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Greatest Strength of Boise State’s Kellen Moore Is His Savvy

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  • Greatest Strength of Boise State’s Kellen Moore Is His Savvy


    By THAYER EVANSNOV. 6, 2009


    BOISE, Idaho — As soon as Kellen Moore could walk, he attended his father’s high school football practices. Once he could run, he spotted the ball during practice. And at the age of 5, he started throwing with the quarterbacks.

    Moore spent his Christmas money on college playbooks and the coach’s tape of college games off the Internet. Even today, Moore, the starting quarterback for undefeated Boise State, records several games each Saturday and takes notes for discussions with the Broncos’ offensive coordinator, Bryan Harsin.

    And while many of his teammates are out enjoying college life, Moore can often be found at home drawing up plays. He has stacks of notebooks full of plays, his father, Tom, said.

    “He’s a football nerd,” Boise State’s defensive coordinator, Justin Wilcox, said.

    It is his football savvy and unflappable demeanor that have helped Moore overcome his physical limitations and develop into a Heisman Trophy contender for No. 5 Boise State (8-0, 3-0 Western Athletic Conference), which again this season is a threat to crash the Bowl Championship Series.

    Entering Friday night’s game at Louisiana Tech (3-5, 2-3), Moore, a sophomore, has passed for 1,905 yards and 24 touchdowns with just two interceptions. He leads the Football Bowl Subdivision in passing efficiency (171.02) and is second in touchdown passes.

    Yet he is hardly a prototypical quarterback. He is 6 feet tall and weighs 184 pounds, throws left-handed and does not run particularly well.

    “He’s kind of awkward in some ways,” Boise State Coach Chris Petersen said.

    But his savvy is undeniable. Moore correctly predicted that Boise State would run its famous Statute of Liberty play against Oklahoma while watching the 2007 Fiesta Bowl in the stands with his father. Watching Boise line up for the 2-point conversion, Moore recognized the formation.

    “They’d ran it earlier that year,” Moore said nonchalantly.

    This season, Moore said a few plays that he saw Oklahoma and Houston use have ended up being used by Boise State with variations. He follows both teams closely and even text-messages with Houston quarterback Case Keenum.

    “He’s got a social life,” Harsin said of Moore. “A lot of that just revolves around watching other teams play and watching other quarterbacks.”

    Raised in Prosser, Wash., an agricultural community of about 5,500 in the southern part of the state, Moore became familiar with Boise State by traveling with his father’s high school teams to the Broncos’ summer football camps. There’s even a photograph of a 9-year-old Moore wearing a Boise State cap while posing with one of his father’s league championship teams.

    Yet despite passing for 11,367 yards and 173 touchdowns with 34 interceptions at Prosser High School, Moore was overlooked because of his lack of height and a perceived lack of arm strength. Besides Boise State, his only other scholarship offers were from Idaho and Eastern Washington.

    “Who really wants a 6-foot pocket quarterback?” Moore said.

    And even when Moore attended Boise State’s summer camp before his senior season, Harsin was not overly impressed. He recalled that Moore threw sidearm, that his passes wobbled, and that he struggled to run.

    Harsin’s scouting report: “What’s the deciding factor here on this guy being so special?”

    But Wilcox saw it. So he made a deal with Petersen to ensure that Moore was offered a scholarship. If Moore did not work out, Wilcox told Petersen, he would give up a defensive scholarship.

    Moore committed to Boise State in September 2006, but while being recruited he and Petersen often discussed the intricacies of the Broncos’ offense. And when Petersen asked him questions, Moore always had the same answer.

    “Yeah, I’ve seen you guys do that,” Petersen recalled Moore telling him.

    While redshirting in 2007, Moore was average in practice drills, but completely different in scrimmages. The ball suddenly flew out of his hand. His wobbly passes became perfect spirals that receivers caught without breaking stride.

    “From that point on, you knew what he could do,” Harsin said.

    Last season, Moore passed for 3,486 yards with 25 touchdowns and 10 interceptions while helping lead Boise State to a 12-1 record. Along the way, Boise State’s coaches have come to value Moore’s opinion. After he watches tape of an opponent, they often incorporate what he likes into the game plan.

    And when Harsin talks to Petersen about a new play for Boise State’s offense, Petersen asks, “What does Kellen think?”

    “If he likes that play, it’s going to happen,” Petersen said.

    During a game, Petersen said, he sometimes questions Moore about why he made specific throws. But when watching the game later, Petersen said, he understood Moore’s logic.

    “I haven’t been around a guy that’s right as much as he is,” Petersen said.

    Moore’s football obsession carries over to the classroom, where he is writing a 10-page paper about Tom Brady this semester. The only comparison Moore gets to Brady is thanks to the photograph of a shirtless Brady from the 2000 N.F.L. combine.

    Moore keeps the photo of a pale and seemingly muscleless Brady on the screensaver of the computer used by the Boise quarterbacks. It is a subtle reminder about overcoming physical limitations.

    When at Hawaii this year, Boise State played a game called Bronco Ball to warm up. Moore was on the team that did not wear shirts, a sight that caused Wilcox to laugh.

    “I think every guy on the other team was like, ‘Oh my God, put your shirt back on,’ ” Wilcox said.

    Harsin said, “All those physical tools you’d expect from a guy who’s doing some of things he’s doing statistically aren’t there.”

    Moore attributes some of his lack of athleticism to his childhood. His Achilles’ tendons were too short when he was born and until having surgery at the age of 6 he walked on his tiptoes because his heels could not extend to the ground.

    Even after the surgery, Moore said, he often ran on his toes.

    “That’s something I’ve always had to work on,” he said.

    Although Moore is being mentioned for the Heisman Trophy, Petersen said he was not sure that Boise State receives enough exposure for him to be a legitimate contender for the award.

    “If there’s anybody that we’d ever probably not care that they’re being mentioned in that, it’d be Kellen because it’s not going to affect him or faze him,” Petersen said.

    Even Moore’s choice of Boise State for college links to his meticulous football nature. Instead of falling for Boise’s blue turf, rich history or wide-open offense, he settled on Boise because of its young staff.

    “I want to get into coaching,” Moore said. “You’ve got to do what you love.”

    But if Moore keeps carving up college football, he may have to put a career in coaching on hold for a shot at the N.F.L.
    defense wins championships

  • #2
    Can't let our very own hidden Sean McVay get away.

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    • #3
      2009?

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      • #4
        Q: Why do you think the Cowboys are regarding Kellen Moore as one of their frontrunners for offensive coordinator?


        Machota: I think it has a lot to do with what they've seen on a daily basis behind the scenes since he arrived in 2015. Fans don't get to see the brilliant offensive mind that players, coaches and former teammates talk about. They see a quiet guy on the sidelines who didn't have big-time success as an NFL player, so they wonder what Dak Prescott could possibly learn from him. I've heard fans say that he needs to be more animated and get in Dak's face. But that's not his style. That is Kris Richard's style. And fans love that. Because it's something they can see. Richard isn't being considered for head coaching jobs because he gets animated at times. It's because he's a good coach. The Cowboys believe Kellen Moore can be a good coach, too. I think the biggest thing he would bring as OC is some unpredictability. The Cowboys' 2018 staff had Jason Garrett, Scott Linehan and Rod Marinelli in their tops positions. All three have been in the NFL for a long time and all three have strong convictions. They've seen their styles work for decades. But that also means decades of trends are out there for opponents to study. With Moore, no one knows what his offensive philosophy is, so it will be much more difficult to predict what the offense will do in certain situations. But Garrett will also have to be willing to adapt to some of those new ideas. I believe Marinelli's willingness to allow Richard to have added influence was a positive for the Cowboys' defense this season. Maybe Moore can do the same for the offense.
        defense wins championships

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        • #5

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          • #6


            Goddamn, what a goober.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by boozeman View Post
              Clearly that virus affected Fredricks brain, too.

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              • #8
                Thought it was interesting, Intentional Grounding with David Moore is on the Ticket right now. He was asked point blank about Mark Sánchez being the one Dak leaned on his rookie year and Moore said not true, it was Kellen Moore who was far and away Dak's biggest help. He's the one who explained how the offense worked and what the team wanted from him.

                Sounds like we're going Dak Friendly with this hire.
                2014=2009, 2015=2010?

                The Garrett Song

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                • #9
                  I suppose it doesn't matter. Hopefully we win either way. Either Moore comes in and actually gets this offense clicking or its another big fail of Garrett's system and he gets fired.

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                  • #10
                    defense wins championships

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by p1_ View Post
                      I can't imagine the probowl would tell you much about the guy. It's all very vanilla.

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                      • #12
                        I’m warming up to the idea. It’s a win win. If he’s the new mcvay amazing, if he sucks donkey balls we might see a whole new staff the next year.
                        2018 Pickem Champion

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by p1_ View Post
                          I can guaran-damn-tee they are really gameplanning for a worthless exhibition.

                          Little Jason and his minions will be playing for keeps.

                          I might watch it just for the kicks and giggles.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by boozeman View Post

                            I can guaran-damn-tee they are really gameplanning for a worthless exhibition.

                            Little Jason and his minions will be playing for keeps.

                            I might watch it just for the kicks and giggles.
                            defense wins championships

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                            • #15

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