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Breakfast with Bevo: How much Texas remains in Boise State’s Bryan Harsin?

Posted July 6th, 2017

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Good morning. Breakfast is served.

It’s July 6th — 187 down, 178 to go.

And 185 till July the Fourth … 2018.

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YESTERDAY: The Astros won on the road again, this time 10-4 over the Braves. The Rangers snapped Boston’s six-game winning streak with an 8-2 win. Alex Wood moved to 10-0 on the season, pitching the Dodgers past the Diamondbacks.

TODAY: The Astros are at the Blue Jays (first pitch is at 6:07 p.m.). The Rangers host the Angels (7:05 p.m.). Over at Wimbledon, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic headline action on the men’s side and Caroline Wozniacki plays on the women’s side. Oh, it’s also National Fried Chicken Day. Celebrate accordingly.

TOMORROW: More Astros-Blue Jays from Toronto (12:07 p.m.). More Rangers-Angels (8:05 p.m.).

July 6 has a sports history. On this date, Floyd Mayweather was stripped of his WBO welterweight title after failing to vacate his light middleweight crown (2015); Novak Dokovic (2014), Rafael Nadal (2008), Venus Williams (2008), Roger Federer (2003), Serena Williams (2003), Pete Sampras (1997), Steffi Graf (1991 and 1996), Boris Becker (1986), Martina Navratilova (1979) and Jimmy Connors (1974) all won Wimbledon singles titles; the Montreal Expos retired Andre Dawson’s No. 10 (1997); Philadelphia’s Mike Schmidt was chosen to start in the All-Star game even though he had retired from baseball on May 29 (1989); Davis Phinney became the first American to win a road stage at the Tour de France (1986); Ruffian, the 3-year-old thoroughbred who was injured in a much-hyped match race with Kentucky Derby winner Foolish Pleasure, was euthanized after unsuccessful surgery (1975); Althea Gibson became the first black athlete to win Wimbledon (1957); and the first MLB all-star game was played, a 4-2 win for the AL over the NL at Chicago’s Comiskey Park (1933).

Today’s sports birthdays: Manny Machado (25), Pau Gasol (37), Alvin Harper (49), Matt Bahr (61) and Willie Randolph (63). Other notables: Kevin Hart (38), 50 Cent (42), Sylvester Stallone (71), Former President George W. Bush (71) and Burt Ward — the old TV Robin (72). And the Dalai Lama turns 82.

TODAY’S TRIVIA: Whom did Serena Williams beat in the 2003 Wimbledon singles final — and whom did Venus Williams beat in the 2008 Wimbledon singles final? (Answer’s at the end of Breakfast.)

Head coach Bryan Harsin of the Boise State Broncos leads his team against the Colorado State Rams at Sonny Lubick Field at Hughes Stadium on October 10, 2015 in Fort Collins, Colorado. The Broncos defeated the Rams 41-10. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

TOP OF THE MENU: College football.

We kicked off our annual Top 25 preseason college football countdown series today here at the Statesman. Fifteen members of the AA-S staff turned in Top 25 polls, Kevin Lyttle did all the grunt work and voila, the Boise State Broncos chime in today at No. 25.

Last week we reached out to Dave Southorn, the Idaho Statesman’s Boise State beat writer, to talk a little Bryan Harsin and Broncos football. He’s been covering Boise State since 2005:

Boise State’s fan base appears to be one that’s tight-knit and one that rewards loyalty. They loved Chris Petersen. How’s Brian Harsin doing with them?

It’s been an interesting change. Even last year people were absolutely on board with him, and his first year was so great. But the lack of success in conference the last two years, more people are skeptical or critical then I’ve heard around their program for almost a decade. They’re wondering which direction the program is going.

The last nine games in their division, they’re 4-5. That’s stunning when you think how Boise State would destroy teams in the WAC. People still support and love him, but this is a big year for him.

Head coach Bryan Harsin of the Boise State Broncos, greets school fans before their game against the Brigham Young Cougars at LaVell Edwards Stadium on September 12, 2015 in Provo, Utah. (Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr/Getty Images)

Does Harsin ever talk about his time at Texas?

Yeah: His relationship with Mack. They’re still close. Against Baylor in the bowl game, obviously he remembered being on the other side of the ball against those guys when that program was on the rise up. He’ll remember game-planning for certain teams. He’ll tell us those stories. He’ll definitely recall it. It’s not a common topic but he talks about being at Texas just as much as his first stint with Petersen.

How have you seen Brett Rypien develop over these last couple of years?

When we talked about expectations and things like that with Harsin, some people also are critical of Rypien. They expected him to be Kellen Moore 2.0, but he wasn’t quite that. It’s not necessarily Brett’s fault; his margin of error last year was so slim, he often had bad field position, or in close games whenever he made mistakes they were really amplified.

He didn’t have many weapons for him to throw to last year. I talked to the offensive coordinator before the bowl game, and he was saying when Rypien makes early mistakes, they kind of compound on him. The key for him this spring was trying to be a team leader but to not put too much on his shoulders.

Biggest concern?

Probably their depth. It’s something they’ve always tried to hammer on, but replacing some key spots with a lot of guys who are unproven. The school’s all-time leading receiver, Thomas Sperbeck, left. Their running back was a freshman backup last year. The defense lost a ton of guys — seven starters. So depth is going to be an issue. You saw last year how they did at the end of last season against Wyoming (a 30-28 loss), Air Force (a 27-20 loss) and Baylor (a 31-12 loss). A couple of injuries and the production went down.

OK, what’s being written about the Longhorns?

Now there’s an official beer for the Longhorns: It’s Corona. Here’s Brian Davis’ story on it. Don Williams of the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal wrote about what Texas Tech’s down-the-road choice when the Big 12’s grant of rights expires in 2025: Should the Red Raiders hitch their wagon to Texas or should they go their own way? (He also states that Austin is the worst city in the Big 12 …). And Sports Illustrated’s Bruce Feldman has placed UT left tackle Connor Williams on his annual “Freaks List” of the country’s top workout warriors. Williams is ranked No. 35.

AROUND THE BIG 12: The Waco Tribune-Herald wrote about the Big 12’s new kids on the block — Oklahoma’s Lincoln Riley, Texas’ Tom Herman and Baylor’s Matt Rhule — and how big a wrinkle they’re adding to the conference. The Texas Tech women’s basketball program announced two hires on Wednesday, including former Red Raiders star Sheryl Swoopes as director of player development. The Oklahoman wrote about Riley’s first month on the recruiting trail on Sunday. So far, so good. Over in Stillwater, they’re widening the seats at Boone Pickens Stadium much to the chagrin of some displaced Oklahoma State season ticket-holders. The OSU women’s basketball program landed transfer guard Loryn Goodwin, an all-conference player from UTSA who averaged 17.5 points last season. A couple of weeks ago, we reviewed the year that was for the Texas Longhorns; the Tulsa World did a similar treatment for Oklahoma. Kansas State is getting a linebacker transfer from Virginia with a name Wildcats fans will love — Eric Gallon II, the son of former KSU running back Eric Gallon.

AROUND THE HORNS:

Men’s basketball: The Houston Rockets are expected to reach a deal with P.J. Tucker as soon as today , the Houston Chronicle reported.

Baseball: Milwaukee Brewers closer giving him 68 for the seasonCorey Knebel had three strikeouts Wednesday night, . That’s only one behind the Astros’ Chris Devenski for the MLB strikeouts lead for relief pitchers.

Men’s golf: Jordan Spieth wants to improve his game in one important way; he wants to be a better closer on Sundays.

On July 6, 1957: John Lennon and Paul McCartney met for the first time. They formed the Beatles three years later.

On July 6, 1942: Anne Frank and her family went into hiding above her father’s office in an Amsterdam warehouse.

On July 6, 2003: Buddy Ebsen, of “Beverly Hillbillies” fame, died. We also lost Roy Rogers (1998) and Louis Armstrong (1971) on July 6.

TRIVIA ANSWER: Serena Williams beat sister Venus for the 2003 Wimbledon crown; Venus beat Serena for the 2008 title.

OK, Breakfast is over. Thanks for stopping by.

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