Tuesday, August 9, 2011
Kellen Moore returns amid change
By Andrea Adelson
You would be hard pressed to find a more consistent passer than Kellen Moore over the past three seasons.
His numbers are downright eye popping when you stop and look. Moore has thrown for more than 3,000 yards in each of his three seasons as a starter for Boise State. He threw 10 interceptions as a freshman, and a combined nine since. He ranks second on the NCAA active career list in completion percentage (68.17), and he is coming off a season in which he made it to New York as a finalist for the Heisman.
But there are many changes headed into his senior season. Moore lost his two star receivers, Titus Young and Austin Pettis. He has a new offensive coordinator in Brent Pease. And he goes into the season as a married man, having wed his high school sweetheart earlier this summer.
Plenty of upheaval to be sure. Yet coach Chris Petersen is highly confident in Moore, a student of the game who has the leadership ability, calm demeanor and perfect attitude to lead the Broncos on another run to a BCS game.
“He’s played at such a good level from his freshman year,” Petersen said. “We’ve seen growth and changes, they’re just so subtle. He’s just been consistent. … We need him to do what he’s been doing. If everyone around him plays good, his numbers will be good.”
True, but much responsibility falls onto the shoulders of Moore as the quarterback. The last year has been a whirlwind for him. He has been in constant motion since last December, when he became the first Boise State player to become a Heisman finalist.
Moore had some down time in June, and that was about it. In between then, he got timing down with his receivers during offseason workouts; attended the Manning Passing Academy; and served as a counselor at an Elite 11 camp for the best prep quarterbacks in the country.
Somehow he squeezed in his wedding in Park City, Utah -- just a few months after he got down on one knee and proposed on his front porch in his hometown of Prosser, Wash., where he and his wife shared their first kiss 6 ½ years ago.
Boise State's Kellen Moore needs eight wins to become the all-time winningest quarterback in FBS history.
But now it's back to the business of football. Moore shrugged away all queries about his untested group of receivers during Mountain West media day, saying he had talented players around him who just need their shot.
“We’re going to look at six, seven guys, rotating them in and getting them involved, as opposed to two or four guys involved in the game plan,” Moore said. “We’ll try to get a couple running backs going. (Tight ends) Kyle Efaw, Gabe Linehan … at the wide receiver position, Tyler Shoemaker’s played enough -- he’s ready to rock and roll. Geraldo Boldewijn, he’ll step up. Guys like Kirby (Moore) and Chris Potter, Mitch Burroughs, guys who’ve had experience, we can lean on them.”
Shoemaker is the leading returning receiver to the team, having caught 32 passes last season for 582 yards and five touchdowns. Running back Doug Martin could play more of a role as well, after catching 28 passes for 338 yards and two touchdowns last season as well.
There should also be familiarity with Pease, who was on the Boise State staff as receivers coach before replacing Bryan Harsin -- who left for Texas -- as coordinator. The offensive philosophy will stay the same, and Moore is confident the changes will mean minimal disruption.
That would help in getting Moore another shot at the Heisman. In the past 10 years, five Heisman finalists have returned to New York as finalists the following season. That includes two winners, Tim Tebow and Jason White.
But more than that, Moore is on pace to become the winningest quarterback in FBS history. Moore has 38 career victories and needs eight to break the mark of 45, set by Colt McCoy of Texas in 2009.
“The victories record is a special one just because that comes with more than just me,” Moore said. “I’m smart enough to recognize if I can do that, then George Iloka would probably be the winningest safety. Thomas Byrd would love to be the winningest center. There’s been a lot of guys involved in that run. I think that would be pretty neat.”
Neater still if he did it given all the changes ahead.