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Friday, January 15, 2021.
It’s been four whole days since Kellen Moore was mentioned in the Scott Slant. Now the subject is: NFL head coaching jobs. One rationale for Moore remaining in Dallas was that he could be an NFL head coach someday. Is someday suddenly imminent? Philadelphia Eagles have requested permission to interview Moore to replace the fired Doug Pederson, and apparently it’s been granted. It’s been two weeks since Moore withdrew his name from consideration at Boise State. That’s when he agreed to a three-year extension as Cowboys offensive coordinator. Keep in mind that Kellen is 32 years old.
Would he even want to go to Philadelphia? Well, there’s going to be a conversation. ESPN’s Ed Werder reports that Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie and general manager Howie Roseman will meet with Moore—not virtually, but in person in Florida. Life would be very different in Philly from a football perspective. Moore is close to Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott. With the Eagles, he’d be stepping into a rather toxic QB situation: the benched Carson Wentz against the up-and-coming Jalen Hurts. Kellen’s offense put up 513 yards against Philadelphia in the season finale.
AVALOS AND HIS FIELD GENERALS
Andy Avalos spent a half hour on KTIK’s Idaho SportsTalk Thursday. The one piece of news that came out of it: Avalos has had “unbelievable conversations” with quarterbacks Hank Bachmeier and Jack Sears. “Hank’s been texting me from the minute this thing dropped saying, ‘When can I talk to the OC?’” said Avalos. According to the coach, Bachmeier is home right now and Sears is “skiing somewhere in Montana.” There had been suggestions that Sears might go back in the transfer portal after his one very strange season with the Broncos. He had that lights-out performance in the win at Air Force on Halloween, then was injured in the first quarter six days later against BYU. Sears did not return the rest of the season. But it sure sounds like he’ll be back this year.
DEFINING DEFENSIVE MOMENT
With Frank Maile and Spencer Danielson now in the fold, it’s important to remember what Andy Avalos can bring on the defensive side of the ball. My all-time favorite Avalos-as-defensive-coordinator game was the 2017 Las Vegas Bowl. Boise State turned Oregon star Justin Herbert inside-out, sacking him four times and holding him to 43 yards passing in the first half. The Broncos dominated the Ducks in a 38-28 win that could just as easily have been 55-14. Two of Oregon’s four touchdowns came on turnovers when the Boise State was threatening to add more points deep in the red zone—on an 86-yard fumble recovery and a 100-yard pick-six. The Ducks managed just 280 yards in what became Avalos’ calling card. Obviously, it was a thing that made Oregon coach Mario Cristobal go, “Hmmmm.”
THE RANKINGS THAT COUNT
Boise State didn’t get to play Kansas at the beginning of the season as once planned, but the Broncos beat the Jayhawks in something else Thursday. Following its Wednesday night rout of Wyoming, Boise State has moved up to No. 16 in the NCAA’s NET rankings, a key barometer for the NCAA Tournament selection committee. The Broncos passed Clemson, USC, and, yes, Kansas. One other footnote from the series in Laramie: almost lost in the incredibly balanced Boise State box score from Wednesday night’s game was the performance of RayJ Dennis. The sophomore guard scored 14 points and led the Broncos with seven rebounds and five assists. Dennis has scored 151 points in 13 games this season after 137 points in 32 games all of last season.
GIVING NNU ITS DUE
Northwest Nazarene men’s basketball has unjustly flown under the radar this week. NNU finally played its first game of the season last Saturday and upset Portland State of the Big Sky 75-72. The Nighthawks’ Ezekiel Alley was a beast that night, putting up 27 points against the Vikings. NNU got another chance to play Thursday night at Concordia of Irvine, winning 93-84. The Nighthawks face Point Loma tonight in San Diego. Saturday’s Top 25 NAIA matchup between College of Idaho and Lewis-Clark State has been cancelled due to COVID-19 protocols at LCSC. The two teams are expected to play February 4 in Caldwell.
WAC FOOTBALL RESURRECTS
It’s been eight years since the WAC dropped it, but football is back, maybe as early as this year. It will be hardly recognizable, though, as it forms as an FCS conference. The first seven members will be Abilene Christian, Dixie State, Lamar, Sam Houston, Southern Utah, Stephen F. Austin and Tarleton State, with some of them joining next year. Commissioner Jeff Hurd (who you might remember from former commissioner Karl Benson’s staff in the old days), has designs on becoming an FBS football conference, but he won’t put a timeline on it. The new additions, when merged with the eight current WAC members, will really help the league’s men’s basketball strength. New Mexico State and Grand Canyon are consistently good.
MERRITT BACK ON THE COURSE
Troy Merritt started the 2021 portion of the PGA Tour season in high gear at the Sony Open in Hawaii on Thursday. The former Boise State star carded five birdies against just one bogey, firing a four-under 66 to tie for 23rd after the first round. Merritt made five of eight cuts during the fall—his top finish so far this season is a tie for 32nd at the Houston Open. He has made $312,392 and is ranked 143rd in FedEx Cup standings.
This Day In Sports…brought to you by ZAMZOWS…Nobody Knows Like Zamzows!
January 15, 2016, five years ago today: The coaching odyssey that started at Highland High in Pocatello and wound through Boise State ends on top in Tampa Bay, as Dirk Koetter is introduced as the new head coach of the Buccaneers. The one-time Idaho State quarterback was promoted from his offensive coordinator’s post. Koetter was the Broncos’ head coach from 1998-2000, going 26-10 and kick-starting the program’s ascension into elite status in college football in the new century. He was the first native Idahoan to become an NFL head coach. Koetter would be fired after three seasons at the helm.
(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.)