The gap between Boise State’s regular season and bowl game allows us to cast an eye on next season. One of the best ways to do that every year is to check out the Broncos’ Scout Team Players of the Year. More often than not, they produce big things down the line. On offense this season it’s wide receiver Shea Whiting. Instead of playing in the allowed four games for true freshmen this season, the Broncos have kept Whiting under wraps. Zero in on his 6-2, 184-pound frame, and you see an opportunity with John Hightower graduating. The Defensive Scout Team Player of the Year is linebacker Josh Booker-Brown, a late arrival from junior college. Booker-Brown should help Boise State’s immensely—especially at 6-3, 240 pounds. Coincidentally, both guys are from Houston.
WEAVER’S FIRST MAJOR HONOR IS IN
Curtis Weaver’s initial first-team All-America award comes from CBS Sports. The Boise State star is the only defensive player on the first team from a Group of 5 school. Weaver’s Mountain West-leading 13.5 sacks and 18.5 tackles-for-loss rank fifth and ninth nationally, respectively. He has recorded at least one sack in eight games this season and tied the Broncos’ single-game record with four against Portland State in September. We’re still awaiting Weaver’s “declaring early for the NFL” announcement.
CAN UNLV FOOTBALL BE A HAPPENING?
Making UNLV relevant in football is a huge undertaking, but the Rebels have hired a new coach who might have a chance. Oregon offensive coordinator Marcus Arroyo replaces Tony Sanchez, fired a week and a half ago after a 20-40 record in five seasons. Arroyo has deep roots in the West and has been a respected offensive mind since his playing days at San Jose State from 1999-2002. His introductory news conference will be Friday morning at the Fertitta Football Complex. And there’s the key. Will Arroyo be able to make UNLV’s facilities translate into talent and on-field success? The $34.8 million Fertitta building opened this fall, and the Rebels move into the Raiders’ new stadium next season.
SO, THERE’S AN OPENING IN EUGENE
James Crepea of the Oregonian tweeted Wednesday that Boise State’s Zak Hill is one of “six potential candidates for Oregon offensive coordinator.” Hill would be a good fit with the Ducks, and the money would certainly be attractive (just ask Andy Avalos). Hill has masterfully juggled his three quarterbacks this year and gotten the most out of them, and all-in-all it’s been a pretty good play-calling season. Three (and perhaps all four) of the Broncos’ touchdowns in the Mountain West championship game against Hawaii last week were a product of creativity.
ADDAZIO WILL STILL FACE THE BRONCOS
Steve Addazio will get to play Boise State after all—next year on the blue turf. Addazio was recently fired at Boston College, which was supposed to play the Broncos the day after Christmas last December at the First Responder Bowl in Dallas. Then came the thunder-boomer cancellation. Addazio has now been hired as the new head coach at Colorado State. Addazio’s record is eerily similar to that of the departed Mike Bobo, with a lot of 7-6 seasons. Addazio was 44-44 in his seven seasons at Boston College. Bobo was 28-35 in five campaigns at CSU.
This is a head-scratcher of a hire. How about this acidic tweet from The Athletic’s Stewart Mandel: “I can’t imagine how frustrating it must be for candidates trying to get their first head coaching job and you see Colorado State hire a guy with a 57-55 career record who former BC players (including a Heisman finalist) openly celebrated his dismissal.” We’ll see how it all plays out the next few seasons.
BOISE STATE GETS ‘CANED IN TULSA
A road game at Tulsa resembles a Mountain West road game enough that it can be enlightening. The Golden Hurricane, like Boise State, are a mid-major team, after all. But there’s not much the Broncos can take from this one, as they were pummeled 69-56 in a game that wasn’t as close as the final score indicated Wednesday night. Boise State’s big guns, Derrick Alston and Justinian Jessup, were cold, scoring 10 and three points, respectively. In fact, for the game, Boise State was 6-for-29 from three-point range, and those not named R.J. Williams went 12-for-41 from the field. Williams posted another double-double with 19 points and 10 rebounds.
MCGWIRE GOUGES THE COUGARS
The non-conference schedule has been a grind for the Boise State women, but they got another quality win out of it Wednesday night in Extra Mile Arena. The Broncos downed BYU 66-55 in the first meeting between the two teams in 17 years, largely because of the inside work of Mallory McGwire. The junior post put up 15 points, pulled down 14 rebounds and blocked four shots. A’Shanti Coleman led Boise State with 19 points, and Riley Lupfer drained four three-pointers on her way to 15 points. The Broncos held the Cougars to 31 percent shooting from the field.
STEELIES FADE IN THE THIRD
The Fort Wayne Komets made their first-ever visit to Boise count Wednesday night, beating the Idaho Steelheads 4-2 in CenturyLink Arena. After a scoreless first period, the teams traded goals in the second. Then the Komets exploded early in the third with two goals less than 2½ minutes apart to go up 3-1. Steelheads captain A.J. White made it interesting on a tally with 3:17 left in regulation, but Fort Wayne potted an empty-netter 17 seconds later to put it away.
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December 12, 1985: One of the greatest two-sport athletes in history wins the Heisman Trophy. Auburn tailback Bo Jackson took the award by just 45 votes over Iowa quarterback Chuck Long in the closest Heisman vote ever. Jackson would go on to star for the Los Angeles Raiders and in baseball for three different big league teams before his career was derailed by a hip injury in the 1991 AFC Playoffs. He is the only athlete ever to be named an All-Star in two major American sports.
(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.)