Brett Rypien: Optimism and skepticism

There are lots of positives out there regarding Brett Rypien going into the NFL Draft this week, and that’s what we choose to look at in the land where orange-colored glasses abound. But it’s important that Boise State faithful—and Brett Rypien fans in general—be mentally prepared if the other side of the coin plays out. Rypien’s “status report” at ESPN.com was last updated a month and a half ago, and he’s fine-tuned many facets of his game since then. But this is what’s out there: “As a passer, he locks onto his first read too long and is late on too many throws. He’s hesitant to pull the trigger too often. Rypien shows the ability to anticipate throws, but his ball placement is inconsistent. He has below-average arm strength and struggles to drive the ball vertically and needs to be on time with the deep ball.”

And, as you might expect, there’s more: “He also struggles to fit the ball into tight windows. Rypien stays poised and keeps his eyes downfield as he moves around the pocket but doesn’t consistently sense pressure and takes too many hits. Pressure really affects his accuracy and overall play. He doesn’t show enough quickness or elusiveness in the pocket. Rypien has below-average speed and does not offer much as a runner. He has good football intelligence and picks things up quickly. Rypien’s NFL ceiling is as a reserve for a West Coast style offense. He will get a chance to compete for a practice squad role as a late-round pick or undrafted free agent.” That’s not a Day 2 outlook, to be sure. But it just takes one team to recognize Rypien’s list of intangibles.

WHAT TO MAKE OF THE WONDERIC?

Let’s preface this with what Edward Krupat, PhD, told Sports Illustrated about the Wonderlic test, saying it’s “an outdated way of thinking about intelligence when it comes to predicting performance on the football field.” Okay, so North Carolina State’s Ryan Finley, the former Boise State Bronco, was first among quarterbacks at the NFL Combine, scoring 45 in the Wonderlic. Rypien was eighth among the 14 scores leaked by veteran reporter Bob McGinn, according to Sporting News. The Wonderlic has little to do with football smarts, not that it hurts Finley to get the top grade. But consider that Oklahoma’s Kyler Murray, who may go No. 1 overall Thursday night, was last with a score of 20.

THE SEARCH FOR JERSEY NO. 1 THIS YEAR

Boise State tweets about this award weekly during offseason conditioning and weight room work. And so came this: “Our Week 9 Iron Men of the Week are Demitri Washington and Octavius Evans! Congrats on a great week of training! Your hard work does not go unnoticed!” The takeaway here is, this reiterates that Evans is all-in as he tries to recover from the undisclosed injury that derailed his sophomore year. One other Bronco note: cornerback Robert Lewis, who was dismissed from the team after a DUI arrest during the final week of spring football, has committed to Sacramento State.

GRADING ON THE CURVE IN MOSCOW

I talked about Idaho wide receiver James Cotton last Friday, and now I look smart. The senior snagged four touchdown passes to highlight the Vandals’ Silver & Gold Game Friday night in the Kibbie Dome. Thing is, Idaho’s No.1 offense went against the No. 2 defense the entire night, with the Gold beating the Silver 70-20. So it’s hard to tell what Cotton’s performance means, as depth drops off quickly on the second unit. Same goes for quarterbacks Mason Petrino and Colton Richardson. Petrino was 17-for-22 and Richardson was 16-for-18. But there’s little doubt that Cotton and fellow wideout Cutrell Haywood will bring a lot to the table for the Vandal offense. Cotton’s 13 catches covered 217 yards, while Haywood had 15 receptions for 195 yards.

AKOT IS LOOKING LIKE A REDSHIRT

Coach Sean Miller’s status at Arizona could determine whether UA transfer Emmanuel Akot could be declared immediately eligible for Boise State basketball. As it stands now, Akot will be sitting out next winter. A U.S. District Court judge ruled last Friday that Miller won’t have to testify next week in the federal corruption trial involving Adidas. ESPN reported that Miller has been linked to FBI wiretaps, one involving a sizeable payment to former Wildcat Deandre Ayton. But the judge has concluded that testimony from Miller is immaterial to the charges. “There’s direct evidence that Sean Miller was paying players,” defense attorney Stephen Haney told Yahoo Sports on Friday. “I said that today, on the record, in court.” Haney insists that the controversial wiretapped conversation may yet be made public.

THE STEELHEADS’ SECOND-ROUND SCENARIOS

The Idaho Steelheads wait with bated breath to see who will be wearing the other color for the ECHL Mountain Division finals. Kansas City is looking to pull off a first-round shocker in the other Mountain semifinal series, as the Mavericks lead Tulsa three games-to-two going into Game 6 tonight on the Oilers’ home ice. KC was the final team in the division to qualify for the playoffs, while Tulsa is the top seed in the Mountain after edging the Steelheads by two points for the division title. If the Mavericks pull it off in either of the next two games, the Steelies will be in CenturyLink Arena for Games 1 and 2 this Friday and Saturday. If Tulsa rallies, Idaho won’t be on home ice until Games 3 and 4 next Tuesday and Wednesday.

KNIGHT BACK ON TRACK (AND FIELD)

Jake Knight appears to have found his sweet spot since leaving the Boise State football program following the 2017 season. Knight, the Rocky Mountain grad and one-time Bronco tight end, is up to his old tricks in track and field. Now a senior at Northwest Nazarene, Knight won the discus at the prestigious Bryan Clay Invitational in Azusa, CA, throwing 182 feet, five inches while competing against a host of elite Division I athletes. Knight shattered his own NNU record by three feet and was just three inches shy of the Great Northwest Athletic Conference record and is the GNAC Field Athlete of the Week. It’s not a shock, though. That talent was evident when Knight was signed by the Auburn track and field program out of high school.

This Day In Sports…brought to you by PEASLEY TRANSFER & STORAGE…a tradition you can trust!

April 23, 2014, five years ago today: On the 100th anniversary of the first game ever played at Chicago’s Wrigley Field, it was classic Cubbies in a 7-5 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Cubs were set to celebrate the festive day, leading by three runs going into the ninth inning. Former Boise Hawk Jeff Samardzija was in position for the win after pitching into the eighth, and the Cubs were one out away from victory when an error open the floodgates, and the D-Backs scored five times. By the way, Wrigley’s debut in 1914 featured not the Cubs, but the Chicago Whales of the short-lived Federal League. The Cubbies first played there in 1916.

(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.)