In 2020, fall camp is really “fall camp.” And it started Saturday morning at Boise State. On a scale of 1 to 12 (representing the number of teams in the Mountain West), how far along are the Broncos in preparing for the season? Leading the pack is Air Force, which has been practicing since August 24 and has a game this Saturday against Navy. Of course, an estimated 40 “turnbacks,” players opting out of the semester at the academy, may offset that advantage. At the other end of the spectrum is Fresno State, whose players just began gathering at the end of last week. Boise State has been together most of the summer with conditioning and NCAA-approved drills. “We’ve done more football in the summertime than we’ve ever done,” said coach Bryan Harsin. The Broncos are at the upper end of the scale.
THE SHRINKING RUNNING BACKS ROOM
Now we finally talk about real Boise State football things again, and we hit the reset button by going straight to a position group in the news. Robert Mahone entered the transfer portal late last week, an understandable move considering the difficulty he’s had gaining traction as a contributor and his off-the-field problems. So, on paper, Andrew van Buren is now the clear No. 2 back behind starter George Holani. And sophomore Danny Smith gets a second chance to make a mark. Smith played in only three games as a redshirt freshman, rushing eight times for 31 yards. Coach Bryan Harsin announced Friday that transfer running back Taequan Tyler from Tyler Junior College in Texas is out for the season after an Achilles tear this summer.
THE ‘C’ FACTOR IS STILL THERE
That the coronavirus is still hanging over everyone’s head is a given. “Are you going to be without a guy here and there? Absolutely,” said coach Bryan Harsin. “Every guy on your team needs to be ready to play.”There should be extra focus on every rep. There’s also legitimate rust for the Broncos to knock off. Mike Prater pointed out on KTIK that the Broncos haven’t done any tackling since the last play of the Las Vegas Bowl loss to Washington right before Christmas. That’s important. “We all saw what happened with Navy against BYU,” Harsin said.
SAVING A BIG ENCHILADA
Speaking of BYU, one of the most surprising revelations of Mountain West commissioner Craig Thompson’s press conference Friday was that the Boise State-BYU game could still be on during this shrunken season. The conference is going to accommodate Air Force’s game at Army on November 7, which happens to be on the same weekend the Broncos were originally set to face the Cougars. Is it as easy as Boise State and Air Force not playing this year and leaving the BYU game intact? That would be a very TV-friendly decision. Keeping in mind that the Cougars have scored 103 points in their first two games in their routs of Navy and Troy.
SHOOTOUT IN SEATTLE
Without COVID-19, there would have been a pocket of Prosser people in the stands for a game like this. The Eastern Washington’s town’s favorite son, Kellen Moore, was in his home state as offensive coordinator of the Dallas Cowboys Sunday, and Prosserites had to miss a heckuva game. Despite 522 yards by the Cowboys offense, the Seattle Seahawks won 38-31 at CenturyLink Field. The massive footnote to this one for Boise State fans was Cedrick Wilson, who scored his first two NFL touchdowns on catches of 40 and 42 yards yards from Dallas quarterback Dak Prescott. Wilson also notched his first 100-yard game, picking up 107 on his five receptions. His quarterback with the Broncos, Brett Rypien, made his NFL debut with Denver Sunday. More on that Tuesday.
DOUTRIVE’S DEBUT DELAYED
Buried in all the football talk on Friday was this Boise State basketball note: Devonaire Doutrive’s eligibility waiver request was denied by the NCAA, so he won’t be able to suit up for the Broncos until semester break. Doutrive, a one-time four-star prospect, was dismissed from Arizona’s squad last November for a violation of team rules. He played 29 games for the Wildcats, averaging 3.7 points and 3.0 rebounds per game. With the start of the season delayed until Thanksgiving, Doutrive won’t miss as many games as Oregon transfer Abu Kigab did last year. The Broncos had played 10 games before Kigab became eligible just ahead of Christmas.
FIRST PERSON BETWEEN THE PIPES
The first goaltender under contract with the Idaho Steelheads for the 2020-21 season is Jake Kupsky, who played two games for the team last winter. Kupsky was on loan from Pensacola of the SPHL in January when he went 1-1 with a 1.98 goals-against average for the Steelies. He excited to be a Steelhead for real. “I’m really looking forward to being back in Boise,” said Kupsky. Prior to his pro career, Kupsky played four seasons of collegiate hockey at Union College. Also, former Steelhead Justin Dowling was in the lineup Saturday night for Dallas, getting his first taste of Stanley Cup Final action. Dowling played 17 minutes in the Stars’ 3-2 double-overtime win over Tampa Bay. The Lightning lead the series three games to two, with Game 6 coming up tonight.
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September 28, 2010, 10 years ago today: Sports Illustrated unveils the cover for that week’s magazine, and it’s Boise State football, three days after the Broncos’ 37-24 win over Oregon State on ABC. The cover story was “Boise State—The Great Debate,” discussing the Broncos’ worthiness as a contender for the BCS Championship Game. It was another national first for the program; the Broncos had been on the cover of SI the previous month for the College Football Preview issue, but that was a regional cover.
(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.)