Wednesday, April 25, 2012.
I first used this line in the summer of 2010 after WAC Media Day: Kellen Moore may be the first guy ever to be selected in the NFL Draft as a coach. Sometime Saturday, about the fifth round or so, some wise NFL coach is going to see Kellen still on the board and say, “Hey—we’ve got to find out. It won’t cost us much now.” That guy will pick Moore just so the Boise State great can stand next to him on the sideline with a headset on. It just takes one out of 32 NFL teams to get it. I do believe Jon Gruden got it during Kellen’s episode on “Gruden’s QB Camp” on ESPNU. “Kellen Moore is like a football wizard,” said Gruden. The Monday Night Football analyst’s closing lines on the Moore program still resonate. “If it doesn’t work out under center for this guy, he’s going to make one helluva coach,” Gruden said. “I wouldn’t want to play against his team.”
I’ve wondered about this Kellen Moore idiosyncrasy as we hear it more and more but have never brought it up. I’ll let a Scott Slant reader do it for me. “Is it possible to be too humble?” the reader asks. “Grammatically speaking, I think so. How did our favorite Prosser product develop this dang habit of speaking of himself in the second person? ‘When you get a chance to contribute, you certainly want to do that.’ And, ‘You’re obviously excited about the opportunity. You just need one team to fall in love with you.’ Count on hearing it in every interview. Somebody oughta gently remind him that ‘I’ is not a four-letter word and it's perfectly appropriate to use that pronoun on occasion.” The reader is right, Kellen. The public will forgive you for some well-deserved “I, me, my.”
It only gets more interesting for the Muscle Hamster and the one-time Marsing Husky as we sit one day away from the NFL Draft. Boise State’s Doug Martin is listed as the No. 14 overall prospect on Mike Mayock’s new Top 100 at NFL.com. Mayock has Martin as the No. 2 running back in the draft behind Alabama’s Trent Richardson. And the NFL Network commentator has moved Shea McClellin into the No. 1 spot at outside linebacker—No. 17 overall. Regardless of what happens tomorrow night, this is pretty darn amazing. Mayock ranks two other Broncos in his Top 100: defensive end Tyrone Crawford at No. 73 and defensive tackle Billy Winn at No. 83. The absence of George Iloka on the list indicates Mayock’s doubts that the star Boise State safety will go in the first three rounds.
Boise State knows one TV outlet and one kickoff time for 2012 now. The opener at Michigan State has been officially assigned to ESPN with a 6 p.m. start on Friday, August 31. One down, 12 to go (including a bowl game). With “the Mtn.” network going away in five weeks, the Broncos’ non-conference home games that would have otherwise been TV property of the Mountain West may now be available to ESPN. Don’t count on the home opener against Miami (Ohio) ending up on the Worldwide Leader, but the showdown against BYU would be a natural. This will, by the way, be the fourth straight year ESPN has telecast Boise State’s season opener.
One postscript on Idaho spring football. As difficult as it is to judge the Vandal offense before the O-line returns to action en masse in fall camp, coach Robb Akey has to feel good about the chances of Ryan Bass becoming the feature back this season. When Idaho did move the ball last fall during a yardage-challenged year, running backs Kama Bailey and Princeton McCarty usually had a lot to do with it. But Bailey and McCarty are both gone now, and Akey needs Bass to take the next step. Bass, who transferred from Arizona State over a year ago, was plagued by injuries and an “east-west” tag last season while rushing for 175 yards and two touchdowns. But he had six carries for 42 yards in the Silver & Gold scrimmage last Friday, doing a lot of it on his own, north and south.
The Race To Robie Creek last Saturday was all over the news, as usual. But there hasn’t been much publicity yet on Ironman 70.3 Boise. The fifth annual race is set for Saturday, June 9, with the 1.2-mile swim again kicking things off at Lucky Peak, followed by the 56-mile bike course along (and away from) the Boise River Greenbelt, and the half-marathon that finishes in downtown Boise. The more adventurous runners of Robie should be healed by then. Last year there were over 1,300 professional and age-group athletes in Ironman Boise 70.3. This year the Boise event is one of three in the global Ironman 70.3 series that has had its age group qualifying slots for the world championship race in September increased to 100.
The Idaho Steelheads are done this season, but their former coach is not. In his second season with Edmonton of the Western Hockey League, a circuit chock full of future NHL-ers, Derek Laxdal has done a yeoman’s job of turning the team around. In Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals last night, the Oil Kings took a commanding three games-to-none lead over Moose Jaw with a 3-2 victory. They had dominated the first two games of the series by identical 6-1 scores. And get this: Edmonton has won 22 straight games dating back to regular season. The Oil Kings had the WHL’s best overall record this season two years after winning just 16 games and bringing in Laxdal from Boise.
A feature article in yesterday’s New York Times headlined “Late Innings for the Sports Cartoon” laments the demise of that art form in newspapers, thanks to decreasing revenues and decreasing space. Maybe I’m showing my age, but I’ve always liked sports cartoons. Richard Sandomir’s story points out that they are “visual columnists” as they poke fun at sports figures. “People will cut out cartoons and put them on a fridge, but not a column,” Rob Tornoe of the Philadelphia Inquirer said.
Which brings to mind Steve Moore, a one-time Boisean now based in Sun Valley, whose “In The Bleachers” runs daily in the Statesman, among other newspapers. Moore is more “Far Side” stylist than editorialist. Which makes him a bright part of everybody’s day. “We’re moving to a more visual society,” Denver cartoonist Drew Litton said, “so I’m waiting for editors and publishers to say, ‘Wait a second, we’re going in the wrong direction by cutting these cartoons.’” Here’s hoping the Statesman never goes that route with Moore.
This Day In Sports…April 25, 1932:
The birthday of the “Clown Prince of Basketball.” Meadowlark Lemon played more than 16,000 games for the Harlem Globetrotters after joining the team in 1955. The Meadowlark era was the best, featuring other greats like Curly Neal, Geese Ausbie, Marques Haynes and Goose Tatum. Lemon left the Globetrotters in 1980 to form a number of other touring teams, but returned to play 50 games in 1994 at the age of 61. Meadowlark Lemon…80 years old today.
(Tom Scott hosts the Scott Slant segment Sunday nights at 10:30PM on KTVB’s Sunday Sports Extra and anchors five sports segments each weekday on 93.1 The Ticket. He also served as color commentator on KTVB’s telecasts of Boise State football for 14 seasons.)