The thought of a Boise State player leaving early for the NFL Draft was never a consideration once upon a time. Then following the 2007 season, a year after the Broncos’ first Fiesta Bowl, two standouts decided to forego their senior seasons at the same time. One was Ryan Clady, who remains the highest draft pick in Boise State history (No. 12 overall to Denver). The other was a head-scratcher at the time. But Orlando Scandrick was taken in the fifth round by Dallas—and ended up spending 10 years with the Cowboys (he has lasted longer in the NFL than Clady). Now, after signing with Washington in the offseason and getting a $1 million bonus, Scandrick has been released by the Redskins. The team had been looking to trade him but couldn’t strike a deal.
Does he still have appeal to another NFL team? Possibly. Scandrick is now 31 years old, but he has veteran savvy. He may have lost a step over the years while overcoming a torn ACL and MCL, a vertebrae fracture, hamstring problems and a broken hand—not to mention a four-game PED suspension. Scandrick has 362 tackles, 11.5 sacks and eight interceptions, one for a touchdown, in his NFL career. His most memorable game in three seasons at Boise State came during his sophomore year at Hawaii in 2005, when he returned a blocked field goal for a touchdown and ran back a blocked extra point for a defensive two-point conversion. (Both kicks were blocked by future Green Bay Packer Daryn Colledge.)
As Scandrick’s NFL career is in limbo, a different kind of pro career could be beginning for another Boise State product. Montell Cozart, who provided a dynamic that was essential to the Broncos’ success last season, has signed with the Calgary Stampeders of the CFL. And Cozart’s position is quarterback, not wide receiver. He threw for 10 touchdowns on only 97 attempts with just one interception during Boise State’s 11-3 campaign last year. Cozart saved the win over Troy, almost led the Broncos to a victory at Washington State, and confounded opposing defensive coordinators in general. His playing time decreased as Brett Rypien caught fire down the stretch, but Boise State couldn’t have done what it did last season without Cozart.
Boise State’s opener at Troy is 2½ weeks away now. Have the Trojans settled on a quarterback to replace Brandon Silvers? “The short answer to that is no,” Troy coach Neal Brown told the Montgomery Advertiser Saturday after the team’s first fall camp scrimmage. “The long answer is that I’m excited about both of them.” Brown’s candidates are Kaleb Barker and Sawyer Smith. Last year, Barker was Silvers’ backup and Smith redshirted. Two years ago, both saw some playing time, although Smith had more. Entering this year, Barker has 434 total yards of offense and Smith has 254. Both have one touchdown pass. Barker has a 3-1 lead in TD runs. “Whoever ends up winning it, the Trojans are going to be just fine,” said quarterbacks coach Sean Reagan.
Other opposing quarterback notes: Colorado State’s Collin Hill appears to be way ahead of schedule in his recovery from a torn ACL, the second such injury to his left knee since joining the Rams. It’s been just five months since this last one happened, yet Hill participated in full 11-on-11 work in last Saturday’s CSU scrimmage. Maybe he will play on the blue turf in October after all. And at BYU, the QB battle is down to two “finalists,” Eagle’s Tanner Mangum and one-time Boise State commit Zach Wilson. Odds are Mangum’s experience will win out, and he’ll be the starter when the Cougars play at Arizona two weeks from Friday. But will he still be the guy when BYU visits Albertsons Stadium in November?
Spartan Stadium at San Jose State (now known as CEFCU Stadium, capacity 30,456) is plenty big enough to hold the crowd expected for SJSU’s game against Army on October 13. After all, San Jose State averaged fewer than 15,000 fans per game last year. But the Spartans are buried so far down the sports totem pole in the Bay Area, they’ll take anything that will give them exposure. So San Jose State has to feel really good about the Army game being moved to Levi’s Stadium, home of the San Francisco 49ers. The Santa Clara venue will also host the Pac-12 championship game, the San Francisco Bowl (formerly the Foster Farms Bowl), and—last but certainly not least—the College Football Playoff national championship game in January.
The Boise Hawks busted open a 5-5 game with a four-run seventh inning last night and dropped Salem-Keizer 9-5. Hidekel Gonzalez did the most damage, ripping a bases-clearing triple. Since I made such a big deal out of Joey Bart yesterday, it behooves us to check out how the Volcanoes star did last night at Memorial Stadium. The No. 2 overall pick in this year’s MLB Draft for San Francisco was a quiet 1-for-4. Boise and Salem-Keizer face off again tonight and tomorrow night. After this homestand, the Hawks leave for their annual Western Idaho Fair roadtrip (three cities, 11 days).
Idaho released its men’s basketball schedule yesterday, and the first thing that jumps out is the Vandal Holiday Hoops Showcase in CenturyLink Arena on Thanksgiving weekend. The event also includes UC Santa Barbara, Portland State and Northwest Nazarene, with Idaho slated to play UCSB in one of the matchups. (Footnote: this will be the fourth straight season the Vandals and Boise State have not played in men’s hoops.) The Showcase actually begins and ends in Moscow, with the Vandals playing Bethesda before the Downtown Boise trip and Walla Walla after. The highlight of the non-conference schedule is the Battle of the Palouse, now in its 114th consecutive season, as Idaho meets Washington State December 5 in Pullman.
This Day In Sports…August 15, 1993, 25 years ago today:
Greg Norman completes a “Grand Slam” of playoff losses by lipping out his putt on the PGA Championship’s second playoff hole, giving Paul Azinger the title. Norman also lost playoffs in golf’s other three majors—the 1984 US Open, the 1987 Masters, and the 1989 British Open. Some consolation for the Shark: he had won his second British Open a month before the PGA Championship collapse.
(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.)