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.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

On the Surfaces

Rather then dumb down Idaho Sports Talk, I will dumb down this blog. At least you only have to consider one persons opinion on the obvious. And it will only take a minute not an hour. The debate is: which sport offers the toughest playing surface?



Basketball and hockey have consistent surfaces arena to arena. Both are indoors and the dimensions are standard. I rarely hear of complaints about the courts or ice and the only variable is the atmosphere of the place.



Football has standard dimensions that do not change but can either be grass or turf and play day or night. The weather plays a part as well in football with sun, rain, snow,wind and humidity all playing factors in outcomes. Football rarely cancels a game due to weather and  can be treacherous. The Ice Bowl between Green Bay and Dallas in 1967 was -48 wind chill.  We have all seen 100 degree games with 80% humidity in the south.



Baseball leaves the dimensions of stadiums up to the locals. Very tough. Higher fences, further fences, and closer fences all make baseball very unique.  As long as the distance from home base to the nearest fence is 250 feet they are OK unless it is the foul lines and that has to be 320 feet or more. 400 feet to center is about average as well.



I declare baseball the winner of the four major sports. But, other sports offer variety as well.



Tennis has common dimensions but very different surfaces in clay, grass and hard court. At the first spit of rain though, tennis is cancelled. Soccer has standard dimensions like football but I don't recall much soccer in the snow. Horse tracks all vary in length with the Preakness being the shortest followed by the Derby and the longest and most difficult the Belmont. While the horses will run in mud they don't in any cold weather but the surfaces do vary from grass, dirt and artificial.



Golf may be craziest of all. yes its played on grass and the bunkers have sand but that's about it. Length of holes, fairway width and greens slope ratings make it a roller coaster ride for golfers around the PGA tour. if that were not enough, the rules allow for the movement of the holes from day to day during tournament play. Length of grass in rough areas, tee box placement and watering all make the course more difficult.



Golf is the winner here and overall. It is usually the Golfers vs the Course. Where else does that happen?







Sunday, April 27, 2014

UI Football: Eating out of Bowls

The fact that the NCAA penalized the University of Idaho for not enough of their football team staying academically eligible or in school over a four year period of time leaves blood on allot of hands. And, since the school knew they would be getting into a blood bath on the field anyway, I think they didn't care.

What's the difference?



They would rather take the image hit of academic sanctions then the image hit of a losing football program.



Idaho got both.



A post season playing ban and some practice time was taken away. From a team who CBS Sports.com  said was the 4th worst in the country last year?  What difference does it make if you averaged a little more then 3 wins a year the last 5 anyway?

The only bowl Idaho would likely be in was a soup bowl.



Former Coach Robb Akey was allowed to recruit any athlete who would help them win from 2009-2012. I believe it was a win at all costs attitude that Rob Spear and President Nellis encouraged. Coach Akey did exactly that and despite him wanting to get rid of the " thieves, criminals and drug guys" he inherited in 2007, he replaced them with players who didn't want to go to class, wouldn't behave and couldn't stay eligible. Idaho said players left because the Vandals had no conference and they didn't have enough money to hire baby sitters to make sure the football players went to class.

Bull shit.
I am all for giving marginal kids a chance to get a college education and turn themselves around. I believe in giving them a second chance. Maybe even a third if they deserve it.  But, if those kids can't stay eligible by going to class and getting mostly C's, that's on the kids. They were not ready for the challenge of self improvement at the time and they sabotaged themselves. It isn't the end of the world, just the end of their chance to get a education.



Idaho took a chance on some marginal students who played football and, with so little to lose, they have lost again.