Stretching the field cross-ways, too

Chaz Anderson is celebrating the one-year anniversary of his conversion from cornerback to wide receiver at Boise State. Chaz Anderson is celebrating the one-year anniversary of his conversion from cornerback to wide receiver at Boise State. And the benefit of having one full season, a spring football session and summer conditioning under his belt exclusively at the wideout position should be palpable. Anderson’s role will change from “go long” to “go slant, go out, go curl, go mid-range.” The things fellow starters Shane Williams-Rhodes and Thomas Sperbeck do. The junior from Los Angeles has been expanding and perfecting his rout selection. Anderson’s 57-yard touchdown catch against Arizona in the Fiesta Bowl was memorable. The two drops later in the game, not so much. That’s eminently correctible as experience takes hold.

It’s well-chronicled that Anderson had six catches covering more than 45 yards during the 2014 campaign. Little-known fact: Anderson’s 21.7 yards per reception was the fourth-best single-season mark in Boise State history. The record is 25.0 set by Lawrence Bady in 2003 (who can forget Bady’s 98-yard reception at SMU that season that did not result in a touchdown—tying him for the longest non-scoring play from scrimmage in college football history).

There are four up-and-comers in the receiving corps who appear to be competing for the three backup spots: A.J. Richardson, Rick Smith, Austin Cottrell and D.J. Dean. “They’re here,” said coach Bryan Harsin. “We’ve seen them in the spring. Now it’s time to go.” Richardson led Boise State during April’s Blue & Orange Game with seven catches for 52 yards. He hooked up with Brett Rypien five times on the true freshman quarterback’s first series. There were those who doubted the Broncos would ever see Rick Smith again after the February locker room incident, but the Arizona State transfer is full-go. Cottrell is a wild card as a late junior college transfer, but just the fact that he’s identified as being in the mix is revealing. And Dean, the sophomore from Eagle, has some Sperbeck-type qualities.

It wouldn’t take much to make this a very deep position on the Bronco roster. Somebody not being mentioned right now is bound to break through. It could be walk-on Taylor Pope, who had a 43-yard touchdown catch in the spring game. It could be Terrell Johnson, who saw some action last year. Or it could be redshirt freshman Sean Modster or true freshmen Akilian Butler or Bryan Jefferson, all highly-touted recruits when they came in. All in all, Boise State should be able to restock a wide receiver group suddenly thinned last spring by the medical retirement of Tanner Shipley and the college career-ending knee injury of Troy Ware just days before the Blue & Orange Game.

Colorado State appears to be on a roll, coming off a 10-win football season and preparing to break ground on a new $220 million football stadium. CSU wants to be in the conversation when those Big 12 rumors are floated. But this struck me in the Coloradoan, Fort Collins’ newspaper. Colorado State season ticket sales are currently topping 7,800, up from 7,034 last year, when the Rams average attendance jumped to 26,575. But that’s not going to get it done when the bills for the new stadium roll in. Boise State, by comparison, has topped 20,000 in season tickets for the past nine years—and even that won’t raise many eyebrows in Big 12 circles. Then we see the Colorado State athletic department ran at a deficit of $3.2 million the past fiscal year. Proceed with caution.

How are things going for Eagle High grad Tanner Mangum at BYU? “I love, love, love Tanner Mangum,” said Cougars coach Bronco Mendenhall in a story in the Deseret News. Jeff Call reports that Mangum has exceeded expectations so far at quarterback. “His performance—arm strength, leadership and understanding of the offense—has been among the bright spots of fall camp for BYU,” writes Call. Although Mendenhall is not ready to anoint him as Taysom Hill’s backup, Mangum appears to have the clear edge over fellow freshmen QBs Beau Hoge and Koy Detmer, Jr. “The first indication is, he’s going to be a very special player,” Mendenhall said.

Idaho fall camp continues with the opener against Ohio just 22 days away. If the Vandal defense is going to take the step it needs to this year, two of the key guys are going to be linebacker Marc Millan and defensive end Quinton Bradley. Millan, the senior from Mission Viejo, CA, has been out with a hamstring injury he suffered this summer. Coach Paul Petrino is cautiously optimistic Millan will be ready September 3. Bradley is ready to lead in year No. 3 of the Petrino era now that everybody has bought in. “When he first came it was hard for people to understand his philosophy,” said Bradley. “Now, everybody on this team is locked in and ready to go. It’s what we need to do to win a bowl game.”

Matt Paradis, the one-time Boise State walk-on, has created some buzz as he surprisingly tops the initial 2015 depth chart in Denver. As a member of last year’s practice squad, Paradis had to go through the Broncos’ rookie mini-camp in May. But ESPN.com’s Jeff Legwold did not dismiss Paradis while previewing the minicamp: “This is a guy who plays with balance, leverage and smarts who also has a quality work ethic. That gives him a chance if he pays attention and can add some strength to deal with some of the bigger linemen he will now face.” I don’t know if it was strength that put him over the top since then, but you can’t discount the former Council Lumberjack’s smarts and work ethic. Paradis came into training camp with a purpose—he was moved to the first-team in practice just last Thursday. The Broncos play at Seattle Friday night.

The Boise Hawks socked three home runs last night, with Brian Mundell, Luis Castro and Kevin Padlo all going deep. But that’s not going to do much good when the pitching staff is giving up runs by the bushel. Eugene raced to a 14-2 lead in the fifth inning and went on to wallop the Hawks 15-5 in Memorial Stadium. It was Boise’s seventh loss in a row. There was a local highlight—Emeralds shortstop Andrew Ely, the former Eagle High star, gave family and friends a thrill with his first Northwest League home run, a three-run shot during Eugene’s four-run fourth inning. The Hawks now hit the road for a five-game series at Tri-City beginning tonight.

After four years in the States, Igor Hadziomerovic is playing hoops at home—and getting paid for it. The former Boise State guard has signed with Melbourne United of the National Basketball League in Australia. Hadziomerovic provided massive amounts of energy during his Bronco career, especially as a senior when BSU won the Mountain West regular season championship. He and fellow Aussie Anthony Drmic came in together and played out of the gate as true freshmen in 2011-12. Drmic remains after using a redshirt year last season.

KTVB.com Mountain West Nugget of the Day: I mentioned the Colorado State stadium project above. There’s an arms race in the conference as schools try to close the facilities gap with Boise State. Elsewhere, Wyoming has announced a $44 million expansion of its football facility, with the state set to cover $20 million of it. Utah State is renovating what used to be known as Romney Stadium. It is now Maverik Stadium. Nevada has an $11.5 million upgrade to Mackay Stadium scheduled to be completed in time for the 2016 season opener. And Fresno State has a four-phase plan for an $80 million overhaul of Bulldog Stadium that would happen over the next five years.

This Day In Sports…August 12, 1978:

In one of the NFL’s most frightening moments, New England wide receiver Darryl Stingley is paralyzed after being tackled by Oakland Raiders safety Jack Tatum in an exhibition game. Tatum, whose unfortunate nickname was “The Assassin,” professed it to be a clean hit, but his style of play was widely scrutinized for the rest of his career. He died in 2009 without ever apologizing to the family of Stingley, who passed away in 2007.

(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.)