Rathen Ricedorff is water cooler worthy

The story that Mesa Community College quarterback Rathen Ricedorff has committed to Boise State has people talkin’ around town—as in, “What’s up with that?” If Ricedorff is being brought in to push Brett Rypien, that can’t be a bad thing. Rypien is one word away from potential superstardom: “consistency.” But Ricedorff did tell Bob Behler and Will Hoenike on KTIK yesterday that Bronco coaches “talked about putting in different packages for me, just being a mobile quarterback.” Ricedorff has to be mobile—he had an offer from New Mexico. But it’s doubtful he was recruited with the idea of bumping Rypien from his perch. The rest of Ricedorff’s offers were from FCS schools.

If Ricedorff’s going to be the change-of-pace guy, he’ll be the quarterback that Tommy Stuart hasn’t been at Boise State. Stuart is universally liked in the program by all accounts, but he has not been used in special packages. It’s only been in mopup—Stuart is just 3-of-5 for 50 yards through the air this year and has one carry for two yards. He’s a junior, and has just one season left (he used his redshirt year as a Bronco two years ago). But Stuart’s just about to graduate, so he could transfer and be immediately eligible. As far as Ricedorff’s possible “special packages” go, we’ve seen that kind of thing at Boise State before, but only from young quarterbacks. Jared Zabransky was often brought in on read-option situations during Ryan Dinwiddie’s senior year—same with Grant Hedrick behind Kellen Moore and Joe Southwick.

Going down the depth chart, usually you hear rumblings about redshirting true freshman quarterbacks during Boise State football seasons. We have not heard much about Jake Constantine this fall. He may still be in “project” status. And Boise State will surely try to redshirt incoming freshman Chase Cord next fall. But Cord’s future appears to be bright. Ricedorff is sounding like a guy being penciled in as the Broncos’ No. 2 quarterback. Which brings us to Alex Ogle, who would be No. 2 if he hadn’t left for Arizona Western College last winter. The Statesman’s Dave Southorn notes that Ogle is headed for Division II Tusculum College.

Pete Thamel of Sports Illustrated reports that Mike Sanford Jr. will be the new head coach at Western Kentucky. That’s a rapid rise for a 34-year-old guy who got a shot from Bryan Harsin as Boise State’s offensive coordinator just two seasons ago. Sanford will be the youngest coach in the FBS. The one-time Bronco quarterback, who left his alma mater after one year to become O.C. at Notre Dame, takes over for Jeff Brohm, the new head coach at Purdue. Sanford’s not a fish out of water at WKU—he spent 2010 there as an assistant between stints at Stanford under Jim Harbaugh and then David Shaw. And he inherits a really good team.

Idaho’s Paul Petrino had been mentioned when the Western Kentucky job came open last week. His brother Bobby had spent one season at WKU in 2013 before getting his old job back at Louisville. Paul Petrino is getting a look around the country after going from 6-29 his first three years with the Vandals to 8-4 this season, capped by next week’s berth against Colorado State in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl. Now that Petrino’s star has risen, it’ll be interesting to see what happens with Petrino between now and 2018, when Idaho returns to the FCS.

I talked yesterday about Idaho’s massive improvement in rush defense, going from 273 yards allowed on the ground last season to 144 this year. That’s where it’ll have to start against run-heavy CSU on the blue turf next week, although the Rams’ three-headed monster at running back is now two. True freshman Marvin Kinsey, the team’s third-leading rusher, tore his ACL in practice 10 days ago, leaving the workload to junior Dalyn Dawkins and sophomore Izzy Matthews in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl. Kinsey rushed for 546 yards and seven touchdowns this season and averaged 5.9 yards per carry.

Eagle’s Tanner Magnum proclaims to be ready to shake off the rust when he starts for BYU next week in the Poinsettia Bowl against Wyoming. Mangum gathered dust this season after Taysom Hill return for a sixth year as Cougars quarterback. But Hill’s career ended in the season finale against Utah State, and Mangum’s the main man again after a true freshman season that saw him throw for 3,377 yards and 23 touchdowns (two of them Hail Mary game-winners against Nebraska and Boise State). This year he’s 14-of-18 for 145 yards and two TDs. In the meantime, he’s been studying, lifting and improving. “I feel like I’m definitely better,” Mangum said last week. “I’m like 20 pounds heavier. I’m stronger and I’m a little bit faster. So physically, I feel good and then being able to learn mentally has been huge.”

Yesterday I called George Iloka’s interception Sunday of RGIII’s throw on a flea-flicker the “play of the day” involving a former Boise State star in the NFL. Well, let’s go for a “play of the week.” If you didn’t see Shea McClellin’s blocked field goal in New England’s 30-23 win over Baltimore on Monday Night Football, please Google it. McClellin looked like he was vaulting a couple of hay bales on Chicken Dinner Road as he swatted down Justin Tucker’s 34-yard try, ending Tucker’s run of 35 consecutive field goals made. “It’s perfectly legal for an NFL player to leap over the long snapper and block a kick—as long as he doesn’t materially make contact with him,” noted ESPN.com’s Kevin Seifert. “McClellin executed that requirement to perfection.” And oh by the way, McClellin logged a team-high nine tackles in the game.

The Boise State women’s gymnastics team will open the season as the No. 15 team in the nation, according to the Preseason Coaches’ Poll released yesterday. The Broncos finished last season at No. 16. They’re coming off their second straight Mountain Rim Gymnastics Conference Championship title but are still chasing that elusive first-ever trip to the NCAA Championships. Two of Boise State’s newcomers are among the program’s most highly-touted recruits in history—New Zealand’s Courtney McGregor and Panama’s Isabella Amado, both of whom competed for their countries in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio. The Broncos open the season one month from today.

This Day In Sports…December 13, 1983:

Detroit edges Denver 186-184 in triple overtime, making it the highest-scoring game in NBA history. Isiah Thomas scored 47 points and John Long added 41 for the Pistons. Kiki Vandeweghe led the Nuggets with 51 points, followed by Alex English with 47. Seven years later, Denver also lost the NBA’s highest-scoring regulation game, 162-158 to the Golden State Warriors.

(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.)