I’m taking a time-out today from the battle for the starting cornerback spots at Boise State to talk about one of the top backups. While Markel Reed and Tyric LeBeauf run with the first unit right now, coach Andy Avalos said that duo is being pushed by Damon Cole and Caleb Biggers. Nothing would be more pleasing than to see Cole become a significant contributor as a fifth-year senior. He joined the Broncos as a wide receiver in 2017, but—stuck behind John Hightower, Khalil Shakir and CT Thomas in 2019—Cole moved to cornerback in fall camp. He didn’t see any action that season, though. He played in five of seven games last season and made two tackles. All things considered, Cole would have been seen as a textbook candidate for the transfer portal. But he has stuck with it at Boise State. Here’s hoping there’s a payoff.
DIFFERENCE IN THE D-LINE IS DEPTH
Remember last year when—due primarily to COVID—Boise State ran out of defensive linemen and had to borrow Ben Dooley from the O-line? Well, Dooley is just not available this season, as he’s a projected starter at right tackle on offense. And it doesn’t matter, as it appears the Broncos are flush with D-linemen now. They may even have enough for “two waves,” like the old days. “We’re going to rotate a lot, which means I won’t have to play 75 snaps anymore,” said defensive end Shane Irwin. With Irwin lining up next to Scott Matlock, Scale Igiehon and Demitri Washington, and with Divine Obichere, Jackson Cravens, Keeghan Freeborn and Isaiah Bagnah waiting in the wings, this group is poised to be the strength of the defense.
BUMP IN THE UCF RUNNING GAME ROAD
UCF produced the nation’s No. 2 offense last year, averaging 568 yards per game. Dillon Gabriel’s arm was responsible for a lot of that, but the running attack still churned out 210 yards per outing. Now that’s an area of concern for the Knights. Matt Murschel of the Orlando Sentinel was a guest on Idaho SportsTalk Tuesday and reported that RJ Harvey, a contender for UCF’s starting running back spot, was lost for the season over the weekend with a torn ACL in practice (in a non-contact drill). The Knights’ most experienced returning back, senior Bentavious Thomspon, left the program two weeks ago. That could mean Gabriel will be flinging it even more two weeks from Thursday night in Orlando.
DEFENDING CHAMP COMES IN ON TOP
Stephan Jaeger won the Albertsons Boise Open last August, which under normal circumstances would have propelled him onto the PGA Tour. But last year was not normal. The Korn Ferry Tour combined the 2020 and 2021 seasons, so Jaeger was still relegated to that circuit this year. The Albertsons Boise Open victory did get him into the delayed U.S. Open last September, though, and he finished tied for 34th at Winged Foot. This season, Jaeger was the star of the Korn Ferry show. He was the top money-winner on the tour and returns to Boise to defend his championship with PGA Tour card in hand.
Jaeger has two victories (including Hillcrest last year) and 11 top 10 finishes, with earnings of $644,053. The 32-year-old native of Munich, Germany, has a chance to make history this week; no player in the Korn Ferry Tour’s 32-year history has successfully defended his title. Also, a win would be his seventh on the Korn Ferry, matching the all-time record currently held by Jason Gore. The Boise Open tees off Thursday morning.
WILL JESSUP GET TO CAMP?
Justinian Jessup saved his best for last at the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas Tuesday night. The Boise State product led Golden State with 18 points, going 6-for-12 from the field and 4-for-7 from three-point range in 32 minutes in an 84-76 loss to the L.A. Lakers. It wasn’t memorable for the Warriors, as the Lakers rallied from a 17-point deficit to win it. Fellow former Bronco Derrick Alston Jr. played 20 minutes and scored four points with five rebounds. Jessup appears to be in good position for a training camp spot. It’s a long shot for Alston.
HAWKS TO MISSOULA + NETMINDER NO. 1
The Boise Hawks hope to get off the schneid tonight as they open a three-game series at Missoula. The first-place Hawks are 16-11 in the Pioneer League second half and have won three in a row, but they’re 0-9 this season against the Paddleheads. And the Idaho Steelheads have signed their first goaltender for the upcoming season. Jake Kupsky is back after making his ECHL debut with the Steelheads in 2019-20, playing two games and going 1-1. Kupsky played 12 games in the ECHL last season with South Carolina and Greenville.
This Day In Sports…brought to you by ZAMZOWS…Nobody Knows Like Zamzows!
August 18, 2009: The wounds have healed now, but on this day future Hall of Famer Brett Favre shocks the Green Bay Packers’ universe by signing a two-year, $25 million deal with the rival Minnesota Vikings. That came six months after Favre tearfully announced his retirement from the New York Jets, the team for which he played one season following his first retirement from the Packers. As recently as three weeks before the Vikings deal, Favre had vowed he would never return to the gridiron. He played his final two seasons in Minnesota.
(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.)