SCOTT SLANT: Cautious optimism amidst the mysteries

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Thursday, June 25, 2020.

Marc Paul, Boise State’s associate athletic director for sports performance, health and wellness (head trainer), was the lucky one chosen to go before the media yesterday and talk about the Broncos’ coronavirus situation. Paul disclosed quite a bit more on COVID testing among returning athletes coaches and staff members, saying that 230-250 tests have been administered so far, with four positives. Paul and his colleagues are shifting on the fly as they deal with unprecedented challenges, like “building the airplane while I fly it,” he said. They’re developing protocols for mouth guards, which players obviously touch a lot. And as athletes work out, Boise State is trying to group them according to those who have already been in contact with each other, such as roommates.

Paul said the plan remains to reopen the Boise State campus on Monday, with all student-athletes, coaches and staff members to be re-tested for COVID-19. If that’s the case, the Broncos should stay on track to officially begin drills for the 2020 season beginning on Monday, July 13 (some call it “Spring Football 2.1”). Formal fall camp is scheduled to start August 7. But the season is still in pencil.

BLUE & ORANGE PREVENTION

I wear a mask when I’m out and about. I know many people don’t. I do it for the sake of others and for our state. Why some don’t understand the science—that’s it a critical tool in curbing the spread of the coronavirus—is beyond me. (Do you want a Boise State football season or don’t you?) Along those lines, maybe the unveiling of Broncos-branded masks will encourage folks to wear them. Travis Hawkes at the Blue & Orange store is waiting for his first shipment. He talked about it on Twitter: “At first the University would not approve them, because they didn’t want to appear to be profiting from a pandemic. But then all the pro leagues and other colleges began offering and it can encourage mask use. So then they approved, will be in stock within the next few days.” I mean, why not?

GOOD OMEN FOR LEON RICE

CBS Sports college basketball insider Jon Rothstein had this tidbit on Twitter yesterday: “Several coaches in the Mountain West privately believe that Boise State owns the league’s most talented roster. Leon Rice adds three key transfers: Marcus Shaver (Portland), Emmanuel Akot (Arizona), Devonaire Doutrive (Arizona). If Derrick Alston returns, look out.” And Rothstein didn’t mention Mladen Armus from East Tennessee State. Rice must be feeling lucky these days—he nailed the first hole-in-one of his life Tuesday evening at Hillcrest Country Club.

A MODICUM OF MOMENTUM FOR MERRITT

Troy Merritt’s packed schedule continues today as he’s on the course at the Travelers Championship in Cromwell, CT. A good start last week got Merritt into the money, but a weekend fade kept him from making that much (by PGA Tour standards). The former Boise State star shot a one-over 72 last Saturday and finished with a 71 Sunday at the RBC Heritage in Hilton Head, SC. Merritt tied for 70th, but at least he came away with $14,342, his first earnings since the Arnold Palmer Invitational 3½ months ago (pre-COVID). The good news this week: he tied for 8th at the Travelers in 2017, so he’s not without confidence.

MAKENNA KAMALEI YOONA WEST

A name out of Albertsons Boise Open lore is celebrating a life event. Michelle Wie West delivered a baby girl last Friday, kind of an early Father’s Day present for her husband, Jonnie West. The child, the couple’s first, is named Makenna. When she was Michelle Wie, she became the first female amateur to tee off in a PGA-sanctioned tournament at the 2003 Boise Open. She was a 13-year-old ninth-grader, and she drew huge galleries at Hillcrest Country Club. Wie didn’t make it the cut, though, doomed by a first-round 78. Now 30, she married West, the son of basketball legend Jerry West and an executive with the Golden State Warriors, last August.

This Day In Sports…brought to you by BBSI BOISE…we’re payroll, we’re risk, we’re HR, we’re business!

June 25, 2014: San Francisco’s Tim Lincecum becomes only the second pitcher in major league history to collect two no-hitters, two Cy Young Awards, and two World Series rings when he no-hits the San Diego Padres, 4-0. The only other player to achieve that trifecta was Dodgers Hall of Famer Sandy Koufax. Lincecum had lost some luster since his peak years, but it marked the second straight season he tossed a no-no at the Padres.

(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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