This archived article was written by: KC Smurthwaite
Conventional wisdom says, “Never replace a legend.”
There’s a reason that a player or coach becomes legendary. That reason is most often that they were good. Really good, which leaves behind a large pair of shoes to fill. No disrespect to the player or coach who replaces the legend, but it’s rarely the same. Things tend to drop a notch or two. And, of course, fans notice things like that.
Five years ago Kellen Moore became a Boise State Bronco. Bronco fans didn’t know much about the left-handed quarterback from tiny Prosser, Wash. Remember that five years ago George W. Bush was still in office, the economy was just about to take a nosedive and Taylor Tharp was the starting quarterback for the Broncos. Little did Bronco Nation, or even an entire sports nation, know that Moore, an unassuming fellow who wouldn’t strike you as a football player if you were in a grocery store line with him, would take it by storm.
Moore was told by many major universities that he was too short to play quarterback and he didn’t have the “arm” to compete at the highest level. The 5-foot 6-inches, 190-pound Moore earned the right to laugh at all those universities who passed him up, although he’s reportedly too polite to do so.
Fast-forward five years: Moore becomes the all-time wining quarterback in college football history with a career record of 50-3. Friends, that’s 50 wins in four short years. Don’t even listen to the critics about the quality of competition that Moore faced. What he accomplished is almost impossible to do at any level.
That record likely will never be broken, not in this day and age of college football, when very few elite quarterbacks stay in school four years. Moore was a two-time All-American, Touchdown Club of Columbus Quarterback of the Year in 2010 and 2011. A side note: the quarterback of the year award is now named the “Kellen Moore Quarterback of the Year Award.” Legend he is. He’s already getting national awards named after him.
Moore leaves Boise State with over 14,000 yards passing, and 142 touchdowns to his credit. Moore also carved his name in several times in the NCAA record books.
Hard to replace? Just ask Boise State Head Coach Chris Petersen, who opened his post-bowl game press conference with, “I have no idea what we’re going to do without Kellen Moore, so don’t ask.”
Boise State, the little college that could, has a way of finding great quarterbacks. Bart Hendricks, Ryan Dinwiddie, and Jared Zabransky were a few who guided the Broncos to football glory. Petersen told the Sporting News earlier this year he recruits “OKGs– “our kinda’ guys.” Year in and year out Boise State never finishes is the top 50 for recruiting rankings. But somehow, every year Boise State ends up in the top 15 in the nation. Those OKGs are taking Boise State to the top. Guys like Moore, who was rated only as a three-star prospect out of high school. His only scholarship offers were from University of Idaho and Eastern Washington. Can you think for a second what Moore would have done if he suited up for the Vandals or Eagles?
But that didn’t happen and Moore led the Cinderella Broncos for four-incredible seasons, and carved his name as a legend in college football history.
Four quarterbacks will vie to be the successor of Moore. All have different styles. In total, they have a combined 57-passing attempts at the college level. Like Moore, all these quarterbacks were rated three-star prospects out of high school. Many questions remain about these quarterbacks because Moore was on the field for four years on the blue.
The leading candidate, in terms of experience, is junior Joe Southwick. He has had the longest time in the Boise State program, and has the most playing time of any of the other quarterbacks. Southwick is a balanced quarterback, and has played in 15 games in his collegiate career, in which he is 40-54 in passing, good for 400 yards.
Sophomore Grant Hedrick saw action in eight games this past season and was used in a Wild Bronco formation that took advantage of his speed. On the ground, he ran for 70 yards on eight carries. Through the air, he completed 2-3 for 19 yards.
Jimmy Laughrea, is a strong-armed redshirt freshman quarterback from Rocklin, Calif. Laughrea, is a 6-foot 2-inch dual threat quarterback that was named scout team player of the year as a redshirt. He wowed Bronco fans during scrimmages with his arm strength.
The last candidate to replace Moore is already the fan favorite, and secret hopeful by Bronco Nation to take over the reigns of the high-octane Bronco offense.
Enter Nick Patti of Orlando, Fla. He was a finalist at the prestigious Elite 11 competition in California earlier this year and it served as Patti’s coming-out party. It also started the discussion about, “If he were three or four inches taller he would be a top prospect.” Patti is 5 foot 11 inches’’ and went 34-4 as a starting quarterback in high school. Sound familiar?
Patti has already developed a great relationship with Moore through quarterback camps. The similarity between the two is almost frightening; they are both undersized, but make plays, throw the ball accurately and make smart decisions. Patti, though, is reported to be lightning fast. Think of Moore, but quicker.
Patti, who graduated in early January has already enrolled at Boise State. Patti tossed the pigskin for 2,114 yards and 23 touchdowns and added 626 yards and seven touchdowns on the ground. He finished with a school-record 66-TD passes in his career.
Boise State now focuses to the post-Moore era, and looks forward – with fingers crossed — to a new quarterback to take the helm. The offense will be adjusted to meet the strengths of their new starting guy under center.
Yeah, it’s tough to replace a legend, but up in Boise, some things remain the same. The football turf remains blue at Boise State. Chris Peterson remains maybe the best college football coach (and certainly the most loyal) in the country. BSU will get its share of OKGs. And the conventional wisdom here is that one of those four guys steps up and replaces The Legend, and BSU rumbles through another amazing pigskin season.