“Nobody asked me about Donte”

Bryan Harsin’s press conference had ended when he answered a question that hadn’t been asked. Bryan Harsin’s press conference had ended yesterday when he answered a question that hadn’t been asked. Boise State star cornerback Donte Deayon will be out for four weeks after a “clean-up” procedure on his knee. That’s significant. True freshman Tyler Horton or junior Raymond Ford, seldom-used outside of special teams this season, will be the next man up for the Broncos. Either may be a star himself someday, but right now it’s a noticeable dropoff from Deayon, a preseason All-Mountain West selection. Deayon is small, but he’s notoriously savvy and athletic. And this week Boise State faces the new Mountain West Offensive Player of the Week, quarterback Cam Coffman of Wyoming, who was 18-of-20 for 213 yards and three touchdowns in the Cowboys’ win over Nevada.

One key Bronco is set to return this Saturday night, though, as tailback Jeremy McNichols will be back in the lineup after a hit to the head at Colorado State kept him out of the Utah State loss. Harsin wouldn’t say Boise State missed the “little things” McNichols does while being routed by the Aggies. “We had a plan to go win without him,” said Harsin. The Broncos just missed McNichols’ talent—there’s a reason he’s the feature back. “I really think he was in a rhythm of what we need in the running game, and it’ll be good to get him back,” Harsin said. Despite missing the game in Logan, McNichols remains tied for second in the nation with 14 touchdowns.

How does Brett Rypien bounce back from the first disaster of his college career? “I think he already did (Saturday night)—the process was already happening as he was playing.” Rypien played the whole game at Utah State, and he did indeed settle down in the second half. “He was still throwing the ball well, he was still making good decisions, he was still standing in the pocket,” Harsin said. Rypien was 12-of-23 for 221 yards and no interceptions in the second half against the Aggies. It’s all part of growing up.

Harsin is staying positive about his team. Hey, sometimes the wheels fall off (Utah-Oregon, anyone?). He was asked about other coaches who have been spewing venom at their players in this situation—one said his team needed to be “hosed off.” Harsin isn’t going that route. “I like this team and I like this staff, and I like that they care tremendously about their performance and how they prepare themselves,” he said. “And it didn’t go their way.” He’ll let everybody else grouse about what happened in Logan. And he’ll put all his stock in the Wyoming game. “I don’t have a team that needs to be hosed off,” said Harsin.

If you’re making plans for Halloween in Las Vegas, you’re in luck. The Boise State-UNLV kickoff on October 31 has been set for 1:30 p.m. Mountain, allowing plenty of time for revelry that evening (in Boise, too, for that matter). The game will be shown on ESPNU, which keeps either team from earning the Mountain West’s $500,000 TV bonus. But that’s okay. The Broncos are fortunate they’re getting this Saturday’s Wyoming game on ESPN2.

At Washington, this is not a week for instability at quarterback. But what week is in the Pac-12? UW coach Chris Petersen is facing the possibility of choosing between untested redshirt freshman K.J. Carta-Samuels and ineffective senior Jeff Lindquist as true freshman Jake Browning deals with an injured throwing shoulder. Awaiting the Huskies this Saturday night is No. 10 Stanford in the Bay Area in an ESPN game (Coach Pete will be on TV opposite his old team). Browning suffered the injury late in Washington’s disappointing 26-20 loss to Oregon. Carta-Samuels, the one-time Boise State recruit, came on in relief of Browning against the Ducks and was intercepted on his second pass attempt in the final minute.

NFL notes from the weekend: Billy Winn is in the defensive line rotation for the Indianapolis Colts. The former Boise State standout, who was traded to Indy from Cleveland at the beginning of the season, got a hit on New England’s Tom Brady in the Colts’ 34-27 loss on Sunday Night Football. Winn has six tackles on the season. George Iloka continues to stand out for the undefeated Cincinnati Bengals. The fourth-year safety made six stops Sunday in Cincy’s 34-21 victory at Buffalo. And the wait continues for Shea McClellin. The Marsing High grad missed Chicago’s 37-34 loss at Detroit with his left knee still ailing. McClellin missed practice all last week while nursing the injury—it was his first missed game of the season.

Boise State hoops has an open scrimmage Saturday at 6 p.m., a couple hours before the evening’s Homecoming game. The player fans are most anxious to see is Anthony Drmic, but coach Leon Rice has said the senior Australian isn’t 100 percent recovered from the ankle injury that sidelined him seven games into last season, so he may be limited. The injury was a cumulative effect of how hard Drmic plays—and that’s the way it’s always been. “Anthony just fell down all the time as a freshman for no apparent reason,” Rice said almost prophetically last December before Drmic was lost for the season. “Anthony and I always joke about that. That’s what happens, it’s a physical game. If you fall down in high school they probably call a foul. In college they tell you to get back up.”

Albertsons has entered the PGA Tour big leagues with its new subsidiary. Safeway, still a major player in Northern California, will be the new title sponsor of the Safeway Open, formerly the Frys.com Open that finished play on Sunday. The five-year agreement runs through 2020, with the event remaining at Silverado Resort and Spa in Napa, CA. “We have had a tremendous partnership with Albertsons, Safeway’s parent company, on the Web.com Tour, with the Albertsons Boise Open generating more than $1 million for local charities each of the last nine years,” said PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem. “The Safeway Open will have a similar model in place to help build on what is already a well-established event.” The tournament will be managed by Jeff Sanders, co-founder of the Albertsons Boise Open 25 years ago.

The real Toronto Blue Jays reared their offensive heads last night, and former Boise Hawk Josh Donaldson helped. The Jays roared back from a two-games-to-none deficit in the American League Championship Series to win Game 3 over Kansas City, 11-8 (it was 11-4 going into the ninth inning). Donaldson snapped a 3-for-16 slump with an RBI single and a booming two-run homer, his third of the postseason. The AL MVP candidate hit 41 homers with 123 RBI while batting .297 during the regular season in his first year with Toronto.

This Day In Sports…October 20, 1990, 25 years ago today:

The defending champion Oakland A’s are swept in four games by the Cincinnati Reds in the World Series. This came two years to the day after the A’s were finished off in five games by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the ’88 Series. In that one, Oakland was never able to recover from the legendary Game 1 homer in the bottom of the ninth by the Dodgers’ hobbling Kirk Gibson. The A’s, however, went on to win the earthquake-interrupted Bay Bridge World Series over the San Francisco Giants in 1989.

(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.