SCOTT SLANT: Kellen Moore and his crazy calendar

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Tuesday, January 4, 2022.

Don’t expect Kellen Moore to have time to go out for lunch this week. The NFL flexed the Dallas regular season finale at Philadelphia from Sunday afternoon to Saturday night. And sometime between now and then, the Cowboys offensive coordinator is expected to interview via Zoom for the vacant Jacksonville head coaching job. Kellen’s one of three known candidates at this point. The former Boise State great may relish the challenge of undoing the damage that has been done to the Jaguars No. 1 overall draft pick, Trevor Lawrence, who would probably be excited about it. But it’s hard to see what else might be in it for Moore.  

Moore also interviewed last January for the Philadelphia job that eventually went to Nick Sirianni. Not to forget that Kellen was a rather hot commodity one year ago when Boise State was knocking on his door. That’s when Cowboys owner Jerry Jones convinced him that his future was in the NFL—and his immediate future was with Dallas. While we’re on the subject of Kellen Moore, a stats check: right now he has the Cowboys leading the NFL in scoring at 30.5 points per game and second behind Tampa Bay in total offense at 402.8 yards per game.


No single play by a former Boise State star in the NFL this season has gone locally viral quite like the one Sunday by Atlanta’s Avery Williams—not even the pick-six by the Cowboys’ DeMarcus Lawrence nine days ago. Williams was on the punt cover team, where he thrived during his Broncos career, and hit Buffalo return man Marquez Stevenson just after he fielded a punt. Williams put his helmet squarely on the ball, and it careened toward the goal line before squirting into the end zone, where it was recovered by the Bills for a safety. That gave the Falcons a 2-0 lead, but it was their only one of the day in a 29-14 loss. Williams otherwise had just one kickoff return for two yards.


John Bates continues to impress with the Washington Football Team. The former Boise State standout snagged three more catches for 35 yards in a 20-16 loss to Philadelphia on Sunday. Bates’ rookie year started slowly, with nary a catch in September. He had his first two career receptions for 11 yards in October. Since then: 17 grabs for 233 yards, an average of more than 12 yards per catch. That’s solid territory for an NFL tight end. Bates has 19 receptions for the season, just three short of his best year with the Broncos in 2019. The other former Boise State pass-catcher of renown, Cedrick Wilson of the Cowboys, went Swiss Army knife again Sunday in a 25-22 loss to Arizona. Wilson had six receptions for 35 yards and a touchdown, plus a catch for a two-point conversion. He also completed a 31-yard pass.


Khalil Shakir may not have formally announced the end of his Boise State career over the holidays, but it doesn’t get more final than this. Shakir has signed with an agent, and he’s a famous one. Leigh Steinberg, said to be the inspiration for the 1996 film “Jerry Maguire,” has added Shakir to his considerable stable, tweeting Monday: “Steinberg Sports welcomes dynamic Boise St. WR Khalil Shakir—Dangerous receiver, great character.” On the heels of Steinberg’s reveal came the official word from Shakir: “My time at Boise State was the best I could ever ask for! This next chapter is going to be something special!” Steinberg has represented 11 Pro Football Hall of Famers and eight No. 1 overall draft picks. He currently has 57 football clients, the most prominent of whom is Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes.


At last check, four of the five Tuesday-Wednesday games in the Mountain West this week have been postponed, including Boise State-Utah State, of course. The only game still on is Air Force at Colorado State tonight. The Rams, who haven’t played since December 11, stayed at No. 20 in the AP Poll Monday and moved up one spot to No. 19 in the Coaches Poll. (No other Mountain West teams are receiving votes.) As we speak, the big tilt between CSU and the Broncos Friday night in ExtraMile Arena is still on, as are all four Saturday conference games.  


Boise State can only hope the extra time helps it get back to full strength. Coach Leon Rice used only two players off the bench in the 65-55 win over Fresno State a week ago as guard Pavle Kuzmanovic and center Lukas Milner were still nursing injuries. If the Colorado State game is played Friday night, and at least one of the two is able to play, that would help immensely. At the same time, the Broncos hope the momentum doesn’t cool from the torrid stretch run that saw them outscore the Bulldogs 17-5 in the final 6½ minutes last Tuesday. Boise State also closed impressively two weeks ago in the win over Washington State. That’s been the difference between November and December for this team. The Broncos haven’t lost since the last day of November.

This Day In Sports…brought to you by IDAHO FITNESS FACTORY…raise the bar!

January 4, 2006: The night the BCS gets it right, as USC and Texas—ranked first and second all season long—meet in the Rose Bowl for the national championship. The Trojans led 38-26 with less than five minutes left before Longhorns quarterback Vince Young scored two touchdowns, the last one with 19 seconds left, to win the game, 41-38. Young turned in probably the best pressure performance in college football history, rushing for 200 yards and throwing for 267 more. That kept USC from a national title three-peat and broke its 34-game winning streak.

(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.) 


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