain West history, will play on CBS Sports Network. Wyoming also opens Saturday, getting an ESPN2 date with New Mexico State in Las Cruces. Those two contests are the only nationally-televised games of the weekend.
It’s already game week for College of Idaho. The Coyotes, coming off their first winning season since the revival of football in 2014, get started Saturday with the I-84 Rivalry at Eastern Oregon. Part of the story for the Yotes Saturday will be on the sidelines, as two former NFL players make their C of I coaching debuts. The offensive line coach is Nate Potter, the Timberline High grad who went on to be named a consensus All-American at Boise State and played for the Arizona Cardinals, while defensive backs coach Shiloh Keo was an All-WAC safety at Idaho and won a Super Bowl ring with the Denver Broncos.
What? You don’t think there’s enough former Boise State Broncos on the Dallas Cowboys’ roster? Make room for one more. Jeron Johnson worked out with the Cowboys on Monday and was signed by the team yesterday. That’s quite an accomplishment for Johnson, who hasn’t played in the NFL since he was cut by Jacksonville just before last season started. The veteran safety and special teams player spent six seasons with Seattle and was part of the Seahawks squad that won Super Bowl XLVIII. Johnson, who has 40 career tackles and two sacks, joins Leighton Vander Esch, DeMarcus Lawrence and Tyrone Crawford on the Dallas roster (Cedrick Wilson is on injured reserve). Oh, and better not forget Coach Kellen.
Hamstrings-R-Us for former Boise State stars in the Big Apple. Neither Darian Thompson nor Donte Deayon was active in Preseason Week 2 for the New York Giants against Detroit. Thompson injured his hamstring during the team’s first preseason game and it apparently didn’t improve enough for him to get back on the field. At any rate, it appears Thompson is headed for a backup role this season. For Deayon, the timing of his hamstring problem couldn’t have been worse. The injury happened July 29 after he had been turning heads in training camp. The good news—Deayon is back on the practice field this week and picking up where he left off. But does he have enough time left to play his way onto the 53-man roster?
The drama for the Boise Hawks now is: winning season or no winning season? After last night’s 9-6 come-from-ahead loss at Salem-Keizer that saw the Volcanoes produce a four-run eighth inning, Boise has to go 9-3 the rest of the way to end up above .500. The Hawks haven’t had a winning season since 2014, when current Boise State baseball coach Gary Van Tol was manager during the Cubs affiliation era. They just missed a winning record last year, going 37-39.
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August 22, 1993, 25 years ago today: University of Washington head coach Don James resigns after 18 years at the helm in protest over harsh sanctions imposed on the Husky program by the Pac-10. Despite the fact that the Huskies turned themselves in over preferential treatment of players, the conference placed them on two years’ probation with no bowl games and took away a year’s TV money. James was aghast—and abruptly retired with more Pac-10 wins than anyone in history.
(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.)