Washington football coach Chris Petersen, the former Boise State coach, is in Texas this week for the Heart of Dallas Bowl.
He was asked about his former quarterback, Kellen Moore, on Wednesday at a media event.
Moore will make his first NFL start Sunday for the Dallas Cowboys at the Buffalo Bills. Moore came off the bench in the second quarter last week against the Jets, the first time he has played in a regular-season game. This is his fourth year in the NFL.
“It’s about time,” Petersen said with a chuckle. “I think we’re all just really excited because we really wanted him to be able to get an opportunity — a good opportunity, not just preseason or get thrown into a game, but actually get a chance to prepare and put some things on tape. He’s just a unique player. It’s different. You don’t get in love with him because of his physical attributes — that’s not what makes him special. It’s everything else. It’s all those intangibles we talk about. Heck, when we were recruiting him, you don’t really know until you get around him and give him enough opportunities. He just always seems to do the right thing, for the most part, out there with the football. I think it’s a wonderful opportunity to see if he can get it done at the highest level.”
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Pressed for one time that Moore did something out of character for him, Petersen remember the pick six Moore threw in 2009 at Louisiana Tech. Moore tried to throw the ball across the field out of bounds off his back foot rather than take a sack.
“He doesn’t come out of character,” Petersen said. “I can remember one or two times where he made a decision on the field where I was just so irritated because he just would not do that. He would not make bad decisions out there. He was a four-year starter, he won 50 games as a starting quarterback, and out of all that football I can remember one play.”
Current Boise State coach Bryan Harsin, who was Moore’s position coach and offensive coordinator for the first four of the quarterback’s five years in Boise, also was asked about Moore this week.
He learned that Moore had gotten into the Jets game at the end of practice Saturday evening and immediately informed the team. Moore frequently visits the team facility in the offseason and played with some current Broncos during his senior year.
“It’s awesome to see him have an opportunity to go play,” Harsin said. “I’ll have my Dallas gear all ready to watch him and hopefully see him succeed and play well. It’s all about opportunity and I think for him, I know he’s been waiting for it. I know this is something he’s going to take advantage of and hopefully it shows up when he goes out there and plays. We’re all excited for him. ... I fully anticipate him doing a great job when he plays.”
Harsin said it’s “huge” for Boise State to finally be able to say one of its quarterbacks has played in an NFL regular-season game.
“He’s still developing,” he said. “He’s still trying to make his mark in the NFL, which I hope he does. I know he’s going to take advantage of it. I hope that opportunity continues for him because he’s a guy, as a quarterback, there’s not many like him when it comes to how he prepares and what he’s capable of doing.”
Harsin joked that the game should be played on the big screen at Albertsons Stadium so fans could get together to watch.
“Every household will have that on, cheering him on,” he said. “And those 11 jerseys will be out.”
Moore has created a relationship with Boise State’s current starting quarterback, true freshman Brett Rypien. Moore invited Rypien to participate in his camp in Richland, Wash., last summer.
“I’ve gotten really close with him since I’ve gotten here,” Rypien said. “He was around the facility a lot this spring. There were a couple times where he’d be there and I’d pick his brain about stuff. I got to work his camp this summer, which was a lot of fun. I’ve been in contact with him ever since that.”
Fans have compared Rypien to Moore because they’re both from Washington and posted similar high school stats. Rypien wanted to wear No. 11 at Boise State but admits now that probably wouldn’t have been the right thing to do.
“It’s definitely tough,” he said of the comparisons. “You can’t really compare to a guy that’s won 50 games in college. I don’t know if that will ever happen again. You watch the film on him and you try to emulate what he did, what made him so good.”