So many people want to doubt him, and much of the media wants to follow suit. But Dallas beat writers keep hearing that new Cowboys offensive coordinator Kellen Moore knows what the heck he’s talking about. Moore is kind of shy and kind of quiet, as we know, and he still looks 20 even though he’s now 30. But put him in front of a whiteboard in a meeting room, and he’s confident and commanding. Jon Machota of the Dallas Morning News has asked a lot of coaches and players about Moore, and the reviews keep coming back positive. New quarterbacks coach Jon Kitna, who’s 16 years older than Kellen, puts it this way: “I think he does a great job making sure everything fits and really organizing our staff so that everybody understands what their role is, delegating things. Along with that he’s got a beautiful mind.”
Now here’s what most of Bronco Nation will get—even if some of Cowboys Nation doesn’t quite yet. Listen to this. “I think the beauty of our current roster is we have a lot of versatility,” Moore said. “We have guys that can kind of line up in a lot of different places. Hopefully we can be multiple and present things in different ways, and at the end of the day, still have our foundation and our philosophy. You can run similar plays, just out of a lot of different looks.” Is that not a summation of everything Kellen did in his Boise State days? He used the words “multiple” and “versatility” several times in describing what the Dallas offense will look like. Moore knows that drill.
MAEVA MOVES ACROSS THE COUNTRY
Linebacker Tyson Maeva, dismissed from the Boise State team after being sent home from the First Responder Bowl for a violation of team rules, will finish his college career at Florida International. Maeva thanked FIU coach Butch Davis and co-defensive coordinator Jeff Copp in his tweet announcing the news last night. Copp is a former Bronco defensive lineman who was part of Boise State’s first two Humanitarian Bowl championship teams. Maeva was the Broncos’ second-leading tackler with 61 stops last season, and his departure left a hole in the middle of the defense—one the staff hopes will be filled by some combination of Zeke Noa, Riley Whimpey, Benton Wickersham and DJ Schramm.
IDAHO TIES IN THE BIG EASY
I mentioned last week that the irrepressible Marcus Henry had been released by the Seattle Seahawks. I say “irrepressible” because the former Boise State center keeps hangin’ around in the NFL when it looks like curtains for him. Henry was signed Tuesday by the New Orleans Saints, the team that picked him up as an undrafted free agent after the 2016 draft. KTIK’s Mike Prater points out that the Saints now have a former Bronco, a former Idaho Vandal (Kaden Elliss), a former Idaho State Bengal (Josh Hill) and a one-time Idaho high school star (Taysom Hill) on the roster at the same time. Prater gave me a shout-out asking if that’s ever happened before. I think not.
MERRITT’S GREAT ESCAPE IS REWARDED
As Troy Merritt prepares for his second PGA Championship appearance beginning Thursday on Long Island in New York, he’s one of two nominees this week for the “MetLife MatchUp” honor. It’s a season-long contest “recognizing the players who best navigate challenging situations on the course.” And boy howdy, did Merritt have a challenging situation in the second round last week at the AT&T Byron Nelson. The Meridian resident and former Boise State star landed a tee shot on the path in front of the hospitality tents on the sixth hole. Merritt then hit a 175-yard approach shot from the dirt to 44 feet and followed with a clutch flop shot to eight feet. Finally, he made the putt for par.
It was symptomatic of Merritt’s day, though. After a sparkling 65 last Thursday that left him two shots off the lead, he was saddled with a 74 on Friday. Merritt finished in a tie for 53rd, earning $18,117. Now, if he can just rid himself of the one hiccup round that seems to nick him every tournament. The PGA Championship, initiating a new spring date on the calendar this year, would be a perfect place to do it.
BRONCOS COVER THE BASES
One thing in Boise State’s corner as the women’s softball NCAA Tournament approaches is hitting. The Broncos are 10th in the nation with a .327 average despite being cooled off last weekend at Fresno State. If the bats awaken, Boise State will have a chance against Stanford Friday in Gainesville, FL. The Broncos’ Bradie Fillmore leads the Mountain West in home runs with 15. But Fillmore has a lot of company nationally. She’s tied for 40th in Division I. Meanwhile, College of Idaho fell to Vanguard 7-5 Tuesday in the Hattiesburg Bracket of the NAIA National Championship Opening Round. But later in the day, the Yotes blanked William Carey 1-0 and will face Vanguard today in the bracket title game—or games. C of I needs to beat the Lions twice to advance to the NAIA World Series.
RALPH FORGES AHEAD IN FLORIDA
Former Idaho Steelheads coach Brad Ralph is a good molder of hockey teams. Ralph is in his third season as coach of the Florida Everblades and is in the ECHL Eastern Conference Finals for the second consecutive year. Florida made it to the Kelly Cup Finals last season, but it has some work to do now after losing at home in the first two games of their series with the Newfoundland Growlers. Game 3 is tonight. Ralph, who led Idaho into the Western Conference Finals six years ago, has former Steelies Josh Robinson, Riley Weslowski and Michael Neville on his roster. Robinson is one of Idaho’s all-time great goaltenders, going 40-15-5 from 2012-14. Newfoundland, incidentally, is coached by former Steelheads player John Snowden, and the Growlers’ president is former Steelheads president Glenn Stanford.
This Day In Sports…brought to you by ZAMZOWS…Nobody Knows Like Zamzows!
May 15, 1969: The birthday of the NFL’s all-time leading rusher. Emmitt Smith played his first 13 seasons with the Dallas Cowboys, helping them to three Super Bowl championships. In 1993, Smith became the only running back ever to win a Super Bowl ring, the NFL Most Valuable Player award, the NFL rushing title, and the Super Bowl MVP award all in the same season. During his last year with the Cowboys in 2002, Smith broke Walter Payton’s career record and finished with 18,355 yards after spending his final two seasons with the Arizona Cardinals. Smith also holds the NFL career standard for rushing touchdowns with 164. Emmitt Smith…50 years old today.
(Tom Scott hosts the Scott Slant segment during the football season on KTVB’s Sunday Sports Extra and anchors five sports segments each weekday on 93.1 FM KTIK. He also served as color commentator on KTVB’s telecasts of Boise State football for 14 seasons.)