By Chadd Cripe
© 2012 Idaho Statesman
ESPN analyst Jon Gruden recently spent a day with former Boise State quarterback Kellen Moore taping a special for his “Gruden’s QB Camp” series.
Gruden left that meeting impressed with Moore and the Broncos’ offense, but with a few serious questions about Moore’s ability to compete in the NFL.
“Kellen Moore is a coach,” Gruden said Wednesday in a teleconference with the media. “He could probably be an offensive coordinator for a lot of teams. This guy knows the game inside and out. I never really got a chance to get behind the scenes with the Boise State football team, but Kellen Moore, he’s the ringleader of the Boise State Broncos. His poise, his anticipation, his accuracy is outstanding. Is he big enough? Does he have enough arm? And can he get away from pressure well enough? Those are the challenges ahead of Kellen Moore. But what a quarterback, what a game day clutch performer, he is. He’s only a couple plays away from being 53-0.”
Gruden also gave Moore credit for running the Broncos’ complex offense.
“The statistics are marvelous,” he said. “The system of football at Boise is very demanding. They shift more than any team in the country, maybe other than Stanford. The volume of different running plays, passing plays, formations, it’s incredible. They do more than a lot of NFL teams under coach (Chris) Petersen there.”
Gruden says Moore should be a factor on the third day of the draft, when the fourth through seventh rounds are held.
“You can’t deny production, and sustained production, like Kellen Moore has enjoyed,” he said. “I’d like to have a shot of making a few first downs with him.”
Gruden also said the offensive system will be key for Moore — the more complicated the better.
“The more you give Kellen Moore, the better he is,” Gruden said. “You’ve got to put him in a lot of different situations where he can use his greatest strengths, and that’s above the neck. He can see coverages. He can make audibles. He can get you in and out of plays. He can manage a no-huddle offense. He can manage any grouping of formations that you want to give him, and he can do it all in week-to-week fashion. This guy has a tremendous football background, son of a coach, wants to be a coach himself. But I think the system and I think just relying on his accuracy and anticipation, that’s going to be the keys to his success.”
During the call, Gruden was asked to rank his quarterbacks four through six (after Andrew Luck of Stanford, Robert Griffin III of Baylor and Ryan Tannehill of Texas A&M). His favorites: Brandon Weeden of Oklahoma State, Kirk Cousins of Michigan State and Russell Wilson of Wisconsin.
Moore’s special airs at 3 p.m. Thursday on ESPNU.
ESPN showed a preview of the Moore special on “NFL Live” on Wednesday. Here are a couple highlights:
— Gruden asked Moore what he says to all his naysayers: “I think you smile at them, say thank you and remember their name.”
— Gruden showed one play where the camera behind Moore couldn’t see the receiver yet as Moore threw the ball over the middle. “Some of these throws are the damnedest throws I’ve seen,” Gruden said. “It’s not a 103 mile an hour fastball, but the ball is placed perfectly with great anticipation.”
— Gruden got some laughs out of the blue turf. He asked Moore about the myth of ducks crashing on the blue. He also showed Zee the Tee Dog.
— Afterward, ESPN draft analysts Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay said Moore is a sixth- or seventh-round draft pick. “When you really study him — I know there are throws that look unbelievable because of that anticipation — his accuracy on pro-type throws is subpar at best,” McShay said. “His anticipation might be as good as any quarterback I’ve ever evaluated. He gets the ball out so early it’s hard to even know where he’s going with the ball at the time.”