Press Pass: Feeling blue
BOISE, Idaho — Hey fans, DJ Johnson here with this week’s version of “Press Pass.”
Another week has come and gone. The Pokes took a tough loss on the road in Boise, but we did put up a fight and take the No. 22 Broncos into overtime, only to walk off with a disappointing 20-17 loss in the end. That’s OK though, we remain bowl eligible and have three games left on the schedule with more than one that we can definitely get the "dubya" in.
Let’s take a look at some of the adventures we had in Boise.
Well, like I said after the San Diego State game, if there are any locals who are tailgating/partying prior to an away game kickoff, drop 7220sports.com a line and let us know where you’re at! We were lucky enough to get invited by Taylor Graves of Sheridan County, who now lives in Boise. We swung by a pre-game party at his house, just down the road from Albertsons Stadium. They had all of the UW paraphernalia displayed, an incredible spread of food, a keg of cold beer, and a roaring backyard fire to keep all the Poke fans warm. Thanks again Graves family for the invite and we’re glad that we got the chance to stop by and see ya’ll!
It’s always nice to have great accommodations when visiting another stadium, and Albertsons Stadium didn’t disappoint. A nice tiered view from the press box with plenty of room to work and easy access to and from the field is always welcomed by us local media dudes.
As if Wyoming quarterback, Tyler Vander Waal, didn’t have enough pressure on him prior to the Boise State game. Not only was he replacing starter Sean Chambers and facing one of the Mountain West’s most talented teams -- the Broncos are nationally ranked and were favored to beat the Cowboys by 14 points with an over-under of 48 -- throw in "Big ESPN" camera. Here’s a peek at how the ESPN camera crews spent most of the commercial timeouts, shadowing Vander Waal and plastering a camera with feet of his face at practically every moment of the game. The Cowboys could have easily taken this game, but as we all know, they fell in overtime 20-17; however, Vander Waal put up a respectable 15-of-23 passing for 160 yards and added a rushing touchdown.
Hopefully, everyone is up to date on the Oct. 28 heroics of "Conan," the Belgian Malinois K9 that tracked ISIS leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, and chased/cornered the dreaded terrorist leader down a dead end tunnel, forcing him to blow himself up at the end of the dark tunnel in Syria. But in Boise, Idaho, they have another type of job for their coveted K9, "Cowboy Kohl." Kohl is a nine-year-old black lab, who owner and trainer, Britta Closson, adopted when he was about four years old. Kohl has been the Boise State tee-retrieving K9 since 2015. Fun fact, prior to retrieving the football tee for Boise State, Kohl actually worked for the Boise Hawks, a minor league baseball team. He would retrieve baseball bats from the field back to the dugout. The Boise State football team took notice of this and inquired as to whether or not he could make the adjustment to a football tee … the inquiry was answered by Closson with a "yes" and the rest is history. So the next time you see a Boise State game on the television, make sure to look for Cowboy Kohl doing what he loves to do.
So, why is the turf blue? The idea to lay down blue turf actually came from Boise State’s athletic director, Gene Bleymaier, back in 1986. He figured that if they had to replace their turf, why not come up with something a little more eye-catching than the typical green? The university president gave Bleymaier the thumbs up and the rest has been clear, blue, sailing! For fun facts sake, the second colored field came in 2014, when Rynearson Stadium at Eastern Michigan laid down a gray turf field instead of green. Today, there are several fields that don various colors, to include Eastern Washington’s, which is lava-red, and Coastal Carolinas, which is teal.
So Boise State’s facilities are top-of-the line -- to say the least. Albertsons Stadium has all the bells and whistles and no detail is left unattended to. Perfect example is the elevator that transports personnel to and from field level to the DV Suites, coaches box, the sponsor suites and the press box. The elevator can comfortably hold up to 15 people and the ornate wall décor on the inside is, well, pretty damn sweet.
Alright Mr. Potato Head … we know you’re out there representing the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl. Now, I know the Mountain West is guaranteed an invite back to Boise in January to play in it, and while any bowl is a great bowl to play in, I really don’t want to visit the blue turf again this year. It was nice to come play Boise State on their home field, but I don’t want to come back this year to play a Toledo or Miami, Ohio. I’d much prefer to head south to Arizona, Texas or New Mexico! Where do you want to see the Cowboys go bowling this year?
Alright sports fans, it’s time to wrap this week up and get on to the next one. 7220sports.com will be hitting Interstate-80 west this Friday, en route to Logan, Utah, where we’ll take on the Utah State Aggies. For those of you contemplating driving over, it’s only a seven-hour drive and a straight shot. Gas those cars up and we’ll see you in Logan in a couple of days!