Monday, September 1, 2014

Upon Further Review: Ole Miss-BSU

I took a long look at the 4th quarter of the
Boise St – Ole Miss game. The score was 7-6 and either team had a chance to
win. This is exactly the kind of game Boise State can win this year. BUT, if
they fall 2 scores or more behind and have to throw the ball downfield, forget
about it for now.
Neither the O line nor Hedrick is ready for that. This game illustrated
that.
One of the key match ups had held up very well to this
point, Donte Deayon and Cleshawn Page vs the taller Ole Miss WR’s. The aggressive
one on one coverage worked with both Deayon and Page jamming the receivers at
the line of scrimmage. Once Deayon went out of the game though, it didn’t continue.
 Deayon’s back up, Jonathon Moxey, was
targeted with some success by Ole Miss. Moxey played off Treadwell and got
burned. Page then slipped and couldn’t recover and got muscled by Treadwell for
a TD. Boise State was still in the game though.
Until the offense imploded.
Hedrick underthrew Chaz Anderson on a long ball, Matt Miller
blew a bubble screen block and then Hedrick felt the pressure and forced a
throw for an interception. Then, Darian Thompson played too aggressive and let
an Ole miss receiver slip wide open in the seam, Ioane and Moxey miss tackles
and Ole Miss is up 21-6. Cue the Ole Miss pass rush.
Boise State is now down 2 scores and it’s time to pass the
ball or lose. Ajayi has a nice run, a horrible pass block and Hedrick makes a
bad read and flushes out of the pocket to take a sack. GAME OVER.
Page finally gets beat off the line of scrimmage by Core and
Core breaks two desperate tackles for a 76 yard TD. Ole Miss then ran through
some tired arm tackling by Corey Bell for another TD and whipped Boise State
35-13.
Lessons learned here?
  • 1)   Boise State is not 4 quarters ready vs a Top 25
    opponent. But, do they have to be as good versus the rest of their schedule?
    Can they pass block better against something other than a top SEC pass rush?
    Will the game slow down for Hedrick enough? Will the corners hold up a full
    game not just 3 quarters?
  • 2)     Hedrick must be more decisive with the ball. He held
    it for too long before throwing and then forced passes that were not there.   
  • 3)     
    The offensive line will be attacked in obvious
    pass situations. This line is young and inexperienced in the positions they are
    playing. They got beat one on one and didn’t pick up the blitz or stunts at
    times. Baggett especially had a rough 4
    th quarter at right tackle. Only
    time will tell.
  • 4)     
    The defense is good enough to keep games close
    and give the offense a chance to jell. If Boise State gets down early and has
    to pass to beat an opponent, I don’t like their chances right now. More
    pressure for Marcel Yates.
  • 5)     
    The team was prepared and is better than last year’s
    team. For now.    
  •  


Sunday, August 24, 2014

Boise State Ghostbusters

When I read and hear Boise State saying that they want to live up to undefeated Fiesta Bowl winning seasons, I wonder if that is the right message to be sending. While it is innocent enough to be nostalgic, I don’t see the benefit in chasing ghosts. This should not be the Boise State Ghostbusters.
I think they have enough work ahead of them just to be competitive in big games, let alone win them.  The teams of yesteryear won big games at home, on the road and against BCS teams. Since the 2011 season, Boise State only has two stand out wins to me. The Vegas bowl win over a 7-6 Washington team, which featured the MVP of the game from the losing Huskies. And, a 7-6 win at home over an 8-5 BYU team. Boise State never scored offensively and got 5 BYU turnovers. WOW.
Last season, Boise State was defeated 38-6 by Washington. In the second half, Boise State trailed BYU 31-6 and Oregon State 38-6. They lost 5 games total including their 2nd in a row to San Diego State.  OUCH.
The 2014 Boise State team will line up the same QB and RB versus Ole Miss that ended the season in the Hawaii Bowl. They return 75% of all the WR touchdown production in Miller, SWR and Ware. 2 of the 5 starting o- lineman are back and 3 of 4 tight ends. And, 8 starters on defense and 21 of 27 players listed on the defensive depth chart vs Oregon State will line up in Atlanta.
 It’s the same team.
And, it is hard to argue that they will line up anybody better at DE, DT or WR then the seniors from last years’ team. I think the TE’s will be an upgrade. And, the better younger players should make their biggest career improvements.
So, let’s be realistic.
Winning a watered down MWC championship would be great. Being competitive versus Ole Miss and BYU seems more realistic. Winning any way possible at home versus Colorado St, Louisiana, Fresno State, San Diego State and Utah State is good enough. Any dominating or narrow win on the road is a real accomplishment. That’s it. Wins should be celebrated. No more “who cares if we beat Toledo on the road 40-15 or Wyoming 36-14 at home?” attitudes.   
This team has to earn their own stripes and not worry about the past. The fan base should focus on what is not was.  And, the future looks like more of the same. This team will be back next year for the most part only minus Hedrick, Miller and probably Ajayi. Get used to it.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

4 Broncos to Watch


This fall camp has brought at least 4 players to my attention.
None have game experience but should factor in this fall.  
When the Fruitland Grizzly haul was made back in 2013, it
was Joe
Martarano
that had fans buzzing. Dhaenens (6’3” 240) was coming off an ACL
tear in his knee during his senior year and what was once a deal breaker in
recruiting became a mission for both Boise State and Dhaenens’. It was Boise
State’s to prove he was still worth a scholarship and Dhaenens to earn it.  He turned down Washington State and Nevada as
well for the chance.
The pay-off is about to happen. The Boise State prototype
tight end can block, run pass patterns and is smart on the field. Think Jeb
Putzier (6’4” 256), Derek Shouman (6’2 223) and Richie Brockel (6’1” 255). All NFL
guys.  Dhaenens could be the next big
deal. While he didn’t play in the scrimmage last Friday, he is still expected
to be the best all-around tight end on the roster.  Think great pass catcher like Putzier,
tenacious blocking ala Shouman and Brockel smarts.    
Roh has been impressed coaches in camp. Roh red-shirted his freshman
year after coming to Boise State from Scottsdale, Arizona. Roh was a finalist
for the best player in Arizona and works into the pass game like a WR. He has
great movement and at 6’3” 228 could provide match up issues for defenses. I
look for Roh to be one of the most active TE in the shift and motion packages
for Boise State.
James had a slow start at Boise State. After choosing Boise
State over Arizona and Arizona State, he red- shirted his first year. During
fall camp last year, he tore his ACL and had to miss the entire year. So, after
not playing a game in 2 years, he is ready to take the field for Boise State at
Nickel, Free Safety or Strong Safety. He had a big hit last Friday giving Marcel
Yates exactly what he is looking for in his defense.  


Anderson played at Loyola High School in downtown Los
Angeles. Only caught 14 balls his senior year and is the odds on favorite to be
the third amigo with Miller and SWR. Anderson needed to gain some weight out of
high school and is now up to 182 but has great bursts of speed.  He turned down San Diego State to become a Bronco. 

Sunday, July 27, 2014

NFL Gets Leveraged

So you think the NFL went too light on Ray Rice? What about how the legal system handled it? The NFL suspended him 2 games. It will cost Rice over $500,000 plus legal fees and lost endorsements.  Read all about it here. He has been judged by everyone who never saw what happened before he was caught on video dragging his fiance out of the elevator and trying to pick her up. They both admitted to using their hands and hitting one another. She was initially charged with assault. Did she pass out from alcohol or drugs? Was she delirious? Is Ray Rice a criminal who batters women?



HOW DO WE KNOW?



I bet the NFL has a fairly good idea. And, they know hitting an athlete in the pocketbook is the worst penalty.



Why don't we have media outrage against Domestic Abuse laws? The law that let him go without trial and sent him to a counselor. The prosecutors had all the facts and decided to go that rout. Where is the outrage for that process?



The NFL is being leveraged by allot of people climbing up on a soapbox.Some people are jealous of the attention the league commands and want to bring it down a few pegs.

I can't even watch women box or fight MMA style. I don't need a high profile football player to speak out against or to blame the NFL.

Besides, people tend to forgive and forget anyway. Check out this list of "celebrities and athletes" involved in Domestic Abuse. Rice is now just another name on a list to get upset over.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Mountain West Marathon begins

Each summer since Boise State joined the Mountain West Conference, the media has feasted on stories about Coach Pete, conference changes and great QB's during the annual Media Days. Boise State first started coming to Las Vegas to preview the up coming season July of 2011. At that time, they were a 2 time Fiesta Bowl winning team and were loaded with stars and more BCS game hopes for the Mountain West. BYU, Utah and TCU had either left the conference or were planning too. Kellen Moore was on top of the world and Ryan Lindley of SDSU was expected to be a  NFL prospect. Coach Pete was busy explaining why he didn't think bigger was better and sincerely said he had no intentions of leaving Boise State. In the summer of 2012, Boise State was off to the Big East, TCU had left and the conference was reeling from a Conf USA merger that was cancelled and instead added San Jose State and Utah State. Kellen Moore was gone and the big QB on campus was Fresno State's Derek Carr. Coach Pete speculation had really quieted down and most thought he was rejuvenated by the Big East move and life after Kellen challenge. Last year, the Coach Pete is Beat drum was loud and the national media got the story that he could leave. Boise State was staying in the Mountain West but nobody knew when the merry go round of college football conference movement would stop. Derek Carr was obviously the best QB of the conference but San Jose's David Fales and Wyoming's Brett Smith were considered NFL guys.

Well, now what?   
The 2014 Media Days begin Tuesday and things have changed in the area of Coach Pete, conference speculation and great MWC QB's. 

Coach Pete: These questions will be answered by Bryan Harsin. Can the Assistant turn into the Professor? If we are thinking that Harsin can join Pete as one of the greats in college football , it is unlikely. Sporting News ranked the top College Football coaches and three of the Top 10 were hired to replace a legend at the same school they once served as an assistant. Saban, Spurrier, Meyer, Stoops and Kelly all have done it differently. As did Petersen, Shaw and Fisher. It's possible but not a slam dunk. 

Conference-a-palozza: The focus has turned to if the MWC can keep up with the Power 5. Looks like the big schools have shut the door to expansion and are preparing to hoard all the money. The talking points won't be about getting new schools to join or holding onto rising stars. Rather, who can afford stipends and who can't? Seems like a new reality is creeping in and the middle class is being pushed down to lower class.
QB's: The best player, Utah State's Chuckie Keeton has a major knee injury to over come and almost an entirely new offensive line. Colorado States Garret Grayson was a slow starter last season and only had 23 tds vs 11 interceptions. Nevada's Cody Fajardo, while a true dual threat QB, only has 39 TD passes in 3 years and has never started more then 8 games in a row due to injury. BUT, if Keeton/Fajardo puts it together they can dominate the MWC and be a 3-4th round NFL pick.
It's time to get these new questions answered. 

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Vandals go Quiet

When the U of I enters the Sun Belt for football and the Big
Sky Conference for everything else 7/1/14,  it will be very quietly. I don’t sense they
are proud of it. Kind of reminds me of that guy who finally has a date to the
prom but they are “just friends.” They have to take the bus to get there and
slip in the back door so they aren’t really seen. He tells himself that at
least he will have the memory of going and he will collect money from his
friends who said he could never get a date in the first place.
Yea, it’s a B rated movie.  
The players and potential recruits shouldn’t see much
difference. The Olympic sports teams will be trading in trips to Las Cruces (
fly to El Paso) , Bakersfield ( fly to LAX) , Orem ( fly to SLC), Phoenix,
Chicago, Kansas City, Seattle and Edinburg, Texas ( fly into McAllen) for some Big
Sky trips. Buses will be loaded to Bozeman, Missoula, Cheney, and probably Pocatello.
Heck they still get to fly to Portland, SLC, PHX, Denver and Sacramento. If you
are 18-22 years old that stuff matters. I call it a push. If you want to go to
U of I, the schedule won’t stop you in any sport. Football players will go
explore Alabama, Texas, Georgia, Kentucky, Arkansas and Louisiana.  Players who have more talent on average will
gravitate to schools up the food chain.
Everybody knows that.
And, everybody is okay with it publicly. The President, AD
and coaches all seem to think while it isn’t ideal, they need the money. It
sounds desperate. It doesn’t sound too prideful or mighty. But, it is reality.  
What should the fans think? I don’t believe they will ever
engage in football and the other sports will take years to re-create these so
called rivalries. Until winning big starts happening. But, in the meantime, they
will cheer against whatever team the U of I plays and that will be that.


Oh well.  

Sunday, June 15, 2014

America is red white and BLUE

The last few days in the national sports scene have been a Paul J buffet of options. World Cup soccer, NBA finals, NHL Stanley Cup finals and our countries golf championship the US Open.

Great weekend to honor the US Flag  and all the great athletes who dominate the world right?

Wrong.

In soccer, the USA soccer coach said publicly it wasn't realistic to think we have a shot of winning the World Cup. Wonder what he says behind closed doors? Whle Klinsmann is a German citizen, he said in 2013 he was going to get around to the paperwork of becoming a US citizen and vote in a presidential election.

Ok.

Doesn't matter, bottom line is the US is not a soccer power. We can't even hire a good American coach and we don't have one single player in the TOP 50 in the world. But, we do dominate in basketball right?

Maybe.

The best team in the NBA Finals has been the San Antonio Spurs. While I think their top player has been Kawhi Leonard, an American, he couldn't do it without the United Nations around him. The Spurs are made up of an Italian (Belinelli), two Frenchman (Parker/Diaw), Argentenian (Ginobili), Australian (Mills) and a Brazilian (Splitter).

America's Best Team has been imported.

The US Open ,as of Sunday am, had been dominated by a German (Kaymer) who threatened to run away with the tourney. I don't know what we expected anyway, the USA has only won 3 of the last 10 US Opens.

At least we have the Stanley Cup Champ LA Kings! Ironically, in a sport dominated by Canadiens, the Kings roster didnt feature alot of Americans just good ones. The Kings roster is 83% non-American but featured an American captain (Brown), hero(Martinez) and goalie (Quick). We are on a roll!



What is our problem? I blame the buffet. The buffet of options for a kid in the USA. You can do whatever you want here and apparently whenever you want to. And, our kids would rather sit down and do it  in front of a computer.