Sunday, April 13, 2014

Lift Fast or Lift More?

Power football. Two tight ends and two backs and up the gut we go. How long has it been that Boise State has been able to execute that? One reason they got away from it was to cater to the pocket passing of Kellen Moore. The strength of the team was with the ball in his hands and working off that to unleash Doug Martin. The run first Boise State offensive lines from tackle to tackle have been in decline. They were trained to have speed and stay injury free. Former strength coach Tim Socha was all about speed in everything
the Broncos did. They even bench pressed fast.
But did they use enough weight?
Did the offensive lineman spend as much time working on their 20 and 40 yard dash times as they did power cleans, dead lifts or throwing tractor tires around? The debate rages on in strength training but maybe new strength coach Jeff Pitman will return the offensive line to a group that doesn’t have to throw the ball on 3rd and 1 which Boise State did in the spring game. The bigger runs that Jay Ajayi had were off tackle and
in space. For this team to run downhill, they need to do it between the tackles and just move people back. It may take until 2015 but I believe that effort is underway.
Here is what caught my attention at the Spring scrimmage:

ATTENDANCE: Only 13,882? Well since you could take up two seats with one butt that sounds about right. It just looked like more and I don’t understand why Boise State doesn’t scan tickets on the way in other then they don’t want to turn anyone away.
And that’s a good thing.

OFFENSE: Looks like the shot gun snap needs some work. Marcus Henry had 4 or five low and to the left snaps to the QB. That will have to change or the offense will never find a rhythm. The reverse to Shane
Williams-Rhodes is alive and well. He has the speed to break it and defenses will have to honor him and that will provide openings between the tackle and guard. The offense inability to sustain drives was obvious BUT the big play is still a nice return to the scheme and gives me lotsa hope for the 14 season. I like the statue of liberty too. Thomas Sperbeck is playing like he will be the 3rd WR on the field. He showed some strength dragging Jeremy Ioane for extra yardage and caught 6 balls. He can also throw on the move.  Beyond him though, this WR group needs some more talent.  And the only freshman coming in the Fall is Sean Modster.  Modster is a potential deep threat Boise State needs badly.  Jake Roh will be real good at TE and made some nice catches. Devin Demas can provide some big plays here and there but the rest of the back up RB’s seem average. Maybe incoming freshman Jeremy McNichols or Cory Young can have instant impact.

DEFENSE: Much quieter effort by Dylan Sumner Gardner. He will play in the Fall I still think. But we did see the emergence again of Joey Martarano making 5 tackles and Blake Renaud stuffing the run which is his best attribute. Tyler Horn, Corey Bell, the player of the spring on defense, Gabe Perez, and Darren Lee pressured the QB well. Coach Yates may have also found a extra DB in Dionza Blue who made an impressive interception.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

BSU Scrimmage Suprises

The first open scrimmage of the Harsin era at Boise State
was different, for a lot of reasons. The practice was open to the BSU faculty
and students and the groups were also offered a tour of the new football
facility. Harsin also reorganized the day to include Junior Day for recruits
and their families to get an in depth look at the program. It paid off as 4
star Qb Brett Rypien and Pocatello LB Kyler Manu both gave a verbal to the school.
Harsin will do it again next Saturday. The previous staff had juniors in but didn’t
put them on display as much as they did Saturday. Other differences were the
students being invited to participate in an on field promotion before the
scrimmage began, an enthusiastic welcome to the crowd by Coach Harsin,
cheerleaders, concessions, and most noticeably, loud contemporary music during
the entire practice.
It was a marketing machine type affair.
Most of us though came to see the newest edition of the Boise State team. It is always difficult to evaluate a team scrimmage because for every good play there is a bad one. I, though, came away
with a tremendous feeling about the play making ability of the group. For me, I don’t care who they beat on a given play. Last season this team lacked explosiveness.
This practice they showed some. Here is a position group
look at what stood out to me:
DB: Cleshawn Page and Corey Bell took interceptions to the house; this team desperately needs
turnovers for points. Bell also was disruptive in the backfield and had a sack.
Freshman Dylan Sumner-Gardner, DSG, was a beast at times with an interception,
a few big hits and a few other tackles. He also made an error in the end zone
on a pass interference but he is only 18. Dillon Lukehart made a big hit and
had a key pass break up.
LB: Freshman Joe Martarano made a few plays at the end of the scrimmage to announce his
candidacy for playing time. Wouldn’t that be nice?
DL: Beau Martin and Armand Nance had sacks. Gabe Perez made 2 nice TFLs, one on Jay Ajayi and
had a huge goal line stop on Derrick Thomas. Nick Terry showed promise with a
sack. On a 2nd down play Tyler Horn got in the backfield to disrupt things and followed that up on 3rd and long with QB pressure beating OT Steven Baggett to kill the drive.  DE Sam Mccaskill dominated at times with a TFL on Thomas and a sack on Finley. The group was productive and disruptive not absent like last season at times.  
RB: Not a great day but I have way more confidence in Fields and Demas to get the job done in
relief of Ajayi. Thomas looks a step slow. Ajayi runs like a bull in a china shop and ripped off some impressive ones.
WR: Miller made an acrobatic 25 yard catch and is solid. I was most impressed by Dallas
Burroughs who made a long ball catch proving that he could be the answer this
offense desperately needs to stretch the defense. Troy Ware caught balls
instead of dropping them when he was open. And Shane Williams- Rhodes proved he
can catch the ball in traffic when he tight roped a sideline catch, didn’t drop
a punt and had a huge double reverse run.
TE: Were used in short to intermediate routes but didn’t stand out much and will need to improve
their blocking skills. They were also the only motion package Harsin really showed.
OL: Not unusual for the O line to be behind the D line this early. I don’t expect much from
this group til the opener in August. They will also benefit from a thicker play book to keep the defense honest.
QB: Hedrick had some great runs and throws and showed enough playmaking skills to keep me
wanting more from him. Finley looked lost at times and Stuart just doesn’t seem
ready at all to me. This group needs much more time but if Hedrick doesn’t turn
the ball over he has enough skill to compliment the rest of the offense.  

For an early spring scrimmage, it had plenty of fireworks and this team needs it.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Who knew Rice was in play?

The story disappeared as quickly as it made an appearance. On
Monday 3/24, we interviewed Spokesmen Review reporter Jacob Thorpe on KTIK about
the vacant Washington State basketball job. He said Boise State’s Leon Rice had
been approached by school reps and said he wasn’t interested. Rice had been
turning down interview requests in Boise, and we had no other sources to speak
too. The social media world was dead to the idea of even speculating he would
leave or that WSU was interested. We took few if any calls on the story and no
other local media reports surfaced.
Until Friday.
Thorpe reported Rice interviewed Wednesday and was probably offered the job. Andy Katz of ESPN killed the story at midnight Friday saying Rice was staying. Boise State sent out a release confirming it by 4:50pm Saturday.
Story over.
The fact that nobody here locally chased down flight reports, Leon’s exact whereabouts and reported much of anything probably reflects the lack of interest in the story. Reporters are burnt out on having done so many “Coach Pete is leaving stories.” Few, if any, local boosters actually know what is going on. And, I think, we in the media have all become increasingly concerned with social media criticism from die hard fans. After all, they can call us out to the entire twitter verse, blame us for the coach leaving and it gets ugly
 Oh well.
We will try to get some fan reaction to the story Monday and I will be surprised if many fans participate. The story broke on a Friday afternoon and was solved 24 hours later. A reporter in Spokane, a ESPN reporter in Connecticut and a Sports Information Director in Boise filled in the blanks. Many fans didn’t
even know there WAS a story. I think it was very important and says a lot about
how fans, WSU and BSU feel about Rice and his program.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Kustra doesnt like guns at Bronco Stadium or TB Arena

I know many of you have heard about the bill to remove from the State Board of Education and the administrations of public universities and colleges in Idaho the right, currently held, to prohibit weapons on their campuses. It has passed the Idaho Senate and now awaits a hearing in the House. I have very serious concerns about the bill and its implications and have spoken out against it in recent media. I should note that every public college and university president in our state and every member of the State Board of Education, with responsibility for K-20 schools in Idaho, also oppose the bill. I think it's important for everyone in the Boise State family to know and understand my concerns about this bill.

Bob Kustra, President Boise State University

  • An 'Open Carry' Law: This bill permits those with certain permits to carry concealed weapons on campus except in residence halls and in public entertainment facilities with seating capacity of 1000 or more. Naturally, folks are focusing on this being about concealed weapons being allowed on campus. But under Idaho law, anyone with a concealed carry permit can also openly carry a weapon.

    So that means this bill would allow students and others to strap weapons openly on their hips or across their shoulders as they stroll across campus or enter their classrooms. Ironically, while they would be prohibited from carrying a concealed weapon into Bronco Stadium or the Morrison Center, we could not prohibit anyone with a permit from openly carrying their weapons into either of those venues or into Taco Bell Arena.

    We have no idea how much this will affect booking entertainment and athletic events into Taco Bell Arena or conferences into the Student Union Building, but staff warns that it will surely have a chilling effect on these opportunities and revenues based on weapon-ban requirements by these groups in past booking contracts.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

NBA not HOT here

If you don’t watch the NBA on a fairly regular basis you
probably also don’t like Snoop Dog. Or Pharrell. Or, Busta Rhymes for that
matter. You also probably prefer your All Star roster to be introduced by a
public address announcer or play by play guy. Not in between Pharrell and Snoop
Dog live performances. You prefer your rock stars pants to be pulled up and lyrics
to be about nightmares (Sandman) or a Stairway to Heaven. You have to leave the
room if the songs are about getting lucky at midnight or big fat booties. You may
even prefer defense and three point shooting. I can understand why you wouldn’t
watch the NBA All Star game then. They have another idea on how the game should
be played or enjoyed. I prefer their version. But, the NBA isn’t too hot around
The NBA All Star Game screamed AT THE TOP OF ITS LUNGS that
this was an urban league and they like it that way. No defense, dunks, funk and
BET stars were all on display. They even got President Obama to let Charles
Barkley interview him. And talk basketball. It really illuminates what the NBA
represents culturally. One writer calls the weekend "Black
I think that high school and college basketball fans in non-urban
areas or towns with low single digit African American populations, like Boise,
have a whole different experience with basketball. They like the sport but not
the NBA. I grew up watching and playing basketball, from youth through High
School in Los Angeles. I followed the Los Angeles City Section High School
teams from inner cities, UCLA, USC and the Lakers. I played against teams from inner
cities. The game was either played fast and at the rim or under control and on
the perimeter. I definitely played the slower version. But, I preferred to
watch the more athletic players and I had plenty to choose from.
Until I moved to Boise.
Basketball here wasn’t explosive but rather defensive in
nature and with a higher regard for set plays and outside shooting in general. Idaho
doesn’t regularly produce many Division 1 basketball players and no NBA
players. Our colleges don’t produce NBA players. We have our own version of
basketball in my opinion. It is not played at the rim in general.
I guess it feels like we are minor league fans just enjoying
the game. Boise State Football has produced 19 or so NFL players in the past
several years and out performs the local minor leagues in developing pro
players. Even the University of Idaho produces 2-3 football pros per year.
Several Idaho high school players have made NFL rosters and others have played
in BCS bowl games.  Maybe we are more of
a football state.
We know that there is maybe a 1% chance any of the high
school or college basketball players we watch are Division 1 College or NBA
worthy. We enjoy basketball but once our high school playing kid graduates or
our college team is out of tourney contention, we are done. We may watch the
NCAA tourney for entertainment or the NBA Finals but not with passion. Seems
like we are watching a different game to me. Unless you go to an Idaho Stampede

Tuesday, February 4, 2014


We sure hope you guys come down to enojy the show. We have the normal number of BSU recruits on the program as years past , probably the entire class,  and we expanded this year to include some local kids who are going to other schools. Oregon St, Weber State and thats about it. They will be on for 3-4 mins. We appreciate them sharing some of their time on this big day with us and want to recognize that. The show is 5 hours long and we had extra time this year.
We have increased our high school coverage and this ties in with that. 

We didn't focus on kids recruited by BSU. 
Oliver may be the only one and he will disclose where he is heading at a school rally much earlier in the day. He was scheduled to come with his teammates and coach and be on briefly. 
We also will speak with Chris Fetters to see how the UW story played out. We have done regional segments in the past, even interviewed Idaho's coach and passed out other schools lists. Those who have been the last 16 years know that. 
That's it. 
Those are the facts. 
We start with Coach Harsin and then 11-12 recruits and counting, we are still adding them as we speak.
We work hard at putting this show on and feel it is comprehensive.
You can also win golf show passes, a trip to Tamarack, Bronco merchandise, Stampede/Steelhead tickets and more.
We are only showing video on BSU recruits.
We respect your guys opinions but wanted you to have the facts of what we have planned. Hope to see you there. 

Monday, January 27, 2014

Lions want Prince

Robert Prince may get the last laugh after all.
The former Boise State offensive coordinator was hired as the new Detroit Lions wide receivers coach. New Head Coach Jim Caldwell recently said at the Senior Bowl that he wanted a WR coach who was “knowledgeable, energetic, enthusiastic and has expertise in what he’s doing.”
He got his man and now Prince will probably make between $200-400,000, likely as much money as he did at Boise State.
Without the headaches.
Prince now has a veteran offensive minded NFL Head Coach, a young ALL PRO to be QB in Matt Stafford, a familiar back up in Kellen Moore, the #3 passing offense in the NFL (ypg.)  and a hall of fame receiver in Calvin ‘Megatron’ Johnson. Prince biggest challenge will be to develop a solid #2 option. The Lions lost Ryan Broyles and Titus Young for all of last season and will have to hope Nate Burleson recovers from injury or they add a viable option from the draft or free agency.
Still the cupboard isn’t bare. Boise State’s receiving corps must be rebuilt; they don’t have an all-league QB and right now have no back up. Washington was graduating its QB, top RB Bishop Sankey is leaving for the NFL and the PAC 12 is loaded with talent.  
He won’t miss the trips to Laramie.
Interestingly, one criticism of Caldwell was his play calling in Indianapolis and the new OC in Detroit in Joe Lombardi (yes, the grandson of Vince Lombardi) has never been an OC in the NFL. So, Prince has some common experiences to share with his new staff.
Prince fate as an OC under Coach Pete was a public, slow death. Coach Pete’s ‘don’t ask don’t tell’ policy about evaluating his players in public really made it appear the coaches were all at fault, especially Prince. The lack of a dominating offensive line in 2012 or 2013, playmaking WR’s and explosive plays overall sealed Prince fate. Of course, he had responsibility as well. I would bet Coach Pete would have wanted Prince to come to him with answers after the 2012 season. I bet Prince didn’t know what Pete wanted and just followed directions. When Boise State had great talent at most offensive positions coaches looked smart and got great jobs at Texas and Florida. When the recruiting didn’t work out as well at WR, offensive line and TE, coaches were left scratching their heads. Now, Pete is on his 4th OC in 5 years and starting over in Washington with Jonathon Smith.
 I have no idea what went on privately but my hunch is Prince knew he wasn’t going to Seattle. First, Pease was given the WR job and I bet behind closed doors, Prince was told he wasn’t moving to Seattle. Harsin grabbed better recruiting ties in new OC Mike Sanford and then hired WR coach Junior Adams from Eastern Washington. Adams came inexpensive to Harsin and with no FBS recruiting experience. It was clear Harsin may have considered Prince as WR coach but in the end didn’t want him. My hunch is Prince would have kept his family here at a lower salary number.  That left him working the phones to get a gig. He did it.
The Lions press is pointing out that Prince elevated Boise State from the 68th overall FBS offense in 2012 to #20 in 2013. They are happy to have him.

Bet he is happy to go.