By Chadd Cripe
© 2012 Idaho Statesman
MOBILE, Ala. — Minnesota Vikings and North offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave said Thursday that Boise State quarterback Kellen Moore has been “very impressive” at the Senior Bowl practices.
“He’s really immersed himself in the system that we’re installing this week and has a lot of good touch and anticipation,” Musgrave said after the North practice was turned into an indoor walk-through because of rain. “… We’re just scratching the surface in our evaluation of him. This has been great for us to get up close and personal with him. He’s done a great job in the huddle in terms of leading his teammates and making sure they believe in him. You can see that’s a big part of being a quarterback.”
Much is made of Moore’s size — I’ve got a story for Friday’s paper on the NFL’s obsession with tall quarterbacks — but Musgrave said he thinks Moore can overcome it.
“I don’t think he’s too small,” he said. “If you can play, you can play. Guys adjust for what they’ve got, what the good Lord has given them in terms of height, weight and speed. He definitely knows how to play the game of football.”
The issue for Moore, who is 5-foot-11 ¾, will be vision, Musgrave said. The Vikings offensive line averaged nearly 2 inches taller than Boise State’s.
“Guys are getting bigger and faster all the time,” Musgrave said. “At times, when your vision is occluded, it’s tough to be effective out there.”
But the qualities a shorter quarterback needs to succeed are Moore’s strengths.
“They may have good anticipation, good vision, good timing, things like that,” Musgrave said.
Only five of the 112 quarterbacks currently on NFL rosters are 6-foot or shorter. All were dual threats in college, unlike Moore. The list: Drew Brees (6-0), Michael Vick (6-0), Chase Daniel (6-0), Troy Smith (6-0) and Seneca Wallace (5-11). Brees and Vick are the only starters, but Brees — no longer a runner — has proven than a 6-footer can succeed from the pocket.
“I don’t think anybody’s afraid of anybody,” Musgrave said of whether the NFL shies away from shorter QBs. “If you can play, you get a job. If you can’t, you do something else.”
A few other interview highlights from today:
— Washington Redskins quarterbacks coach Matt LaFleur, who is working with the South, planned to meet with Moore on Thursday evening to get to know him and get a feel for his knowledge of the game and communications skills. “He’s a hell of a college quarterback,” LaFleur said. “I wish we got a chance to work with all the guys down here. I’ll get a chance to work with him at the combine. … I tell you what, he did some great things in college. He tore up everybody he played.”
— Mike Mayock of the NFL Network likes Broncos in general, but particularly tailback Doug Martin and defensive end/linebacker Shea McClellin. He said he liked Martin on tape and was impressed by his performance this week. He also liked McClellin on tape but hasn’t gotten a good look at his play this week yet. “One thing about the Boise players,” he said, “they’re all really well coached, their techniques are great and you can tell that that’s just such a solid program. I don’t care if I see a kid at the East-West game, the Senior Bowl, whatever. I always really like them because I know I’m going to get a kid who hustles his tail off and is well coached.” On Moore, Mayock said nothing that happened on the field this week would have a big impact. He has him ranked among the top 10 quarterbacks. “He anticipates and throws with accuracy, so that will give him a chance,” he said.
— Vikings linebackers coach and former Bears great Mike Singletary is a big fan of McClellin, who spent most of the week playing inside linebacker under Singletary’s direction (more on that in Saturday’s paper). “Something tells me that he’s going to be a real monster,” Singletary said. “… I get excited about what he can become.”
It was raining when the North team took the field at Ladd-Peebles Stadium on Thursday morning, so after some warm-ups the team got back on the bus and headed to the convention center in downtown Mobile. The team held a walk-through on a concrete floor in the exhibit hall. By the end of practice, water was leaking from the ceiling and tornado sirens were blaring outside.
The South had more time to prepare for its indoor practice, and it showed. The convention hall was cleaned up and the Redskins staff put the team through offense vs. defense plays, at a controlled speed.
ESPN plans to do its series of Jon Gruden quarterback camp specials again this year — a show that could highlight the football smarts of Moore.
The series is in its early planning stages and the participating quarterbacks could be identified in the next couple weeks, ESPN officials said.
Moore’s agent, David Dunn, said he usually finds out in late February whether one of his quarterbacks will be featured. Last year’s series raised questions about Cam Newton’s readiness for the NFL (he answered those during the season) and seemed to help the draft stock of TCU’s Andy Dalton.
“(Moore) could get on the other side of the table and start teaching Jon,” Dunn said. “I’d love for that to happen.”
Moore’s chances are helped by his ability to draw TV viewers and media interest. However, he is not one of the elite quarterback prospects.
I wrote about tailback Doug Martin in today’s paper. Story here..
Martin said he has met with every NFL team in Mobile.
“The most intimidating meetings are when the whole staff is there just writing stuff down, glaring you down, asking questions,” he said. “But I’ve got my answers ready.”
Vikings and North coach Leslie Frazier said all of the plays for the Senior Bowl were installed Monday, which has created better practices each day.
“They’re more comfortable with the concepts,” he said. “We’re hoping they’ll be able to go out and play fast on Saturday and impress some of the NFL personnel who are here.”
Frazier on the Southeastern Conference: “It’s almost like they own the BCS.”
Redskins and South coach Mike Shanahan on all of the recent defensive talent out of North Carolina, where coach Butch Davis was fired amid an NCAA investigation: “It’s amazing one guy could get that many great players into an organization, but that’s another story. We won’t get into that.”
Boise State's football team placed 24 players on the Mountain West all-academic list, which requires a 3.0 GPA and participation in at least half of the varsity contests. The next-highest in the conference was Colorado State with 14. Senior offensive tackle Nate Potter, a consensus All-American, finished with a 4.0.
Here is the press release.