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Bryan Harsin reflects on Kellen Moore for a new audience

Bryan Harsin reflects on Kellen Moore for a new audience

by Tom Scott

Bio | Follow: @thescottslant


Posted on May 11, 2012 at 7:14 AM

Updated Tuesday, Nov 5 at 4:43 PM

Friday, May 11, 2012.

There’s not a more talked-about undrafted free agent this spring than former Boise State star Kellen Moore.  Detroit’s rookie minicamp begins today—and which rookie ends up in a feature story in the Detroit Free Press?  There’s Kellen.  The most interesting excerpts from Dave Birkett’s “Kellen Moore 101” of sorts for Lions fans come from an interview he did with Bryan Harsin.  The former Bronco offensive coordinator refers to the four-inch binder Moore was clutching when he first met the Prosser prodigy in 2006.  It was packed with football plays Kellen had collected since grade school, and he remembered every one of them.  Said Harsin: "When you're sitting there as a coach and you go, 'Hey, I'm going to run this,' and he goes, 'Yeah, that's what BYU did back in 1998,' you're thinking, 'Damn, I thought I was coming up with something new here.'”

Where did the chip on Moore’s shoulder come from during his Boise State career?  Just where you thought it did, according to Birkett’s article.  Harsin said Moore has taken the questions about his size and arm strength that have hounded him for years and used them as ‘extreme motivation’ on the field.  ‘He understands the parameters that colleges look at and NFL teams look at,’ Harsin said.  ‘When we had him at Boise State, you'd put him in drills and there's other guys that looked better, ball comes out of their hand and they've got cannons, everything you're looking for.  They're like pretty cars out there.  And all of a sudden he gets into a game, and he just moves the ball down the field and takes shots and gets right back up.  As far as quarterbacks go, he's the toughest one I've ever been around.’”

And this from Birkett’s story validates what so many people felt after Kellen’s first road game as a college quarterback: “For all of Moore's success—he led Boise to three straight bowl wins and a 14-0 record as a sophomore—Harsin said his defining moment came as a redshirt freshman when he helped the Broncos beat Oregon, 37-32, at Autzen Stadium, in the third start of his career.  Moore completed 25 of 37 passes for 386 yards that game in the face of relentless pressure and in the process convinced Harsin, himself and others he was going to be a successful quarterback for a long time.  ‘I think everybody on the football team and the coaching staff was like, OK, this guy is the real deal,’ Harsin said. ‘We had something really, really special.’”

Sporting News has been running a series ranking college football coaches conference-by-conference.  Now the publication has revealed its overall list of the 124 coaches, and Boise State’s Chris Petersen ranks second, ahead of Ohio State’s Urban Meyer and behind Alabama’s Nick Saban.  “It is a one-of-a-kind thing in all of sports what he’s accomplished there in Boise,” said SN college football writer Steve Greenburg on the accompanying video piece.  “All those wins there is at least as hard as the run that Urban Meyer or Nick Saban has put together in bigger, higher-profile places in college football.”  Petersen, of course, is 73-6 going into his seventh season with the Broncos.

The College of Idaho Board of Trustees enters its second day of meetings today with the reinstatement of football at the Caldwell school expected to be a front-burner subject.  The board talked about the issue five years ago after a feasibility study but tabled it.  Football has gained traction again, though, and an announcement on bringing it back—or not—could come on Monday.  The Coyotes football program was disbanded after the 1977 season.

Graham DeLaet shot a one-under 71 yesterday in the first round of The Players Championship.  If the former Boise State star can put together a solid round today, he’ll make the cut (and make some money) in one of golf’s premier tournaments outside the majors.  DeLaet would be in really great shape had he not double-bogeyed the 18th hole yesterday.  He sits six shots behind co-leaders Ian Poulter and Martin Laird.

The new ownership at Les Bois Park knows the track’s history and embraces the tradition of the Bitterroot Futurity.  The race, scheduled for Memorial Day this year, always features one of the largest purses at Les Bois.  So tomorrow is big, as the Bitterroot Futurity trials are run, with the 10 fastest qualifiers advancing to the finals.  The Futurity features two-year-old horses sired by a select group of Idaho-based quarter horse stallions.

Former Boise Hawk Ryan Flaherty was part of American League history last night.  Baltimore became the first AL team ever to hit home runs in its first three at-bats of a game in a 6-5 win over Texas.  Flaherty led off with his shot, the first of his big league career, and was followed by J.J. Hardy and Nick Markakis off Rangers starter Colby Lewis.  It’s definitely the highlight of Flaherty’s rookie season so far—he’s batting only .194.

Boise State tennis coach Greg Patton feels his team has as good a chance this weekend as any in the past 15 years to get past the first round of the NCAA Tournament.  Patton guides Boise State against Florida State tomorrow in Athens, GA.  This is the same opponent, in the same place, and with the same two teams on the other side of the bracket (Georgia and South Carolina) as the last time the Broncos played in the NCAA’s in 2010.  “When I saw the broadcast on the NCAA Selection Show I had visions of the movie Groundhog Day,” said Patton.  The Seminoles won two years ago—Patton thinks the tables can turn tomorrow.

Other campus doings: the College of Idaho baseball team advanced to the opening round semifinals in the NAIA Championships yesterday with a 6-4 win over Shorter University in Azusa, CA.  The Coyotes will meet either host Azusa Pacific or Menlo College this afternoon.  The Boise State women’s softball team, hoping to make an impression in hopes of landing an at-large berth to the NCAA Tournament, fell to 16th-ranked Texas A&M 5-4 yesterday at Mountain Cove Field.  And, with the core of the meet beginning today, the Bronco men lead the Mountain West Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Colorado Springs by three points over host Air Force.  Boise State’s Kurt Felix won the decathlon yesterday.

This Day In Sports…May 11, 2001:

The San Diego Gulls claim their fourth WCHL Taylor Cup in six years with a dominating 4-1 win over the Idaho Steelheads in Game 7.  The Steelies had forced the decisive match with a stunning 5-1 victory two nights earlier before a hostile crowd of 8,000-plus in the San Diego Sports Arena.  But the “McPherson factor” was too much—the Gulls rallying around their captain, B.J. McPherson, whose career was ended with a dislocated neck in Game 4 of the series in Boise.

(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.)