It depends on who’s counting

It was just yesterday we were talking about 100 days ‘til kickoff, right? It was just yesterday we were talking about 100 days ‘til kickoff, right? How does 80 days sound? The countdown to the opener against Washington is already there today. But it may as well be zero for the Boise State coaching staff, magnified (perfect timing) in a piece yesterday by USA Today’s Paul Myerberg. Offseason? “I don’t think we have one,” Bronco defensive line coach Steve Caldwell told Myerberg. “There’s not really an offseason.” Not even in those precious few weeks in July? “When you walk back on the last week of July, it’s all over,” said Caldwell. “It starts the cycle all over again.” One change—the NCAA legislation allowing for one hour of hands-on coaching each week during the summer conditioning period. One more thing to work vacations around.

Myerberg points out the reason the Broncos’ staff is driven. “Boise State’s the same as the rest, with a slight twist,” writes Myerberg. “More than any other FBS program outside the major-league structure, the Broncos have realistic national-title aspirations without the benefit of blue-blooded conference pedigree. For this program, hanging with the nation’s elite takes hard work, long hours, competitiveness, a diligent recruiting effort, a tried-and-true sense of identity and, for the blue-turfed Broncos, embracing what separates the program from the rest of college football. ‘Yeah, we have to be different,’ said second-year coach Bryan Harsin. ‘And we are. I think that started back when the field was put in there. We’ve got that blue field. That’s part of who we are. I think the blue field is a symbol of our program. We’re different. We talk about being different in what we do.”

Another reason for no offseason: satellite camps. They’ve become prevalent as head coaches and assistants are invited to staff camps held off-campus, typically in fertile recruiting areas. Boise State has dived in head-first. “The Broncos dipped into the satellite pool for the first time last summer, holding a single camp in Houston that yielded zero eventual commitments to the 2015 recruiting class,” writes Myerberg. “One year later, the program shifted its gaze to southern California—another area key to its recruiting efforts—for a pair of camps: one at Centennial High School in Corona, and the second held at Long Beach City College.” Sure there will be scholarship offers coming out of those, and maybe commitments, but Myerberg says there’s a bigger picture for Boise State. “It’s a chance for the Broncos to wave the flag, promoting their brand and laying the foundation for continued forays into southern California.

While it feels like Ryan Finley will suit up against Washington September 4 (that’s just me talkin’), the uncertainty will likely last a few more weeks. The Statesman reports that Finley’s pretrial conference for misdemeanor charges of a minor consumption or in possession of alcoholic beverages and resisting or obstructing police officers has been pushed back to Friday, July 10. The conference was originally scheduled for yesterday to review Finley’s April 24 arrest.

Detroit claimed quarterback Garrett Gilbert off waivers from New England over the weekend. That means yet another bit of competition for former Boise State great Kellen Moore. Unlike Moore, Gilbert was drafted—in the sixth round out of SMU last year by St. Louis. Like Moore, Gilbert once had Bryan Harsin as his offensive coordinator. Gilbert began his college career at Texas and was coached by Harsin as a sophomore. He transferred to SMU when he was beaten out by David Ash. Who would Harsin vote for between Moore and Gilbert? I think we all know. But it’s not up to him, of course.

The Boise Hawks open their 2015 season Thursday night against the Tri-City Dust Devils, marking the dawn of the club’s Colorado Rockies era. So what will it mean in the win-loss column? Who knows? That’s impossible to predict at this level of minor league baseball, as one season has no bearing on the next. That’s especially true with an entirely new organization in charge. But we can say that the past two Boise Hawks clubs broke the spell. The Hawks had posted four straight losing seasons before back-to-back 41-35 campaigns the past two years. They’ve actually made the Northwest League Playoffs three straight years—getting there in 2012 despite a 37-39 record.

Kyle Schwarber, who began last season with the Hawks and was quickly promoted, has already been called up to the majors and is slated to make his Chicago Cubs debut today. The initial plan is to have last year’s No. 4 overall draft pick up for just six upcoming games, five of them interleague road contests, allowing him to serve as designated hitter. Schwarber is batting .320 with 13 home runs and 39 RBI for Double-A Tennessee. “Regardless of how this week goes, Kyle will head to Triple-A (Iowa) after Sunday’s game,” President Theo Epstein told the Chicago Tribune. In just five games with Boise last season, Schwarber hit .600 with four homers and 10 RBI—and poof, he was gone.

Former Boise Hawk Josh Harrison has played his way back into relevance in Pittsburgh. After massive struggles early in the season that saw his everyday job essentially taken by Korean import Jung Ho Kang, Harrison has upped his average to .280 with two landmark performances. Last night he went 4-for-4, knocked in a run, scored three times and stole two bases in the Pirates’ 11-0 blitzing of the Chicago White Sox. On Sunday, Harrison rapped a walk-off RBI single in the bottom of the 11th inning that accounted for the only run of the game run in Pittsburgh’s 1-0 win over the rival Phillies. On May 10, J-Hay (as he’s called) was hitting just .173 at the bottom of a 2-for-37 slump. Coincidentally, Kang is also batting .280, now with 22 RBI to Harrison’s 21.

The Kelly Cup Finals went to Game 7 Sunday, but there was little drama after the Allen Americans jumped on the South Carolina Sting Rays early and often. Allen potted two goals in the first period and three in the second for a commanding 5-0 lead going into the third. The Americans prevailed 6-1 to win their first Kelly Cup and give some credibility to the Central Hockey League refugees who were absorbed into the ECHL at the 11th hour last fall. One of the old CHL teams, the Rapid City Rush, joins the Idaho Steelheads in the Pacific Division next season.

This Day In Sports…June 16, 1989:

Doug Weaver, Nick Price, Mark Wiebe and Jerry Pate all score holes-in-one on the sixth hole during the second round of the U.S. Open at Oak Hill. It was the first time in history that four golfers had aced the same hole in any American professional tournament, much less the Open. Ironically, Price and Pate, the 1976 U.S. Open champion, missed the cut at the end of the day.

(Tom Scott hosts the Scott Slant segment Sunday nights at 10:30PM on KTVB’s Sunday Sports Extra and anchors five sports segments each weekday on 93.1 The Ticket. He also served as color commentator on KTVB’s telecasts of Boise State football for 14 seasons.)