Boise State’s summer conditioning and player-run practices wrapped up last Tuesday. That means just one week of a collective exhale for the Broncos, because fall camp begins tomorrow (and the season opens a month from Wednesday).For quarterback Brett Rypien, it’s a chance to demonstrate that 2017 can be a showcase. Rypien feels 2016 represented progress, despite the stumbles at the end of the season. “I think I definitely made strides in my game,” he said at the Mountain West Football Media Summit. There is that asterisk, though. “It’s hard for me to sit here and say I had a great season when we didn’t accomplish our ultimate goal.” The ultimate goal is obvious: the Mountain West championship that has eluded Boise State the past two years.
Rypien finished the season with just 51 completions in 97 attempts over Boise State’s final three games, including the head-scratching 9-for-26 day at Air Force. But the big picture shows he is 17-6 as a starter and is coming off a 10-3 season and a second straight first-team All-Mountain West honor. And you have to believe that being a year older means Rypien is a year wiser. “Over the last couple of years I’ve learned a lot,” said Rypien. “And every loss we’ve had I’ve learned more than I would had we not lost those games.”
Different outlets pick up different things at Mountain West media days. Mark Anderson of the Las Vegas Review-Journal learned that none other than Rypien, Wyoming’s Josh Allen, and Colorado State’s Nick Stevens unwound after last Tuesday night’s photo sessions by walking the Strip. The trio played black jack and three-card poker at three different hotels. “I did better than they did,” Rypien told Anderson, without disclosing any revenue totals. “I love three-card poker. That’s where I won most of my money.” Stevens was kind of along for the ride. “I was just the good-luck charm for them because I didn’t win anything,” the CSU quarterback said. “I was present for them winning money, but it was fun. It was a good time to hang out. Definitely a cool experience.”
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ training camp roster is receiver-heavy, and the first casualty is Thomas Sperbeck, Boise State’s career leader in receiving yards after back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons. Sperbeck, signed by the Bucs as an undrafted free agent just after the NFL Draft in April, was cut by the club yesterday. Tampa Bay remains Bronco-heavy, though, with three Boise State alums still on the team: Doug Martin, Jeremy McNichols and Jonathan Moxey. And, of course, the head Buccaneer is former Boise State coach Dirk Koetter.
Pac-12 Media Days was as much about the Pirate as it was the mystique of Coach Pete. Washington State coach Mike Leach was in his element in Hollywood last Thursday, and the most viral of his quotes was not about Luke Falk’s arm, but about hot dogs. “I don’t like hot dogs. I didn’t like hot dogs when I was a kid,” said Leach. “I’d have bologna sandwich after bologna sandwich, and anything that remotely resembled bologna, I ate it.” It started when someone asked Leach if a hot dog was a sandwich. “No, it’s not a sandwich,” he said. “I’m not into hot dogs. No disrespect to people who like hot dogs. They can have mine. It gives more to them.”
Eventually Leach turned to football stuff, addressing what happened the first two weeks of last season in losses to Eastern Washington and Boise State. And why it won’t be that way this year (the Cougars face the Broncos in Week 2). “I think the biggest thing is that we’re getting older,” said Leach. “We’ve got a little more experience. Last year, we were predominantly freshmen and sophomores and I think we struggled as far as adjusting to being on the field for the first time in some cases. We did some really good things at practice, then we go out there, first game, college football for the first time, all of a sudden eyes got wide and we tried to do too much.” Leach didn’t address his claim that his team was soft after the loss on the blue turf.
Graham DeLaet is hoping for a call from Nick Price for another shot to play in the President’s Cup. He was an integral part of the International team that lost to the Americans in 2013. “It’s one of the most fun weeks I’ve ever had playing golf,” DeLaet said. But the former Boise State star is running out of time to improve his portfolio enough to impress Price, the International captain. DeLaet faded over the weekend in his home country’s biggest golf event, the RBC Canadian Open. He shot a one-over 73 Saturday on what he called “one of those days” after beginning the third round four shots off the lead. DeLaet finished in a tie for 48th in Oakville, Ontario, and pocketed $15,080.
Saturday night, the Boise Hawks finally snapped a losing streak that had reached 10 games when they downed Salem-Keizer 5-3 at Memorial Stadium. Last night the Hawks won again, and—except for the fact they went homerless—looked like their old selves in a 10-4 rout of the Volcanoes. Former Texas A&M outfielder J.B. Moss had Boise’s biggest bat in a 14-hit attack, going 4-for-5 with three runs scored and two RBIs.
This Day In Sports…July 31, 1997, 20 years ago today:
The baseball trade that set the table for history (or infamy?). The Oakland A’s deal slugger Mark McGwire to the St. Louis Cardinals. McGwire at that point had 34 home runs and would hit 24 more with the Cards, for a season total of 58. The next year, of course, he got in a groove in St. Louis and broke Roger Maris’s 37-year-old single-season home run record in a rampage that at the time may have saved baseball…but is now shrouded in a dark cloud.
(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.)