We often talk about players with intangibles. How about coaches? Winston Venable had the intangibles as a player at Boise State, and now he personifies that as the Broncos’ new running backs coach. Venable took his turn on the Zoom media series Friday, and his energy popped, just like it did in 2009-10. At a time when junior college transfers didn’t often break through for the Broncos, Venable thrived those two years. His 2009 season ended with a game-sealing interception of TCU’s Andy Dalton in the Fiesta Bowl. Venable’s senior year saw him record 5.5 sacks as Boise State rose to as high as No. 2 in the rankings.
Venable waxed eloquent on George Holani during his media session Friday as only Venable can. What’s next for Holani? “The next step for George is to just take his mentality to the next level,” said Venable. “And that’s not like an ego thing, and it’s not ‘I’m the biggest, baddest dude on the planet. But what it is, is ‘I’m not a freshman anymore, and I’m comin’.’” Venable should bring it out of him. Holani, of course, extended the Broncos’ streak of 1,000-yard rushers to a nation’s best 10 straight seasons. Now, Venable plays the moxie card as Holani enters his sophomore season. “Maturity, leadership—that’s George’s next step,” said Venable. “Watch out for what he’s going to do on the field.”
CORREA’S STATUS CLIMBS WITH THE TITANS
Kamalei Correa’s NFL career appears to have settled into a groove as it enters its fifth season. The former Boise State star has been re-signed by the Tennessee Titans to a one-year, $3.5 million contract after his 2019 season peaked in the playoffs. Correa started five of 16 regular-season games and logged 37 tackles and five sacks, tied for second on the team. But he started all three of Tennessee’s postseason games, making 16 stops with two sacks. Correa spent his first two years with Baltimore after being drafted in the second round in 2016 after bypassing his senior year with the Broncos. He never quite gained traction with the Ravens, with 19 tackles combined.
ALSTON’S AWARE OF THE RETURNING ROSTER
As Boise State standout Derrick Alston tries to figure out what the NBA’s pre-draft process is going to be like, it must be tempting to return to the Broncos. The newly-shorn Alston was asked about the redshirt riches that the program will unleash next season, and what it was like practicing against it. “They brought it with pride every single day,” said Alston. “That was kind of their game time, you know, playing against us on scout team. They’re all high-energy guys and can do a lot of different things, so it’s going to be exciting when they get on the court.” Nevertheless, Alston didn’t tip his hand as to whether he’ll be among them. Four Division I transfers will be eligible when the 2020-21 season starts.
SUTTON: FROM CSI ROOTS TO THE HALL OF FAME
Talk of the 2020 Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame induction class has been dominated by Tim Duncan and the late Kobe Bryant, and rightfully so. But here we have to acknowledge Eddie Sutton. College of Southern Idaho’s remarkable run as a JC power began when Sutton founded the program in 1966 and coached the Golden Eagles for their first three seasons. He later went on to become the only coach to lead four different schools into the NCAA Tournament—Sutton made three Final Fours. One other hoops note: a correction from yours truly. Trinity Slocum is only a junior, so she’s not graduating from Mountain View High this spring. She sure seemed like a senior. At any rate, sister Destiny’s destination as a graduate transfer after departing Oregon State won’t depend on Trinity’s college decision.
SHOLL’S ROLL INTERRUPTED, BUT RECOGNIZED
Tomas Sholl wasn’t able to finish what he started this season. But the Idaho Steelheads netminder was impressive enough when the clock suddenly struck midnight 3½ weeks ago to be named first-team All-ECHL on Friday. It would follow that Sholl would be named ECHL Goaltender of the Year, right? He led the league in 2019-20 with 28 wins and a 2.14 goals-against average and was second with five shutouts. Sholl has been a shutout machine since joining the Steelheads just over two years ago. He has 12 in his career, an Idaho record. What I’ve always found fascinating about Sholl is that he isn’t from, say, the northern stretches of Saskatchewan. He was born in Hermosa Beach, CA, and began playing organizational hockey with the Los Angeles Jr. Kings.
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April 6, 2015, five years ago today: Duke and coach Mike Krzykewski win their fifth national championship with a 68-63 win over Wisconsin in the NCAA Tournament final in Indianapolis. The Badgers seemed like a team of destiny as they rolled into their first title game in 74 years. They built a nine-point lead with 13 minutes to go in the game before the Blue Devils methodically made it evaporate. Of Duke’s 68 points, 60 were scored by freshmen, a championship game record. The victory lifted Krzykewski into sole possession of second place in all-time national titles behind UCLA’s John Wooden, who won 10.
(Tom Scott hosts the Scott Slant segment during the football season on KTVB’s Sunday Sports Extra and anchors five sports segments each weekday on 93.1 FM KTIK. He also served as color commentator on KTVB’s telecasts of Boise State football for 14 seasons.)