It’s beginning to feel like Ryan Finley will be wearing No. 15—with pads on September 4. It’s beginning to feel like Ryan Finley will be wearing No. 15 with pads and a helmet against Washington on September 4. In an interview on Idaho SportsTalk Friday, Jeff Caves asked Boise State coach Bryan Harsin if there were any updates on Finley following his April arrest for misdemeanor minor consumption and eluding officers. “These young guys, you know what? Things happen,” said Harsin. “Ryan, as the summer goes, he needs to take care of his business. Then in fall camp, we’ll address it again.” Methinks in this context, Finley will take care of business this summer—and perhaps avoid a suspension for the opener against the Huskies (but that’s just me talkin’). That doesn’t mean he’s guaranteed to start, though. As he often has the past few months, Harsin made sure Friday that people didn’t forget about junior Tommy Stuart.
By “summer,” Harsin means Boise State’s summer conditioning program, and that starts today. And the other revelation the coach made Friday was that he expects wide receiver Rick Smith to be there, less than five months after an alleged serious head injury suffered at the hands of a teammate in the Bronco locker room. “Rick is still—and always has been—a part of our team,” said Harsin. “He’ll be out there this summer and will be ready to roll (come fall camp).” Hopefully that means team chemistry, the central theme of Boise State’s success the past 15-plus years, is intact. A healthy Rick Smith, body and mind, would be big for a wideout group that has lost Troy Ware to a college career-ending knee injury and Tanner Shipley to a medical retirement since mid-April.
Season ticket holders can purchase single-game tickets to the Boise State-Washington game beginning this morning, and the drama begins. Day by day, the athletic department will add on another level from the Bronco Athletic Association’s priority points list. Will the game be essentially sold out by the end of the week? The fun is about to start on StubHub, Craigslist, and so on. Then again, I’m not sure how well they’ll sell since seat locations of those tickets won’t be known until August.
Maybe it’s time for Grant Hedrick to get the coaching thing going. The former Boise State quarterback was with the B.C. Lions all of three days before the CFL club released him Saturday. That came three weeks after he was denied a contract in Denver. Surely Hedrick was going to make it past the tryout phase in Kamloops over the weekend, but no such luck. What went wrong as he went against the plethora of quarterbacks already on the Lions roster? The Vancouver Sun surmises Hedrick “simply didn’t have the time to get up to speed with the others.” No kiddin’. If he had stuck with the Lions, Hedrick would have been the sixth Boise State quarterback to play in the CFL, joining Eric Guthrie, Jim McMillan, Bart Hendricks, Ryan Dinwiddie and Jared Zabransky (I had prepared that for Sunday Sports Extra before —heck, I had to use it).
Organizers of the Basque Soccer Friendly were braced for it, and now it has come to pass. The game between Athletic Bilbao and Club Tijuana will move up from its planned July 29 date after Bilbao’s 3-1 loss to FC Barcelona Saturday in Spain’s Copa del Rey. Two goals by international superstar Lionel Messi spoiled any chance Athletic had of an upset. A win would have enabled Bilbao to advance past the qualifying round and right into the group pool of the Europa League in two months. But now Athletic will have to play a Europa League qualifier July 30, forcing the Basque Soccer Friendly to move up to July 18 or 19 in Albertsons Stadium. The natural green grass being laid over the blue turf will now have 10 fewer days to take full root.
Graham DeLaet posted his best result in 3½ months yesterday, finishing 22nd at the AT&T Byron Nelson and pocketing $62,302. The former Boise State star carded four rounds in the 60’s at TPC Four Seasons near Dallas, capped by a two-under 67 in the final round. DeLaet and fellow PGA Tour players were just happy to get through the Byron Nelson in four days considering the deluge the state of Texas has experienced. “Unreal job by the grounds crews the last two weeks in Dallas,” tweeted DeLaet yesterday. “Hard to believe we were able to play golf tournaments after all that rain.”
It was not a weekend Brian Scott is writing home to Boise about. The 27-year-old NASCAR driver began with a crash in Saturday’s Xfinity race, ruining a No. 5 starting spot opportunity. On the 63rd lap, Scott and Ryan Blaney collided before his car was bashed by Jamie Dick, ending Scott’s day. Yesterday’s FedEx 400 Benefitting Autism Speaks was Scott’s fifth Sprint Car Series start of the year. He ignitioned out of the No. 28 hole and finished 37th following another dust-up, this one with Kyle Busch.
Former Boise Hawk Donnie Veal was called back up by Atlanta last Wednesday for his second stint with the Braves this season, and he’s had two weird outings since—both in San Francisco. Last Thursday he was called upon to put out the fire for the Braves in a disastrous six-run eighth inning. He got the final two outs but allowed an earned run. Then yesterday at AT&T Park, with the Braves leading the Giants 3-2 in the seventh, Veal came in and yielded a two-run homer by Joe Panik. A stunning four-run rally in the ninth by the Braves saved Veal from taking the loss. His first stay with the Braves lasted three games a month ago and produced a 10.80 ERA. Veal, who spent parts of the last three seasons with the White Sox, pitched in Boise in 2005, going 1-2 with a 2.48 ERA.
Five Boise State athletes qualified for the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships with standout performances at the West Preliminary Championships in Austin, TX. Emma Bates will defend her national title in the 10,000-meters and will run the 5,000 meters as well. Bates will be joined in the 5,000 by fellow Bronco Tessa Murray, while Marisa Howard will make her second straight appearance at nationals in the 3,000-meter steeplechase. On the men’s side, Boise State’s Jordin Andrade advanced to nationals in the 400-meter hurdles, and David Elliott qualified in the 1,500-meters. The NCAA Championships will be held at legendary Hayward Field in Eugene June 10-13.
Runners in the Idaho Famous Potato Marathon Saturday were greeted by an inaccurate weather forecast, much to their delight. Clouds blocked what would have been a debilitating sun and kept temperatures manageable (the high was 81). The winner of the Boston Marathon qualifier was Grangeville’s Brian Crowl in 2:50:28. The top women’s finisher was Boise’s Brittany Goicoechea, with a time of 3:09:25.
This Day In Sports…June 1, 1994:
Film director and avid New York Knicks fan Spike Lee harasses Indiana Pacers star Reggie Miller mercilessly from his courtside seat in Madison Square Garden. It was Game 5 of the NBA Eastern Conference Finals on NBC, and the Knicks were leading by 12 points after three quarters with Miller having scored a quiet 14 points. But Miller had had enough and put up 25 fourth quarter points, including five three-pointers, yelling at Lee as he ran by after every bucket. Finally, Miller infamously gave Lee the “choke” sign as the Pacers were about to win, 93-86.
(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.)