Harsin in Rome’s Jungle

Boise State coach Bryan Harsin was a guest on the Jim Rome Show yesterday on CBS Sports Radio. Boise State coach Bryan Harsin was a guest on the Jim Rome Show yesterday on CBS Sports Radio (and KTIK). Rome started by asking Harsin if he thought he’d be that successful right out of the gate. Said Harsin matter-of-factly, “Boise State for a long time had success and I certainly didn’t want to come in here and mess that up.” The other natural subject was the Broncos’ (and the Group of 5’s) worthiness as College Football Playoff participants. “Any team that handles their business, goes undefeated and wins their conference outright should be considered as one of those four teams,” Harsin said. He acknowledged that Boise State’s (and the Group of 5’s) chances are dependent on how other teams perform.

Rome also asked what makes Boise State’s culture so different than that of other programs. “The one thing that it comes down to is the trust factor that you have with your coaches and players,” said Harsin. “Trust in the plan. Trust in the coaches. Trust in: the guys are going to get their work done and do what they’re asked to do. That’s been something that hit us last year even after that Air Force game. We had to go right back to that and get to work and say: ‘Hey guys, this is the plan. It’s not going to change and we got to do a better job of it.’ And they did exactly that. I think that trust factor within that team has been a big part of why we’ve been different and why we’ve had the success we’ve had.”

The Seattle Times ran a transcript of the entire Rome interview yesterday on its website. They’re curious around Puget Sound about how Harsin is approaching the game against Washington and his mentor, Chris Petersen. Harsin has been pretty open about that. “We’ve worked together. We won a bunch of games. Got a tremendous amount of respect for them,” Harsin told Rome. “There’s something different about that. We know it. Our players know it. We haven’t shied away from that. As far as what we’re building up to, no, we’re excited about it and we’re taking it all in. And when it’s time to play, we’ll be ready.” It’ll be time to play in 16 days.

UNLV is back on the Boise State schedule the next two years, but a running back for which the Rebels had high hopes won’t be. We thought we’d see Alabama transfer Altee Tenpenny on the blue turf next year (he was sitting out this season due to NCAA transfer rules). But the 6-foot, 218-pounder was booted off the UNLV squad last Friday by coach Tony Sanchez for a violation of team rules. Tenpenny had two years of eligibility remaining. He rushed for just 136 yards in his two seasons with the Crimson Tide, but he was one of the nation’s top recruits coming out of high school.

When Boise State visits UNLV this year on Halloween, it’ll see a new playing surface. Reviews are mixed on the new look at Sam Boyd Stadium, with some calling it a “giant craps table.”. Yes, the field is still green, but the yard-marker designations every 10 yards have been redesigned Vegas-style, with diamonds under numerals in italics. And the iconic “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign is reproduced in each end zone. My perspective here in blue turf land: it looks good—it gives that tired old facility in the desert some personality.

After his performance in last Thursday’s preseason opener, Kellen Moore’s quest to be Detroit’s No. 2 quarterback is either on-track or slightly derailed, depending on who you listen to. “Moore looked like he belonged but did nothing to pull away from Dan Orlovsky in a competition weeks away from being decided,” wrote Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. He could have had some separation if not for a couple costly miscues. The former Boise State star guided the Lions to a field goal on his first drive, but it could have been a touchdown if he hadn’t fumbled (and recovered) a shotgun snap on third-and-two from the 10-yard line. Moore also marched Detroit 80 yards in 17 plays just before halftime before throwing an interception in the end zone on a play that, according to Birkett, “wasn’t totally his fault.”

It was the first time Moore had ever played with the No. 2 offense in a preseason game. Dan Orlovsky, the incument backup quarterback, fared better with the third-team. Now we’ll check out when Moore comes off the bench in the Lions’ second exhibition game tomorrow night at Washington. He has never been in uniform for Detroit for a regular-season or playoff contest, spending all 49 of his games as the inactive No. 3 QB. He had hardly even taken snaps with the No. 2 offense in practice until this summer. If Moore could play the rest of this preseason the way he did a year ago, when he led the Lions with 361 yards passing and a 108.4 quarterback rating, it would help a ton.

Former San Diego men’s basketball coach Bill Grier has taken a job as an assistant at Oklahoma State. That may not seem like local news, but Grier was a long-time colleague of Boise State coach Leon Rice on Mark Few’s staff at Gonzaga, and he was in town last week visiting Rice. Word is that had the OSU post not come through, Grier would have helped out the Bronco staff this season in some way, shape or form. Grier and Rice worked together with the Zags from 1998-2007.

The Boise Hawks hung a five-run third inning on Eugene last night and made it stick in a 5-4 win at Memorial Stadium. Hamlet Marte went 3-for-3 with an RBI, and Logan Sawyer contributed a long six-inning relief stint to pick up the victory for Boise. On the other side, former Eagle High star Andrew Ely went 1-for-4 with an RBI—he’s batting .303 for the season. The Hawks drew another solid crowd of 3,251, and that’s been one of the stories this season. They have already surpassed their 2014 attendance total and are on track for their best fan count in five years. The Hawks have recorded 10 sellouts this year and three crowds of 4,000-plus.

Rookie Josh Osich paid his first visit to Busch Stadium in St. Louis last night, and he came away as part of a five-pitcher shutout as the San Francisco Giants beat the Cardinals, 2-0. The Bishop Kelly grad was first out of the bullpen in relief of Ryan Vogelsong and tossed a perfect seventh inning to lower his ERA to 0.77. Osich still has allowed just one earned run in his budding big league career (he’s 1-0 in two stints with the Giants this summer).

The Idaho Steelheads lost coach Brad Ralph to the Kelowna Rockets of the Western Hockey League a couple weeks ago. Now, new coach Neil Graham has picked up a couple former Kelowna players, defenseman Cole Martin and forward Chance Braid. The two were teammates last season with the WHL champions. Martin has posted a stratospheric plus/minus rating of plus-163 over 262 career games. In 65 combined appearances with Kelowna and Prince George in the WHL last season, Braid posted 24 points and 78 penalty minutes. Oh, and he had 31 fighting majors in the WHL.

This Day In Sports…August 19, 1992:

Rookie second baseman Bret Boone, grandson of Ray Boone and son of Bob Boone, becomes the first third-generation major leaguer when he breaks in for the Mariners against the Baltimore Orioles at Camden Yards. Bret had a hit, an RBI, and two runs in his debut as the M’s won, 10-8. Boone returned to Seattle in 2001, leading the M’s to their best season ever with 116 wins. But less than four years later, with his numbers in a steep decline, the Mariners cut him loose. Boone finished the 2005 season with the Twins and retired the next spring.

(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.)