SCOTT SLANT: Another story almost sidelined

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Wednesday, June 24, 2020.

The special “drive-in” showing of “Out Of The Blue” tonight outside ExtraMile Arena has been cancelled (or maybe just postponed?) due to Boise State’s temporary campus shutdown. I had been hoping to talk about this in relation to the Michael Hoffman documentary, so I’m going to do it anyway. One of my favorite segments of the film was the interview with Jovan Hutchinson, a member of the 2007 Fiesta Bowl championship team who was a fish-out-of-water when he first arrived in Boise from Los Angeles in 2002. Hutchinson was a journeyman wide receiver over his four years, but he was a favorite of his teammates.

The culmination of that was Senior Day in 2006, when coach Chris Petersen called a play for Hutchinson and backup quarterback Taylor Tharp toward the end of a 49-10 win over Utah State. The fade route resulted in one of only four career catches for Hutchinson—and his only touchdown. It was followed by virtually the entire Boise State sideline mobbing Hutchinson in the end zone and lifting him on their shoulders. Petersen had happily warned the officials before the play to be prepared to throw a flag for a celebration penalty. They did.

Hutchinson’s postscript is good, too. You know there’s this perception about how Idaho’s racial makeup affects people of color. Well, like many other out-of-state black athletes who came to Boise State from elsewhere to play sports, Hutchinson stayed after his playing days were over and has been working for the Eagle Fire Department for more than 12 years. And you may remember the story a year ago about Hutchinson going back to school and earning his degree. Graduation came on Mother’s Day weekend—and you can guess who was in attendance to applaud her son. An all-timer of a Bronco story.

COVID DEVELOPMENTS

Boise State athletic director Curt Apsey announced Wednesday that the university “will restart its phased approach to bringing Broncos student-athletes back to campus when given approval to do so.” Boise State released a 37-page guide outlining policies and procedures involving student-athletes, coaches and staff returning to campus. The school acknowledges that “knowledge of this pandemic is evolving daily and suggestions made today may not be appropriate two weeks from now.” All athletes are required to sign a COVID-19 release form. Meanwhile, the California State University system’s three FBS schools, San Diego State, Fresno State and San Jose State, are waiting to hear confirmation of a “sports repopulation” plan that could get student-athletes back on campus on Tuesday, July 7.

THE OPPORTUNITY FOR KELLEN CREATIVITY

With quarterback Dak Prescott having signed the franchise tag for Dallas Monday (to the tune of $31.4 million for 2020), he and offensive coordinator Kellen Moore are squarely in the spotlight. “Blogging The Boys,” a Cowboys fan site, calls Moore the “key to success this year.” With the possibility of a shortened season, writer Tom Ryle notes that Dallas needs a fast start offensively. The Cowboys were 8-0 when they scored 24 or more points last year—and 0-8 when they didn’t. But Ryle likes the chances of the former Boise State great getting to shine. “One of the things that is expected this year is that (new coach Mike) McCarthy will remove what certainly appeared to be some restrictions on Moore’s play-calling under (Jason) Garrett,” writes Ryle. Kellen might be able to dip into his treasure chest.

ACTUAL BOISE STATE SPORTS NEWS

It’s nice to have a nugget or two that don’t involve COVID-19 issues. Boise State women’s basketball coach Gordy Presnell has gone international again with another addition to his 2020 recruiting class. The Broncos have signed Martina Machalova of Slovakia, a 5-8 guard who most recently played for a club team called Young Angels Košice in the European Women’s Basketball League and the ExtraLiga, Slovakia’s domestic league. Machalova is Boise State’s eighth new signee for the 2020-21 season. She was also part of the Slovakian U18 National Team which finished 12th at the 2017 FIBA U18 Women’s European Championship Division B.

Boise State baseball pitching coach Brock Huntzinger is from Pendleton, IN, not Pendleton, OR. So he’s a long, long way from home. B.J. Rains of the Idaho Press reports that, “per source,” Huntzinger won’t return to the Broncos next season. “The decision was his,” tweeted Rains. “He’s getting out of coaching and moving back to Indiana to start a new career path.” Huntzinger has been around baseball for a while. He was drafted out of high school by Boston and spent seven of his 10 seasons in pro baseball in the Red Sox organization, advancing as high as Triple-A Pawtucket.

This Day In Sports…brought to you by SUPERIOR POOLS OF IDAHO…the newest pool store in the valley!

June 24, 2010, 10 years ago today: The longest professional tennis match in history concludes at Wimbledon after 11 hours and five minutes, spanning three days. American John Isner and French qualifier Nicolas Mahut had already battled almost three hours when they went to the fifth set. Then the deciding set went eight hours and 11 minutes, with Isner finally winning 6-4, 3-6, 6-7, 7-6, 70-68. Yes, it was 70-68. The next day, Isner would be eliminated in the second round in 74 minutes.

(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.)

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