Love the one-time-only green

It’s a vocal minority that’s protesting the very temporary covering of the blue turf. It’s a vocal minority that’s protesting the very temporary covering of the blue turf at Albertsons Stadium. It has to be. The Basque Soccer Friendly is an historic event, and Boise loves events. Many are going to the match Saturday to take in the surreal scene of green grass covering the blue, not just to see Athletic Bilbao and Club Tijuana (which happen to be high-level international squads, considered a step above the MLS).

Some of the comments on the Boise State Broncos Facebook page are hilarious. “This is Outrages!” Meaning outrageous. And, “You mean to tell me that the Basque Soccer team can’t find a different venue to play a soccer game?” Uh, no—not when they’ve traveled halfway around the world and average 40,000 fans per home match. What, they’re going to put them in Dona Larsen Park? My favorite: “Thanks Obama.” To be sure, for every misguided statement protesting the covering of the blue, there are four trying to see him or her straight. It’s going to be quite a setting Saturday (and it’s already gone viral).

Speaking of viral, that’s what Boise State coach Bryan Harsin’s new backyard basketball court has done. Guess what: it’s blue. “Of course it’s BLUE,” tweeted Harsin. Blue turf-type blue, with the Bronco logo in the key. It’s made for less-than-halfcourt offense, though. The court has a three-point line, but if you launch from NBA-range, you’ll be on the lawn.

Now, for the real football news. Boise State has landed the top-rated running back recruit in the state of Arkansas. The Broncos had been anxiously awaiting this one. His name is Damarea Crockett, a 5-11, 210-pounder from Little Rock Christian Academy who rushed for 1,250 yards and 19 touchdowns last season, averaging 8.7 yards per carry. “I’m truly blessed to say that I am committed to a school that really wants me!” tweeted Crockett last night after his campus visit. He was hoping for an offer from Arkansas but hadn’t yet received one. Crockett chose Boise State over Arizona State and nine other schools.

The No. 2 and 3 returning college football players with the most career interceptions this year both play for Boise State. So it’s not a surprise that the duo, cornerback Donte Deayon and safety Darian Thompson, would appear on the watch list for the 2015 Jim Thorpe Award that goes to the nation’s top defensive back. Thompson is tied for seventh on the Bronco career list with 14 picks, and Deayon is tied for ninth with 13. Where can they go from here? Well, the record of 24 set by Steve Forrey in Boise State’s first three seasons as a four-year school is out of reach, but either Thompson or Deayon could reach third-place Gabe Franklin’s total of 18. That’s the standard in the FBS era. Frank Robinson, by the way, is second—he had 22 from 1988-91.

Catch-up from the weekend: Former Boise State star Gerald Alexander has left the Washington staff to become secondary coach at Indiana State. Alexander had been a graduate assistant with the Huskies the last year and a half. He’ll now be working for Mike Sanford, the father of the former Bronco offensive coordinator. Alexander wrapped up his Boise State career with an interception in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl and was a second-round pick of the Detroit Lions in the NFL Draft that spring. Can he pull for his alma mater now on September 4? “I’m not going to sit here and give you an answer as to who I’m going to root for,” declared Alexander yesterday on Idaho SportsTalk. “I’m going to watch as a fan. I can’t separate myself from UW, but obviously my allegiance will always lie with the Broncos.”

Two Boise State basketball players have finished forays into international competition. Men’s forward Nick Duncan and the Australia Uniroos finished 10th at the World University Games in South Korea after an 82-71 loss to Serbia Monday. Duncan scored eight points in the finale—and it was a change of pace: none of his buckets came on three-pointers. Also, Bronco women’s hoops junior Yaiza Rodriguez Ortego helped Spain to the U20 European championship. Rodriguez Ortego played 13 minutes in a 66-47 win over France in the title game. She played in eight of Spain’s nine victories and scored 30 total points with 18 rebounds.

As promised, here’s more on former Bishop Kelly Knight Josh Osich, who earned his first big league win Saturday night. Osich wasn’t just a placeholder when he was called up by San Francisco July 3. In his major league debut that night, Osich was clocked at 96 miles per hour on his fastball and 90 on his slider. Significant was the fact the Giants plugged him in the heat of the battle—in a one-run game in his debut, and a 1-1 game two nights later, and he held serve in both. And manager Bruce Bochy is now making a habit of it. The theory now is that Osich is a Giant for the long haul.

A column by renowned San Francisco Chronicle writer Scott Osler asked rhetorically, “Where has Osich been? Mostly in hospital operating rooms and physical-therapy clinics. Oh, the injuries.” The one-time Oregon State Beaver was on the verge of moving home and going hunting. “I gave it this year, pretty much, and it’s working,” Osich told Osler. “I like playing the game, but it was kind of to the point where I was tired of having to rehab. I was always hurt, and it just wasn’t fun anymore. I got to the point, if I got hurt again, I was done.” Osich ran down the list of the bad stuff, dating back to college. “Ulnar-nerve surgery, 2009, 2010 Tommy John (surgery), 2011 tore sub-scap(ula) muscle in shoulder, 2012 impingement, 2013 I had a radial-nerve injury, 2014 another impingement.” Whew. Now he can say, “2015, San Francisco Giants, major league salary.”

The roof caved in on the Boise Hawks in the sixth inning last night at Memorial Stadium. Everett put up a seven-spot and went on to win in an 11-1 romp. The Hawks have now lost 12 of their last 15 games and get a much-needed night off this evening. They can watch a couple Boise alums, the Blue Jays’ Josh Donaldson and the Cubs’ Kris Bryant, in tonight’s All-Star Game in Cincinnati. Both players were part of the Home Run Derby last night. Donaldson made it to the semifinals before falling 10-9 to eventual champion Todd Frazier of the Reds. Bryant was edged 10-9 in the first round by Angels star Albert Pujols.

This Day In Sports…July 14, 2013:

The beginning of something big. At the age of 19, Jordan Spieth becomes the youngest player to win a PGA Tour event in 82 years when he outlasts Zach Johnson and David Heath in a five-hole sudden-death playoff at the John Deere Classic. Spieth had started the final round six strokes back. He holed a 44-foot bunker shot on the 18th hole to make the playoff. Lo and behold—Spieth won the John Deere again in a playoff on Sunday.

(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.)