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Thursday, April 8, 2021.
Coach Andy Avalos set the table for Boise State’s Spring Game Saturday with a press conference Wednesday. And as curious as everybody is about the Broncos’ quarterback derby, Avalos returns to recurring themes when he talks about Hank Bachmeier and Jack Sears. “It doesn’t start with how they execute on the field,” said Avalos. “It starts with their leadership off the field—how they’re bringing guys together. We’re extremely proud of that whole (QB) group.” An extension of that conversation is center Kekani Holomalia-Gonzalez. Avalos said Holomalia-Gonzalez is locked in with the quarterbacks. “That relationship between the center-quarterback is huge,” Avalos said.
DROPPING A NAME
Avalos said the wide receivers have been impressive in drills, and the first name he mentioned was junior Stefan Cobbs. It looks like everybody who’s been predicting a breakout has been right about him all along. “Steph Cobbs has had a really good spring,” said Avalos. “It doesn’t matter what quarterback’s in there.” We’ve only seen Cobbs make a few plays over the past two years, but there have been some big ones. The first catch of his career saw him take a screen pass and weave his way to a 44-yard touchdown in 2019 against Portland State. But he didn’t have another reception that year until he made two versus Washington in the Las Vegas Bowl. Cobbs only had four catches last year, but they went for 72 yards, including a 43-yarder at Hawaii. Eyes will be on No. 5 on Saturday.
THE KNOWN COMMODITY IS BACK
Khalil Shakir was supposed to be on the shelf this spring due to a healing hamstring, but Avalos said Wednesday he’s back in practice, running individual and 7-on-7 drills (although he won’t appear in the Spring Game). As animated as Shakir was during the first practice of spring football last month, you knew they weren’t going to be able to keep Shakir out for long. Billy Bowens was also singled out by Avalos in the wide receiver corps. Little-known fact: Bowens’ first stat as a Bronco was an 11-yard rush in 2018, his only touch of the season. He was active for just three games that season, allowing him to preserve a year of eligibility.
AVERY WILLIAMS’ LATEST TROPHY
Former Boise State star Avery Williams will be honored with the 10th annual “Jet Award” tonight in Omaha, NE. It’s named after Johnny “The Jet” Rodgers, the Nebraska great who was one of the best punt returners in college football history. The keynote speaker is 1982 Heisman Trophy winner and former NFL star Herschel Walker. Between punts and kickoffs, Williams scored nine touchdowns on runbacks as a Bronco. In fact, he started and finished his career with a punt return TD—an 81-yarder in the 2017 season opener against Troy, and a 69-yard jaunt last December versus San Jose State in the Mountain West championship game.
WIN AND THEY’RE IN
College of Idaho has its sights set on the spring NAIA Playoffs, and Carroll College stands in the way on Saturday. With a victory over the Saints in Helena, MT, the Coyotes will clinch the outright Cascade Conference championship and an automatic berth in the postseason. The Yotes go in with two of the league’s three Players of the Week: Capital High grad Ryan Hibbs on offense and former Kuna High standout Caden Cobb on special teams after the come-from-behind win at Eastern Oregon. From the “Did You Know” department: that victory was the 300th win in program history (dating back to 1905).
A SECOND-GENERATION MYLYMOK
You’ve probably heard about it: Boise native Luke Mylymok scored the winning goal March 27 in the longest game in the history of the NCAA Hockey Championships, a five-hole shot in the fifth overtime to give Minnesota-Duluth a 3-2 victory over North Dakota. That launched UMD into the Frozen Four, hockey’s answer to the Final Four, against UMass tonight. Mylymok is the son of one of the Idaho Steelheads’ all-timers, Jeremy Mylymok, whose retired No. 4 jersey hangs on the wall in Idaho Central Arena. Luke starred for the Junior Steelheads before moving up the hockey ladder. Minnesota-Duluth is no Cinderella—the Bulldogs are in the Frozen Four for the eighth time and for the fourth straight season.
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April 8, 2013: Rick Pitino becomes the first head coach ever to win a national championship at two different schools, leading Louisville to an 82-76 victory over Michigan in an entertaining NCAA title game. The Cardinals, who were the No. 1 overall seed in the tournament, won their first national crown since 1986 on the same day Pitino was named as an inductee into the Basketball Hall of Fame. The word “shame” came into play when Pitino was implicated in a federal investigation involving bribes to recruits, which resulted in Louisville firing him for cause in October of 2017. He now, of course, coaches at Iona.
(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.)