Boise State Football

Ex-Boise State great Kellen Moore embraces ‘unique’ role with Dallas Cowboys

Kellen Moore’s hall of fame intro, featuring Chris Petersen and Bryan Harsin

Former Boise State football coach Chris Petersen and current coach Bryan Harsin introduced former quarterback Kellen Moore for the induction ceremony April 13, 2018.
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Former Boise State football coach Chris Petersen and current coach Bryan Harsin introduced former quarterback Kellen Moore for the induction ceremony April 13, 2018.

It could be a pretty awkward situation — from teammate to coach, telling guys what to do instead of playing alongside them.

But for Kellen Moore, the ex-Dallas backup and Boise State great in his first season as the Cowboys’ quarterbacks coach, it has been no big deal.

“The way I see it, I just moved over one chair in the meeting room,” Moore said Sunday following Dallas’ 20-13 win. “I have to talk a lot more, so that’s been an adjustment.”

Moore, who played six NFL seasons with the Lions and Cowboys, appeared in three regular-season games for Dallas in 2015. Having worked with offensive coordinator Scott Linehan five of those six seasons, he said there wasn’t a need for a learning period.

First-year QB coach Kellen Moore talks about Dak Prescott and transitioning from player to coach.

Plus, coach Jason Garrett, like Moore, went immediately from playing in the NFL to earning a job coaching quarterbacks, and the Cowboys’ top two quarterbacks, Dak Prescott and Cooper Rush, played with Moore last season.

“Being familiar with the offense, knowing these quarterbacks, it’s been pretty smooth,” Moore said. “Obviously there are new things I’ve had to learn, but having Scott and coach Garrett around, both having been in similar roles, it’s been a huge benefit.”

It is an uncommon move for someone to be in a position like Moore, but Moore is hardly common.

The last left-handed passer on an active NFL roster, Moore was undrafted in 2012. No one could imagine he’d spend a half-dozen years as a pro, but despite being undersized, he was 50-3 at Boise State for a reason. His smarts and preparation are legendary.

“I think anyone that’s followed him, knows what made him successful at Boise State, it’s not a surprise. I like to call him ‘Coach’ whenever I see him around, I know he loves that,” former Boise State teammate and Cowboys veteran defensive end Tyrone Crawford said with a laugh.

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Dallas Cowboys quarterback coach Kellen Moore, right, talks with Dak Prescott during warmups before an NFL football game against the New York Giants on Sunday, Sept. 16, 2018, at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Jim Cowsert TNS

Moore, who turned 30 in July, is one of the youngest assistants in the NFL.

“It’s unique. I understand most people don’t start out like this. ... But I’m very appreciative of being on this side of things, having this chance,” Moore said.

Prescott was so-so in the Cowboys’ opener but took a leap forward Sunday against the Giants, completing 16-of-25 passes for 160 yards with a touchdown and a career-best 45 yards rushing. In February, when asked about Moore’s hiring, he said “I pushed for that.”

The third-year quarterback said his former backup has been the key go-between for himself and the Cowboys’ offensive coordinator.

“Kellen, I guess you call him the mediator at that point, when I come to the sideline,” Prescott said Thursday. “Me and him talk about what we saw and then he gets on the headset and he’s talking with Linehan. Then he’ll get back to me with what Linehan’s thinking with the plays and stuff that we’re working towards, so it’s been great.”

Former Boise State quarterback Kellen Moore was inducted into the school's Athletic Hall of Fame on April 13, 2018. He spoke to the media beforehand.

Four former Boise State players are on the Cowboys’ roster — DeMarcus Lawrence, Tyrone Crawford, Leighton Vander Esch and Cedrick Wilson (injured reserve). With Moore on the coaching staff, the blue and orange flair is hard to miss, and he says it makes sense, and it’s why he’s content in his new place.

“The Cowboys are a special thing in the NFL and I’d like to think Boise State is a special thing in college football,” Moore said.

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