While most coaching staffs spend time figuring out how to capitalize on a star player's athletic gifts, the Boise State football coaches will use the upcoming offseason to find ways to incorporate quarterback Kellen Moore's mental prowess.
That might mean more audibles.
And it might mean letting Moore call his own plays in no-huddle situations.
Those are the luxuries presented by a player who, despite being the first freshman in school history to start the season opener at quarterback, has placed himself alongside some of the Broncos' all-time greats.
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Moore is on pace to set the school record for single-season completion percentage and produce the second-most passing yards going into the No. 9 Broncos' Dec. 23 date with No. 11 TCU in the Poinsettia Bowl in San Diego. He was named the WAC Freshman of the Year and the second-team All-WAC quarterback.
"It will be interesting to see in the offseason where we want to take this thing," coach Chris Petersen said. "He's sharp enough to get us in and out of certain plays. We haven't done a tremendous amount of those things in the past. If there were a bunch of variables, we'd just stay away from that situation and not have to change plays and audible. In the no-huddle, I could see that guy being very good where we don't signal the play, we let him choose.
" It's fun to have some options. He's such a football rat anyways. He'll continue to study our system."
Moore, as you might expect, likes the idea.
"I'm fine with that," he said Thursday in his first meeting with reporters this season other than after games. "I'd probably prepare a little more. I think still, the way our offense is, it's not like I'm going to be making up my own plays. It's going to be pretty dialed in and pretty specific what I'm looking for."
Moore has the second-best passer rating among the four first-time starting quarterbacks the Broncos have employed since joining the WAC in 2001. The only guy who was better was Ryan Dinwiddie, arguably the greatest passer in school history.
Dinwiddie, who tossed 29 touchdown passes in 2001, did it as a sophomore.
Moore has been hamstrung at times by the Broncos' second-least-productive rushing attack in the WAC era - with 162.7 yards per game. Only the 2003 team, with 150.1 yards per game on the ground and Dinwiddie shredding defenses through the air, fared worse.
Moore has thrown the third-most passes in school history. The two players who threw it more often were seniors.
"It wasn't exactly how we wanted it," Petersen said. "We probably threw it more than we'd like to. That can put more pressure on a quarterback. For a first-year quarterback, that can be a tough situation."
More times than not, however, Moore delivered a big play in the passing attack when the run game was stuffed. He led the Broncos to a total of 78 points at Oregon and Nevada - two games in which the Broncos were held to 70 or fewer rushing yards.
"Obviously, I had some ugly spots in there every once in a while," said Moore, who tossed three of his nine interceptions in the third quarter at Nevada. "You just sort of shake it off, whatever, and keep it going."
Moore clearly has enjoyed himself. He says he has learned how to become more efficient in the way that he prepares for games and has relied heavily on the playmakers around him.
"Obviously, I felt like I was capable of it," he said of his performance. "I just never knew when it would come. It came early, I guess."
And now, by all appearances, Moore will be a fixture under center for the Broncos. After two straight offseasons consumed by quarterback competitions, the biggest question for 2009 is how Moore will grow.
"He's very composed and a great leader," junior fullback Richie Brockel said. " We'd be in a lull and he'd hit a big play. This is his first year and we're already talking about him like this, so I'm excited to see what he's going to develop into."
Chadd Cripe: 377-6398