Wednesday, July 28, 2010.
Kellen Moore got down to brass tacks on what surrounds him during WAC Media Days in Salt Lake City. After answering questions from a battery of microphones on Heisman Trophy possibilities and national championship hopes and the Mountain West future, Moore took a breath in the now-empty room to talk about what he’s seen during Boise State’s player-run practices this summer. The Bronco quarterback stressed that, for BSU’s talented pack of redshirt freshmen, going through a first full summer with the rest of the team is “huge.” Geraldo Hiwat, for example, is really taking off at wide receiver. Kellen says the Dutch import by way of Capital High “is more confident—he’s not thinking 100 miles per hour,” Moore says Hiwat and fellow wideout Aaron Burks are “understanding the system; they’re not robotic.”
On the other side of the ball, Moore sings the praises of Jamar Taylor, the cornerback who had to redshirt last year due to injury. “Jamar’s had a great offseason,” says Kellen. As to who has given him the biggest challenge this summer, Moore says, “B.T. (Brandyn Thompson) definitely during PRP’s. As usual.” Kellen also talked about Jeron Johnson. “Everybody knows how good he is and how he hits—and thinks he can’t get any better,” said Moore. “But his coverage skills are better than ever. That’s what I see from my perspective.”
As for his future, no one has realistically expected Moore to declare early for the NFL Draft next April, but he did have to respond to that question. “I’ve got two years to play (at Boise State),” said Kellen, who will graduate in December. His goal remains playing football as long as he can—and then going into coaching. Moore’s checking into his master’s options in athletic administration. Will he be drafted high in April, 2012? Kellen may be the first guy ever to be selected in the first round as a coach.
Think Boise State is looking ahead to next year and its move to the Mountain West? If you’ve followed coach Chris Petersen for any length of time, you know what he says about that. Two Salt Lake Tribune staffers and two from the Deseret News attended WAC Media Days, trying to extract quotes from Petersen on the Broncos’ anticipation of next season and their new quest in the Mountain West. “2011? That’s like dog years away,” said Pete. “We’re all about this season—it’s all about the WAC.” And you know that’s not just coach-speak. “I have not had any conversations with our team about next season,” he said. The other WAC coaches got so many questions about the Broncos leaving, they started to get cranky. If you think the bullseye was big on their chests before…
Whoa, has this Boise State-Idaho thing blown up, or what? When I asked Idaho coach Robb Akey about the future of the rivalry in his press conference, he said, “You play it home-and-home, or you don’t play it at all.” Then I brought up the possibility of “home” meaning Washington State’s Martin Stadium, and Akey wasn’t in favor of that. Another school’s logo and colors adorning the facility doesn’t constitute a home field. It was all about the Kibbie Dome for Akey, as he passionately defended playing there. Then Akey came full-circle on the Wazzu thing: “If it needed to be done because we were going to put 40,000 people in the stadium, then it would be something we’d have to look at,” he said. I wonder how Bob Kustra feels about going to Pullman.
WAC commissioner Karl Benson says the conference is already underway with the process of evaluating the future, meaning expansion or no expansion. No mention of Montana. Of the potential FCS candidates for WAC membership, Benson said, “Texas State is the only one that has indicated it’s prepared to make the move.” So the WAC moves forward in 2011 as an eight-team conference. Athletic directors will meet in about three weeks to discuss the situation, with the league’s board taking it up this fall. By January, Benson said, the makeup of the WAC in 2012 will begin to take shape.
As Derek Laxdal goes from the ECHL to the Western Hockey League, Hardy Sauter does the opposite and replaces Laxdal as head coach of the Idaho Steelheads. Sauter coached the Spokane Chiefs of the WHL the past two seasons and won 91 of 141 games, but he was released after the team was eliminated in the first round of the playoffs this spring. As a player, Sauter was a two time Defenseman of the Year in the CHL, so you can guess what brand of hockey the Steelheads are going to play.
Man, did the first half of the season go out with a thud for the Boise Hawks. The Hawks lost their last five games and watched the Spokane Indians walk away with the East Division first-half title. The good news for the Hawks: there is now a second half in the quest to make the Northwest League playoffs, and everybody is 0-0. The Hawks had last night off and return home tonight to begin a five-game series against the Vancouver Canadians.
This Day In Sports…July 28, 1984:
The Summer Olympics open in Los Angeles—without the Soviet Union and 14 other Soviet bloc nations. Those countries boycotted the Summer Games, partly in reprisal for the U.S. boycott of the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow. But the organizers of the L.A. Games, including C.E.O. Peter Ueberroth, were able to turn a rare and surprising profit of $200 million. Stars of those Olympics included sprinter Carl Lewis, who won four gold medals, and women’s gymnastics all-around gold medalist Mary Lou Retton.
(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.)