Is Crawford crossing Star Street?

Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett says the “sky is the limit” for Tyrone Crawford. In NFL wanderings today, there’s this from the Dallas Morning News. Rainer Sabin penned a recent column headlined, “A ‘secret superstar’ in the fold?” That would be former Boise State standout Tyrone Crawford. “Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett, who is not prone to hyperbole, said that the ‘sky is the limit’ for Crawford,” wrote Sabin. “Crawford’s believers point to his dogged rehabilitation from a torn Achilles tendon that robbed him of his sophomore campaign in 2013 and also delayed his development in the defense (that new coordinator Rod) Marinelli would supervise. They take note of the other numbers that Crawford compiled last season: the 29 quarterback pressures that were second-most on the team, and the 37 tackles that were exceeded by only one other defensive lineman.” There could be a breakout season dead ahead.

Jeron Johnson is out from behind the Seattle shadow of the NFL’s best safety tandem, Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas. But the former Boise State star isn’t going to be the “that’s how we did it with the Seahawks” guy as he tries to carve out a new niche with the Washington Redskins. “I had to shake myself out of comparing everything to Seattle because I’m in a new situation,” Johnson told ESPN.com’s Bill Keim. “I’d definitely love to have the success we had in Seattle. I bring a little knowledge I did obtain from Seattle. I just want to share the knowledge. I don’t want to be Seattle. I want to have our own identity, but who wouldn’t want to do the things they’ve done?” Johnson will be transitioning out of the Seahawks’ 3-4 defense into one in which the safeties are more interchangeable. And he knows he’s the one who has to adapt.

Idaho coach Paul Petrino took the podium yesterday at Sun Belt Media Day in New Orleans, and he embraced the expectations surrounding quarterback Matt Linehan this year. Linehan showed signs of stardom as a redshirt last season, throwing for 2,540 yards and 11 touchdowns. He also tossed 18 interceptions. “I think going into this next season he’ll really eliminate those turnovers and make even more great plays,” said Petrino. As the son of Dallas offensive coordinator Scott Linehan, Matt’s natural football smarts will continue to percolate. “Obviously he’s grown up around the game his entire life with his father being a coach,” Petrino said. Petrino also said Linehan has put on about 20 pounds (the Vandals’ official website still has him at 6-3, 202 pounds).

The Sun Belt released its preseason all-conference squad at Media Day, and the only Idaho representative on the first team was punter Austin Rehkow (who, of course, doubles as placekicker). Rehkow is on the Ray Guy Award watch list for the second straight season after averaging 47.8 yards per punt last season to lead the nation. Two Vandals were second-team preseason All-Sun Belt, linebacker Marc Millan and defensive end Quinton Bradley.

Missouri coach Gary Pinkel is talking out loud, and he’s making some ears perk up. Pinkel was at ESPN yesterday, and during an interview he said the independent teams, Notre Dame, BYU and Army, should be required to join a conference, and all FBS conferences should play championship games to be eligible for the College Football Playoff. “It’s nothing against Notre Dame, it’s just my opinion,” said Pinkel, although he added that the Fighting Irish should be given “a year to join a conference.” If that applied to BYU, the Cougars’ only choice so soon would be the Mountain West. Okay. BYU’s (and, ahem, everybody else’s) quest for the Power 5 is going to take some time.

The Spokane Indians jumped on the Boise Hawks early last night, building an 8-1 fifth-inning lead on the way to an 8-3 win at Memorial Stadium. Pitching has sounded a particularly sour note for the Hawks in this, their first season of affiliation with the Colorado Rockies. Boise, now 11-21, is decisively last in the Northwest League in ERA at 5.25—and in strikeouts with 205. The Hawks are on pace for the highest ERA in the Northwest League in six years.

Heavens to Mercatroid! Josh Osich has given up a big league base hit! The Bishop Kelly grad finally yielded the first hit of his freshly-scrubbed major league career Saturday night. Osich came on for 1/3 inning of relief in San Francisco’s 8-4 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks Saturday night. He also walked a batter—but in six innings over eight appearances since being called up by the Giants July 3, he has not allowed a run.

Graham DeLaet has been around too long to just be happy to play an Open Championship on the Old Course at St. Andrews. The former Boise State star is frustrated after playing the final three holes of the tournament at four-over yesterday and tying for 68th. “It was kind of the story of the week. It was just super disappointing,” DeLaet said in a story in the Toronto Sun. “I can’t finish rounds right now. I don’t know what the heck is going on. It’s been two months of this and it’s pretty frustrating.” This is another big week for DeLaet, albeit a short one. The RBC Canadian Open brings him home—the event tees off Thursday in Oakville, Ontario.

Two other notes: Boise’s FC Nova Nationals, who won the girls’ U19 Far West Regional title last month at the Simplot Sports Complex, begin play today at the U.S. Youth Soccer National Championships in Tulsa, OK. The Nova Nationals, a merger of two prominent local clubs, are the first team from Idaho ever to win a regional crown. They face Beadling, SC, in the first round today. And Kristin Hill, who built a championship program as quickly as any coach in Boise State history, has stepped down as the Broncos’ swimming and diving coach to spend more time with her family. Hill won four conference titles in nine seasons after forming the squad from scratch in 2006.

This Day In Sports…July 21, 1968:

Perhaps the most popular boxer in Idaho history is born. His name is Kenny Keene, and he would parlay a great run through the Golden Gloves ranks into what you might call a “controlled” pro career. It started modestly with raucous bouts at Caldwell’s O’Connor Fieldhouse and evolved into some national television appearances and the IBF cruiserweight championship. But he was always true to his Idaho roots. Keene first retired in 2000—and hung ‘em up for good in 2006. Kenny is 47 years old today.

(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.)