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The face of the program like no other before him

by Tom Scott

Bio | Follow: @thescottslant

KTVB.COM

Posted on April 12, 2010 at 7:34 AM

Updated Monday, Apr 12 at 12:12 PM

 

Monday, April 12, 2010.
 
There he was again last week—in a huge photo at SI.com alongside Butler basketball star Gordon Hayward under the headline, “Goliath Will Fall.” This is not about Boise State and Butler, but about a guy who’s become the front man for one of the nation’s top five college football teams. In virtually every story written about the national championship race in 2010, there’s a mention of Boise State. And when there’s an accompanying photo, it’s virtually always Kellen Moore. From 2006-08, it was all about Ian Johnson whenever the Broncos got national pub, but it’s at another level now. And, therefore, so is Moore.
 
Less than four years after tearing up the Washington high school ranks with a state record 67 touchdown passes (and a staggering 173 for his career), Moore is now a familiar figure coast-to-coast. With Tim Tebow, Sam Bradford and Colt McCoy all graduating to the NFL, Moore is getting as much exposure as any college quarterback in the country. But he remains the unassuming 6-0, 187-pound kid from Prosser. The same one that was ignored by Pac-10 teams because of his size and perceived arm strength (not that Moore would have signed with one). I can think of, oh, eight Pac-10 teams that wish they had him now.
 
Speaking of exposure, EA Sports has chosen Tebow to grace the cover of “NCAA Football 2011.” The former Florida Heisman Trophy winner will be featured on all versions of the popular video game, ending the two-year run of using different cover athletes for each version.  The last player to appear on every cover was Boise State's Jared Zabransky on the 2008 edition of the game. 
 
The performance by Idaho’s defense in Saturday’s second scrimmage of the spring is bigger than it looks. The Vandal defenders stifled their offensive teammates, recording 10 tackles for loss, six of them sacks. They also broke up five passes while holding Nathan Enderle to 8-of-20 passing for 78 yards. Now this might be an expected result, considering Idaho returns 10 starters on defense. But the Vandals allowed 36 points a game in 2009, last in the WAC. And they were seventh in total defense, yielding an average of 433 yards. So the “returning starters” category is misleading—no position is safe.
 
The Idaho Steelheads are still awaiting the identity of their first opponent in the Kelly Cup Playoffs this Friday. The Utah Grizzlies evened the first round National Conference series against the Las Vegas Wranglers last night, 4-2. The fifth and deciding game will be played tomorrow night in West Valley City. Steelies coach Derek Laxdal said last night on Sunday Sports Extra that he has indeed had four AHL callups returned to Idaho in time for the playoff run. Richard Bachman, Dustin Friesen, Kevin DeVergilio, and Mike Neal are all back. Laxdal says there’s hope the Steelheads could also have Tyler Spurgeon back by this weekend.
 
Talk about emotional irony. While Denver coach George Karl fights throat and neck cancer and remains on indefinite leave, the Nuggets have signed his son, Coby. It’s not just a feel-good gesture, and the former Boise State star wants to prove it. "Obviously it's going to be portrayed that way, but I want to be here as a basketball player," Coby said in the Denver Post. He averaged 19.3 points for the Idaho Stampede this season, and he performed well on a 10-day contract with the Warriors this winter, averaging seven points, four rebounds and 3.9 assists in four games. George Karl has been away from the bench for almost four weeks while undergoing treatment. Coby admits he longs for George’s return, so dad can coach son. "It would be fun for me," said Coby. "If that's what helps my father recover, that's great."
 
New Boise State basketball coach Leon Rice won’t have to draw up X’s and O’s on Nevada’s Armon Johnson next winter. Johnson has declared for the NBA Draft in June. The Wolf Pack star says he’s going to hire an agent, at which time there’ll be no going back. Johnson is a 6-3 point guard who averaged 15.7 points per game this season but shot only 24 percent from three-point range. There are lots of guys out there like him. Fellow Nevada standout Luke Babbitt is still weighing his NBA options.
 
The Boise State gymnastics team missed out on its first-ever trip to nationals Saturday, finishing fourth at the NCAA Salt Lake City Regional despite their best score ever in regional competition, a 195.95. But Bronco junior Hannah Redmon won the vault with a 9.975 and will head to nationals as an individual next week in Gainesville, FL. In men’s tennis, Boise State finished its home season by sweeping New Mexico State and Nevada by identical 6-1 scores. The Broncos have three road matches before the WAC Championships in Fresno at the end of the month.
 
This Day In Sports…April 12, 2004:
 
Barry Bonds catches his godfather, Willie Mays, for the number three spot on baseball’s career home run list. Bonds deposited a pitch out of SBC Park and into McCovey Cove on Opening Day in San Francisco, the 660th homer of his career. He would pass Mays the following day and set his sights on Babe Ruth and Hank Aaron, finishing the quest amid PED controversy in 2007 with 762 career home runs.
 
(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 1350 KTIK/The Ticket. He’s also handled color commentary on KTVB’s telecasts of Boise State football the last five seasons.)

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