The Aussie stirs the sauce again

When Anthony Drmic was held scoreless twice in a four-game span in January, it looked like a gut punch. When Anthony Drmic was held scoreless twice in a four-game span in January, it looked like his hopes of overtaking Tanoka Beard as Boise State’s career scoring leader had taken a severe gut punch. Drmic’s season scoring average dropped two full points to 12.9 points per game, below the pace he’d need to break the record. But you’ve seen a rejuvenated Drmic since coach Leon Rice started bringing him off the bench, and with 51 points in his past two games, the record is still on the horizon for the Australian senior. He needs 58 points now to pass Beard’s total of 1,944, with a minimum of four games left (no guarantee beyond that). Easy math: Drmic needs to average 14.5 points per game. There’s drama comin’ down the pike.

One of those two scoreless nights suffered by Drmic was the first time Boise State faced San Diego State this season, the 56-53 loss in Taco Bell Arena. That’s the game that saw the Broncos go 1-for-17 from three-point range. Sounds like Drmic must have had a nightmare night from beyond the arc, but he was just 0-for-2 (0-for-3 from the field overall). Now, here’s what plays into Drmic looking like the Drmic of old. He said on KBOI after his 21-point game against UNLV Tuesday night that his nerve-damaged leg had been evaluated again, and that it was “70 percent.” Doesn’t sound particularly good—but, Drmic said, “It was 50 percent a couple months ago.”

The Broncos still don’t know whether they’ll have James Webb III for Saturday’s matchup at Mountain West leader San Diego State. The knee Webb injured late in the win over UNLV was evaluated yesterday, and Boise State said it will issue an update today. What would life be like for the Broncos in Viejas Arena without one of the conference’s top players? “You guys are no dummies,” Rice told the media after Tuesday’s game. “He’s a pretty integral piece to this whole puzzle. We need James Webb out on the floor.”

A column this week by veteran college football writer Pete Fiutak at CampusInsiders.com dredges up the old Big 12 expansion theories again. Fiutak paints three scenarios—all of them his. First, the conference could add two teams: Cincinnati and Connecticut or BYU and Boise State/Colorado State. Or, it could all all four. “Do this, and the conference gets the reach and expansion outside of the middle of America,” writes Fiutak. “This becomes a more national conference, the TV deals would change and improve, and the basketball side would have even more juice to go along with the football improvements.” Or, he theorizes, the Big 12 could go after Clemson, Florida State, Georgia Tech and/or Miami (good luck with that).

What Fiutak really likes: “Expand by two, then align forces with the Pac-12. The Big 12 takes on BYU and either Boise State or Colorado State to become a 12-team league. Then, even with non-conference slates set years in advance, the Big 12 and Pac-12 shoehorn their way into a sort of challenge—even if it means cutting the respective conference schedules to eight games—with at least one game on the slate involving a matchup with one another. Yeah, it’s crazy and it’ll never happen. But four years ago, there wasn’t going to be a College Football Playoff, either.” (Nowhere in Fiutak’s column does he make a distinction between Boise State and Colorado State. But we went through this last summer. CSU has the advantage in academics, which is important. The Broncos have the advantage in winning tradition and national brand.)

Mock drafts abound, but not many go this deep. Chad Reuter unveiled a four-round mock draft this week at NFL.com, and he has all three of Boise State top prospects on his docket. Reuter has safety Darian Thompson tabbed as the second pick of the second round, going to Tennessee. Kamalei Correa is listed as the second pick of the third round, slated for Cleveland (and yes, Correa is listed as an outside linebacker). Reuter sees Rees Odhiambo as a fourth-rounder, headed to Baltimore. All three are at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis this week, with the still-rehabbing Odhiambo expected to pass on his on-field drills tomorrow. Correa’s position group competes on Sunday and Thompson’s on Monday.

Other Mountain West players included in Reuter’s four rounds are Utah State linebacker Kyler Fackrell (second round), Colorado State wide receiver Rashard Higgins (third round), and USU wideout Hunter Sharp (fourth round). Incidentally, Reuter has two FCS players being taken in the draft before a single Group of Five representative goes in the first round, North Dakota State quarterback Carson Wentz and Eastern Kentucky defensive end Noah Spence.

Well, it happened. Star goalie Jack Campbell has been recalled from the Idaho Steelheads to the AHL’s Texas Stars via a Dallas transaction. Campbell has been central to the Steelheads surge since the holidays, going 14-5 while leading the ECHL in goals-against average at 1.68 and save percentage at 94.4 percent. Hopefully the Dallas and/or Texas organizations will send someone worthy the Steelheads’ way, like Phillippe Desrosiers, who has gone 5-5 with the AHL Stars since leaving Boise. Until then, it’s Branden Komm’s job between the pipes. The Steelies have a couple of crucial dates with the Utah Grizzlies this weekend in CenturyLink Arena.

Troy Merritt’s taking the week off from the PGA Tour as the circuit swings to Florida. The former Boise State star had planned that, even before his strong showing at the Northern Trust Open last week. Merritt has the luxury of picking his spots, as he’s higher on the tour priority list after his first career victory last summer. Graham DeLaet and Tyler Aldridge are playing the Honda Classic, though, teeing off today in Palm Beach Gardens, FL. DeLaet is due for a good performance, as he has struggled since his tie for seventh at the Sony Open more than two months ago. He has missed his last two cuts.

Oregon Tech coach Dan Miles didn’t want his 45-year run as a head coach to end quite yet, so his Owls ended the College of Idaho men’s season last night in Caldwell in the first round of the Cascade Conference Tournament. OIT romped 79-58 over the Yotes, who finish 17-13. Elsewhere, the Boise State women lost their fourth in a row on the heels of an eight-game winning streak, falling 78-68 last night at UNLV.

The Idaho Youth Sports Commission’s second annual banquet and auction is coming up Saturday night at the Steuckle Sky Center, with Kellen Moore the featured speaker. One of IYSC’s goals is putting the fun back into team sports. One of the key organizational values of the organization is: “There is a place for all abilities, and providing every athlete the opportunity to play.” The IYSC also feels kids need to experience a variety of sports. Moore’s observations will be interesting. The Dallas Cowboys quarterback did not exactly play a variety of sports growing up. He was all about football, but he kept it in perspective.

This Day In Sports…February 25, 1982:

Boise State fires Mike Mullally as athletic director after a public outcry over his priority seating plan in Bronco Stadium and names 28-year-old assistant athletic director Gene Bleymaier to the post. That would begin a Bleymaier tenure that would last almost 30 years, encompassing the installation of the blue turf in 1986, a move to Division I-A and the Big West in 1996, a move to the WAC in 2001, eight hostings of the NCAA Tournament, and Bronco football’s climb into the top 10 early in the new century. Bleymaier was fired by president Bob Kustra in August, 2011.

(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.)