Jeramiah Dickey was emotional and sincere while introducing himself as Boise State’s new athletic director at his press conference Monday. He had to win the day, and I think he did. Dickey talked a lot about family and winning championships and elite facilities. “We will be successful—I guarantee it,” he said. Dickey used the word “elite” a lot. “Our job is to keep pushing and be the best in everything we do.” Elite facilities and programs take money, and this is not an easy time to find it in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. “I don’t know that there’s a quick fix on the revenue side,” said Dickey. “I can assure you this: (fundraising) is a big part of who I am.” Make no mistake that vision was important in this hire.
TO-DO LIST: NO. 1 AND ONLY
The most immediate task facing Dickey is kind of obvious, do you think? The Boise State football job has to be filled, and he doesn’t put a timeline on it. “This is probably the most important decision I’ll make as an athletic director, and I’m only 48 hours in,” Dickey said. “There is a very specific process that I believe in and trust,” he said, adding that it could be three days, a week, or two weeks. (Personally, I don’t think its going to be even a week.) But you get the feeling that Dickey is going to look behind every door, just to make sure. In addition to Andy Avalos and Jeff Choate, FootballScoop.com has identified USC offensive coordinator Graham Harrell has an interviewee. And sources tell B.J. Rains of the Idaho Press that Florida offensive coordinator Brian Johnson is also in the mix.
ALLEY’S OPPORTUNITY BACK DOWN SOUTH
The first official departure from Boise State’s football coaching staff (other than Bryan Harsin) appears to be Zac Alley, the outside linebackers coach. Sources tell FootballScoop.com that Alley is headed to Louisiana-Monroe to become the defensive coordinator for new coach Terry Bowden. Alley spent one season with the Broncos after coaching nickels at Charlotte in 2019. He’s a rising star, having spent his formative years as a graduate assistant at Clemson from 2015-18. Alley will probably remembered as the first Boise State staffer to acknowledge being diagnosed with COVID-19 last summer.
BIG FINISH FOR MATTISON
The top Boise State alumnus in Week 17 of the NFL has to be Alexander Mattison. With Dalvin Cook out in Minnesota’s 37-35 win at Detroit, Mattison carried the flag, rushing for 95 yards and a touchdown and catching three passes for 50 yards and another score. His receiving TD was a 28-yarder on a swing pass and featured a nifty jump cut inside the 10-yard line. Those were his first TDs in three months and marked the first two-touchdown game of his career. Mattison had just six carries over the previous four games combined. For the season, he had 96 rushes for 434 yards and averaged 4.5 yards per carry.
WILD CARD WEEKEND BRONCOS
Mattison’s predecessor as Boise State’s feature running back, Jeremy McNichols, is one of two former Broncos active for the NFL’s Wild Card Weekend. McNichols and the Tennessee Titans host Baltimore this Sunday, with the fourth-year back taking a back seat as Titans star Derrick Henry became the eighth player in NFL history to notch a 2,000-yard season. McNichols hasn’t had a rushing attempt the past three games and has just two catches for 11 yards in that stretch. Charles Leno Jr. started all 16 games this season for the Chicago Bears, who backed their way into a playoff berth over the weekend. Leno has, in fact, started 93 consecutive regular-season games for the Bears. Chicago plays at New Orleans, also this Sunday.
DISCREPS IN THE RANKINGS
Who do you believe? The Boise State men’s basketball team is No. 13 in the NCAA’s first NET rankings, one of the elements in deciding the NCAA Tournament in March. But the Broncos received votes totaling only three points in the AP Poll Monday. The Broncos have 11 Coaches Poll points. The showing in the NET ratings would sure seem to be more important right now. Colorado State is No. 40 and San Diego State No. 41 on that list after the Rams produced the biggest comeback in Mountain West history Sunday. CSU was down by 26 points in the first half—and still trailed by seven with a minute to go—but rallied for a 70-67 victory. The Aztecs built a 29-point first-half lead over the Rams in the rematch Monday night, but this time SDSU hung on for a 78-65 win.
BELIEVE IT: DOUTRIVE IS READY
By all accounts, the long wait is over for Boise State men’s basketball. The final piece of this uber-talented puzzle is going to make his Broncos debut Wednesday night in ExtraMile Arena. Devonaire Doutrive was supposed to be eligible when the first semester ended, but he’s missed all four games since then for unknown reasons. The former Arizona Wildcat and top-100 recruit out of high school will take the floor versus Air Force, though. We’ll see if everything his teammates have been saying is true. Doutrive, a 6-5 guard who’s a junior in eligibility, had some nice moments at Arizona. He had a 10-point, 11-rebound double-double against Washington State and scored nine points, including a buzzer-beating game winner, against Oregon State. Doutrive shot 45 percent from three-point range in his time in Tucson.
EXTRAMILE ARENA’S REPLACEMENTS
Boise State, of course, was supposed to host the first and second rounds of the NCAA Tournament in March for the 10th time. And we’ve known for a while that it isn’t going to happen. The NCAA will now host all 67 men’s tournament games, including the Final Four, entirely in Indiana. It’s safeguard against one of the most wrenching occurences of the pandemic in 2020, the sudden cancellation of the 2020 NCAA Tournament. Come hell or high water, that cannot happen again. The NCAA will employ six venues—everything from Lucas Oil Stadium, home of the Colts, to Butler’s Hinkle Fieldhouse, where “Hoosiers” was filmed.
This Day In Sports…brought to you by the ASHLEY INN OF CASCADE…your adventure starts at our front door!
January 5, 1957: The legendary Jackie Robinson announces his retirement from baseball. Robinson decided to retire rather than accept a trade from the Brooklyn Dodgers to their hated rivals, the New York Giants (all this just one year before both teams moved to California). The first Black player in the major leagues accepted a position as a vice-president with Chock Full ‘o Nuts, a popular New York City coffee company. Robinson, who was just about to turn 38, had already seen his on-field production negatively affected by diabetes.
(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.)