Wednesday, January 24, 2018.
It may not have been a widely-held belief, but around here we figured the Dallas Cowboys would lock Kellen Moore in their quarterbacks room if he decided to retire as a player. It would have been nice to see the Boise State great return to the blue turf with a whistle, but he used his six seasons as Scott Linehan’s sounding board in Detroit and Dallas to cement his value as a football mind, and reports yesterday said the Cowboys have finally named Moore as their quarterbacks coach. Kellen didn’t have the height, arm strength or wheels to thrive in the NFL, but he had the vision to help Dak Prescott develop into a phenom in 2016—and to help Tony Romo the season before. Moore has passed “go” in his coaching career, and he’s collecting a lot more than $200. This is an incredible beginning for the former Prosser Mustang.
In the early days of the Boise State football team’s Summer Softball Classic, players filled out questionnaires for the public address announcer (me at the time). One question had to do with where they saw themselves in the future. One year, Kellen Moore wrote, “Head football coach, Boise State University.” Bronco Nation would still love to see that someday, but if it happens, the journey will be a lot different than anyone thought. Moore won’t go the college football graduate assistant route, nor position coach. He’s skipped that. From Dallas, he could go directly into an offensive coordinator’s spot somewhere. That is, if college ball is even attractive to him down the line. He may be in the NFL for good.
Cedrick Wilson started his Senior Bowl workouts yesterday after measurements. He was listed as 6-3 at Boise State, the tape had him at just under 6-2 in Mobile. Oh well. Early observations from various places: “The dark horse on the team could be Cedrick Wilson Jr. from Boise State,” writes Patrick Conn of WFAA-TV in Dallas. “He has an NFL pedigree as his father Cedrick Wilson Sr. played in the NFL for seven seasons.” Josh Norris of Rotoworld equates Wilson’s future role to that of Ted Ginn, with his “crossing routes, underneath receptions and vertical shots.” Simply put, Wilson is in good company this week. Eighty-five players from the Senior Bowl were selected in the 2017 NFL Draft, more than a third of all players drafted, and 47 percent of all players picked in Rounds 2 through 4 played in the game.
Reports on Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen in practice were a bit uneven yesterday, but the reviews on his measurements were unanimous. Allen was just under 6-5 and weighed in at 237 pounds. But scouts really liked his hands, which tied for the largest among all Senior Bowl quarterbacks at 10 1/8 inches. Pull out a ruler and check that out. That’s big for a football guy.
Former Boise State star Shea McClellin is hoping like heck for another Super Bowl ring, but there’s not much he can do to help the New England Patriots get it. The former Boise State star was on Idaho SportsTalk yesterday and acknowledged that after spending the season on injured reserve, the ring would kind of feel like a participation trophy this time. “I feel 100 percent right now,” McClellin said. “If I could play, I’d be out there, but because of the rules I can’t.” With that said, McClellin’s future is cloudy. He said he’s not yet committing to football next season, as he’s still discussing his health with doctors. "We'll see what happens,” said McClellin, who has one year and $2.3 million remaining on his contract with the Pats.
One of the worst losses of Boise State’s Leon Rice era came two years ago at San Jose State, a 68-63 defeat that sent the Broncos into the Mountain West Tournament with air seeping out of their balloon. The whole SJSU aura made it hard to take. Boise State has played the Spartans 31 other times and has won 29, including a 16-0 record at home. It’s hard to sugarcoat the state of the San Jose State athletic program. The men’s basketball team is 3-15, and 0-7 in conference play. It’s averaging 1,529 fans per game. That comes on the heels of a 2-11 football season with a generously-reported average of 14,206 fans per game in Spartan Stadium. It’s a tough, tough situation down there. San Jose State brings a seven-game losing streak into Taco Bell Arena tonight.
You have five more chances to watch Chandler Hutchison at home, beginning tonight. The big picture for Hutchison this season is his accomplishments—and the buzz it’s created surrounding his prospects for the NBA. Since spot duty against Loyola-Chicago following his November concussion, Boise State’s star senior has averaged 24.4 points the last 13 games, including the record 44 points against San Diego State. But there are individual moments that fans won’t forget. One of them was on ESPNU last Saturday night. With about 4½ minutes remaining at Nevada, Hutchison made a steal and, in the same motion, whipped a behind-the-back pass to Lexus Williams. The ball was knocked out of Williams’ hands—ahead to a streaking Hutchison. Somehow he kept his balance and laid it in, giving the Broncos their final lead of the night.
The Idaho Steelheads will be facing one of the ECHL’s hottest teams and one of the league’s hottest players when they open a three-game series at Colorado tonight. What’s more, the Steelheads face the Eagles in nine of their next 12 games, so with Colorado holding an eight-point lead over Idaho in the ECHL Mountain Division, this is a crucial stretch of the season. The Eagles are packed with talent. They had the ECHL Player of the Month for December, Michael Joly, who scored 11 goals. And they landed the ECHL Goaltender of the Week two weeks ago, as Joe Cannata allowed just four goals in a three-game sweep of Rapid City.
Back to football—some really good assistant coaches are never meant to be head coaches. Mike Locksley is apparently a very good assistant coach, as he has been promoted to offensive coordinator at Alabama. Locksley was head coach at New Mexico from 2009-11 but was fired after an 0-4 start (and some off-field problems) in his final season, Boise State’s first in the Mountain West. He was 2-26 overall at UNM. Locksley was long gone when the Broncos and Lobos ended the regular season on the blue turf in a 45-0 Boise State win in Kellen Moore’s final home game. Some see it as a move for continuity by Alabama coach Nick Saban, figuring it will stabilize and improve recruiting.
This Day In Sports…January 24, 1968:
The birthday of one of America’s Olympic legends. Mary Lou Retton was the first U.S. woman ever to win the gymnastics all-round gold medal at the Olympics when she topped the podium at the 1984 Summer Games in Los Angeles. Retton also won two silvers and two bronzes that year. As a result, she was the first female ever to be featured on a Wheaties box and became one of the country’s most popular athletes of the 1980’s. Mary Lou Retton…50 years old today.
(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.)