Bronco Beat: Moore brothers coaching duo a possibility

ccripe@idahostatesman.comNovember 29, 2013 

Kirby Moore has caught 29 passes this season for 206 yards and two touchdowns. He’ll play his final game at Bronco Stadium on Saturday.

DARIN OSWALD — doswald@idahostatesman.com

The Moore brothers might be back together on a football sideline someday.

Boise State senior wide receiver Kirby Moore said this week he plans to become a coach. His older brother, former Boise State and current Detroit Lions quarterback Kellen Moore, plans to do the same.

Kirby is one of 16 seniors — and likely one of the most popular with fans — who will be recognized before Saturday’s game against New Mexico (8:21 p.m., ESPN2).

“I’ve always had thoughts about (coaching),” said Moore, whose dad Tom is a longtime high school coach. “(College) just kind of verified it.”

Moore has spent much of this season in a quasi-coaching role. He injured a foot in the second quarter Sept. 20 at Fresno State. He finished the game — he made nine catches — but couldn’t get healthy despite two bye weeks. He missed six consecutive games before returning last week at San Diego State (four catches, 11 yards).

“It was just a day-to-day deal,” Moore said. “… I feel a lot better — way better — than the past few weeks.”

Moore is the only member of the senior class who played in 2009, when the Broncos went undefeated and won the Fiesta Bowl. He redshirted in 2010.

He has 108 career catches for 1,063 yards and six touchdowns in 44 career games.

“I wouldn’t trade it for anything,” he said.

He traveled with the Broncos while he was injured — a rarity — and spent several games dressed like a coach, wearing a headset and signaling in plays. Offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach Robert Prince requested Moore’s presence to help on the sideline.

Moore graduated a year ago with a communications degree. He’s been taking business classes since. He’ll look for a graduate assistant job at the end of the season — and he might find one without leaving town.

“He’d be a great coach,” Boise State coach Chris Petersen said. “… He’s a really sharp guy and he’s a great person. Usually guys, if they want to be GAs here, I usually like them to go away and see something different. But I think Kirby is one of those rare guys where if there was a spot available you’d try to make room for him.”

Conversations with the directors of bowl games tied to the Mountain West this week did little to clear up the Broncos’ bowl picture. An argument could be made for Boise State to land in five of the six Mountain West games — all but the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl at Bronco Stadium.

Here are some key factors that will help determine the Broncos’ fate and how the team might end up in each game:

Fresno State and the BCS

The Bulldogs unexpectedly fell behind Northern Illinois in the BCS Standings last week because of the computer rankings, which temporarily puts them on the outside of the BCS picture. CBSSports.com analyst Jerry Palm wrote that he expects Fresno State to get back in front as long as voters don’t change their minds. If Fresno State goes to the BCS, Boise State has more options. If it doesn’t, the Bulldogs likely go to the Las Vegas Bowl and Utah State likely heads to the Poinsettia Bowl.

Eligible teams

Five Mountain West teams are bowl eligible — Fresno State (10-0), San Diego State (7-4), Utah State (7-4), Boise State (7-4) and UNLV (6-5). Colorado State (6-6 vs. Air Force) is expected to make it six this week. Wyoming (5-6 at Utah State) and San Jose State (5-6 vs. Fresno State) need upset wins to get eligible. It’s still possible for the Mountain West to vacate two bowls if all three of those teams lose and Fresno State goes to the BCS; it’s also possible for the league to have two extra teams if all three win.

Mountain Division

Boise State still can win the Mountain Division if Utah State loses and the Broncos beat New Mexico. That would give the Broncos a higher priority in the bowl picks, particularly to a game like the Poinsettia Bowl, which gives preference to teams with higher finishes in the standings.

Scenarios

A scenario for each bowl (assuming Utah State wins the Mountain):

• Las Vegas: If UCLA beats USC this week, the Trojans could slip to Las Vegas. Utah State wouldn’t be an option — it played USC during the regular season — and Boise State would be a tempting choice for a big TV rating if Fresno State is in the BCS.

• Poinsettia: If Fresno State goes to the BCS and Utah State to Las Vegas, the Poinsettia would have to choose between hometown San Diego State and Boise State. The game doesn’t like repeat invites — San Diego State was there last year — and that could outweigh the on-field result.

• New Mexico, Hawaii, Armed Forces: If the Poinsettia takes San Diego State, or Fresno State misses the BCS, these three games are going to get a rare shot at the Broncos, who haven’t played in the New Mexico Bowl, haven’t played in the Hawaii Bowl since 2007 and haven’t played in the Armed Forces Bowl since 2003 (then the Fort Worth Bowl). New Mexico has the best opponent (Pac-12) and likely the best fan access; Hawaii is intriguing because of the men’s basketball team’s Christmas tournament there; and Armed Forces could enter the picture if New Mexico prefers someone else (San Diego State or Colorado State) and the Mountain West sends UNLV to Hawaii.

•••

Petersen left backup quarterback Grant Hedrick in the game last week at San Diego State through eight consecutive scoreless possessions to start the game. The Broncos haven’t pulled their starter for performance reasons since the 2005 game against Idaho, when Taylor Tharp replaced Jared Zabransky.

Hedrick recovered to lead three touchdown drives and set up a potential game-winning field goal in the second half.

“It’s always kind of a feel thing,” Petersen said. “One of the first reactions when somebody struggles is to pull them out. Sometimes that’s not the best. They have to work through it. … (Benching the quarterback) is painful, and you just don’t want to do that.”

•••

The quarterback position will be open in the spring, Petersen said, but there’s no doubt that Hedrick will have an edge because of the nearly five full games he has played this season.

“By the end of spring ball, he should be a different type of player,” Petersen said. “… It certainly helps that he’s getting all these reps.”

Redshirt freshman Nick Patti and true freshman Ryan Finley will compete with Hedrick in the spring. High school senior Jalen Greene plans to enroll in January so he can join the competition, too.

•••

Petersen has not talked to junior defensive end Demarcus Lawrence to gauge his interest in leaving early for the NFL, but he will help him gather information after the season, the coach said.

Petersen generally draws the line after the first round. If a player is going to be picked later than that, he figures, he can gain by returning to school.

Left tackle Ryan Clady left after his junior season in 2007 and was a first-round pick in the 2008 NFL Draft. Cornerback Orlando Scandrick (fifth round, 2008) and wide receiver Jeremy Childs (undrafted, 2009) also left early.

The Broncos’ other first-round picks — cornerback Kyle Wilson (2010), tailback Doug Martin (2012) and defensive end Shea McClellin (2012) — completed their college careers and improved their draft stock in their final seasons.

Lawrence leads the Mountain West and is fourth in the nation with 10.5 sacks. He leads the Mountain West and is second in the nation with 18 tackles for loss.

“We always want what’s best for the guy,” Petersen said. “If we have a guy, a Ryan Clady where it’s best to go, then they should go. He was the one guy that was probably, ‘You should go.’ ”

Chadd Cripe is in his 12th year as the Idaho Statesman beat writer for Boise State football. He also is a voter for The Associated Press Top 25. You can contact him at ccripe@idahostatesman.com, follow him on Twitter at @IDS_BroncoBeat and read his blog at blogs.idahostatesman.com/broncobeat.

STATESMAN BOWL PROJECTIONS

Bowl Championship Series

National Championship Game (Jan. 6, Pasadena, Calif.): Alabama vs. Florida State

Fiesta Bowl (Jan. 1, Glendale, Ariz.): Oklahoma State vs. Fresno State

Rose Bowl (Jan. 1, Pasadena, Calif.): Stanford vs. Ohio State

Sugar Bowl (Jan. 2, New Orleans): Auburn vs. UCF

Orange (Jan. 3, Miami): Wisconsin vs. Clemson

Mountain West tie-ins

Las Vegas Bowl (Dec. 21): Utah State (MW No. 1) vs. UCLA (Pac-12 No. 5)

Poinsettia Bowl (Dec. 26, San Diego): Boise State (MW No. 2) vs. Bowling Green (MAC)

New Mexico Bowl (Dec. 21, Albuquerque): San Diego State (MW) vs. Washington State (Pac-12 No. 7)

Hawaii Bowl (Dec. 24, Honolulu): UNLV (MW) vs. Marshall (C-USA)

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl (Dec. 21, Boise): Colorado State (MW) vs. Ball State (MAC No. 3)

NOTE: The MW would vacate the Armed Forces Bowl vs. Navy under this scenario.

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