Tag Archives | Kellen Moore

The HP Heisman Watch, Week 8

Now for my list of the players who currently stand the best chance of actually winning the Heisman.  This is not a predicted order of the final vote, nor the order of how the vote would go if held today.  Some players not on this list are likely to receive support, but not enough to win. 

So, here is the HP Heisman Watch after eight weeks of football.  We are down to three players.  Barring injury, all three of them will make it to New York, but just one will win the 2010 Heisman:

1. Cameron Newton, QB, Auburn–It’s been quite a journey for Newton.  The last player to come straight from junior college and make such a splash in the Heisman race was O.J. Simpson, who finished a close second to Gary Beban in 1967.  Well, Newton’s 49-yard run against LSU was certainly Simpson-esque the way he weaved through the Tiger defense.    That run and the 217 rushing yards he put up on LSU has pushed him into the front of this watch list.  The Heisman is his to lose and, looking at Auburn’s remaining schedule, it looks like he’ll be in good shape in this race right up until the last game against Alabama.  I believe he can clinch the trophy by playing well against the Tide, win or lose.  If he leads the Tigers to a win there, followed by an SEC title game victory, he’ll capture the Heisman in a runaway.  If he plays well but Auburn loses to Alabama, he’ll still be the favorite heading into the ceremony, though the vote will be much closer.  If he plays poorly in the runup to that game, or the Tide defense shuts him down, that will open the door for other candidates to snatch the Heisman away from him.

Current Stats: 90/138 (65.2%), 1,364 yds, 13 TDs, 5 INTs, 172.1 rtg; 157 att, 1,077 rush yds (6.9 ypc), 14 TDs

Projected Season Stats*: 2,046 passing yds, 20 TDs, 8 INTs; 1,615 rush yds, 21 TDs

2. LaMichael James, RB, Oregon–James helped his cause by having a nice game in a romp over UCLA last Thursday (123 yards, 2 touchdowns), but whatever ground he gained in the race was given back after Newton’s performance against LSU.  James has a chance to get some of that momentum back this Saturday when the Ducks take on USC.  If he has a monster game against the Trojans and the Ducks roll, he’ll be in good shape.  However, the buzz around James pales in comparison to all the talk of Newton at the moment.  A modern day quarterback who can run and pass–and one who is a physical specimen at that–seems especially hard for voters to ignore.  James will have to be extra special from here on out if he wants to catch Newton. 

Current Stats: 134 att, 971 yards, 11 TDs, 7.2 ypc; 4 catches, 121 yards, 1 TD

Projected Season Stats*: 1,780 yards, 20 TDs; 7 catches, 207 yards, 2 TDs

3. Kellen Moore, QB, Boise State–Moore and his team were idle last week, but the Broncos have a Tuesday night matchup against Louisiana Tech.  Moore remains the candidate of last resort in that voters find him to be a perfectly acceptable choice but are not exactly rushing to proclaim him to be the most outstanding player just yet.    His campaign for the Heisman mirror his team’s quest for the BCS title.  It will require the more exciting players ahead of him to falter a bit for him to have a shot.  At the same time, he’s probably already assured himself of no worse than a third-place finish in the race.  He will appear on almost every ballot, so he’s within striking distance.  It helps that his numbers are quickly becoming ridiculous.  He leads the nation in passing efficiency with a mark of 190.36, which as it stands is an NCAA record.  Furthermore, he now has 55 touchdowns and just four interceptions in his last 20 games.  His record as a starter is 32-1 and BSU has now won 20-straight under his leadership.  It could well be that his numbers alone end up making his case–not to mention his status as the quarterback for an undefeated team–but it would really help him if the players ahead of him–especially Newton–screw up.  Also, I think Boise State’s sports information people need to start making the case for Moore, or all his impressive stats will get lost in the hubbub over Newton’s spectacular play.

Current Stats: 105/151 (69.5%), 1,567 yds, 16 TDs, 1 INTs, 190.36 rtg

Projected Season Stats*: 3,132 passing yards, 32 TDs, 2 INTs

*–Denotes projected stats at time of the Heisman vote

If the vote were held today

1. Cameron Newton

2. LaMichael James

3. Kellen Moore

4. Denard Robinson

5. Terrelle Pryor

6. Andrew Luck

7. Taylor Martinez

8. Justin Blackmon

9. Blaine Gabbert

10. Matt Barkley

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The Heismanpundit Heisman Poll, Week 7

 We have a new leader…

Total Points (with first place votes in parentheses)

1. Cameron Newton, QB, Auburn — 33 (8)

 2. Kellen Moore, QB, Boise State — 23 (4)

3. LaMichael James, RB, Oregon — 17 (1)

4. DeMarco Murray, RB, Oklahoma — 2

5. (tie) Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford — 1

5. (tie) Terrelle Pryor, QB, Ohio State — 1

5. (tie) Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State — 1

About the poll
The HeismanPundit.com Heisman Poll is made up of 13 Heisman voters from across the country. They vote for three players each week. Tabulations are made on a 3-2-1 basis, with three points awarded for a first-place vote, two points for a second-place vote and one point for a third-place vote.  The last two years the Heismanpundit poll was the most accurate in the country, picking five of the top six finishers in the Heisman vote in 2008 and the top four in 2009.

Members of the panel include: Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel, Teddy Greenstein and Brian Hamilton of the Chicago Tribune, Olin Buchanan and Tom Dienhart of Rivals.com, Jenni Carlson of The Oklahoman, Bruce Feldman of ESPN.com, J.B. Morris of ESPN the Magazine, Austin Murphy, B.J. Schecter and Stewart Mandel of Sports Illustrated, plus Dick Weiss of the New York Daily News.

Chris Huston, owner of Heismanpundit.com, coordinates and also votes in the weekly poll.

HP’s Thoughts
Voters are in love with multi-threat quarterbacks these days and why shouldn’t they be?  First it was Denard Robinson running and throwing for big yardage to the delight of the Heisman electorate and now it’s Cameron Newton doing it.  The big difference is that Newton is big, strong and durable, whereas Robinson is not.  Also, Auburn is undefeated and in the hunt for a national title.  And so Newton is our new leader in the poll.  Kellen Moore maintains his position as a solid No. 2 and LaMichael James is lurking at No. 3, with a chance to make a move with a Thursday night game coming up.

From a Voter
“Some people watch Cam Newton and think: “Wow, this is the future of football.” Auburn fans don’t have to wait until we all have 3D televisions in our home to enjoy him. Newton is huge, runs like a tailback and is so tough to bring down, some opposing linebackers probably wish they’d chosen to play soccer over football.  Kellen Moore is like that rare political candidate who never screws up a soundbite, even if he’s just jumped off a red-eye flight and has to talk about health-care reform before a roomful of doctors. He has had a flawless season (OK, one interception) and props go to the Boise State coaches for refusing to let him pile up big passing numbers.  Sure, it would be easy to dump on Terrelle Pryor after his Buckeyes got dropped by Wisconsin. But I covered that game, and Pryor was not the problem. He did make several poor throws, but don’t blame him for Ohio State getting beat in the trenches and allowing the opening kickoff to be returned for a score.” — Teddy Greenstein, Chicago Tribune.

Heisman Game of the Week
No. 6 LSU at No. 4 Auburn
 — This is Newton’s first game as one of the Heisman favorites, so it will be interesting to see how he handles the pressure.  So far, he seems to be unaffected by it all.  LSU has a stout defense and will no doubt try to key on stopping Newton.  If Auburn gets by LSU–and I think it will–then Newton should solidify his hold on the race for the time being.

Player to Watch
Justin Blackmon, Oklahoma State — It’s pretty rare for a wide receiver to get much traction in the Heisman race, but the buzz around Blackmon is just starting to get going.  He’s putting up numbers unlike any we’ve seen since Michael Crabtree was roaming the Big 12.  This week, the Cowboys host Nebraska, so we’ll get a chance to see just how good Blackmon really is.  He’s on pace for 114 catches for 1,910 yards and 24 touchdowns.  If he gets there, he’ll be on his way to New York, too.

This Week in Heisman History
Carson Palmer threw for a USC school-record 448 yards and five touchdowns on 31 of 42 passing as the Trojans defeated Oregon, 44-33, in 2002.  USC came back from a 19-14 halftime deficit with 20 third-quarter points and snapped a four-game losing streak to the Ducks.  Palmer would go on to win the Heisman Trophy that year, beating out Brad Banks of Iowa and Larry Johnson of Penn State.

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Q&A With Kellen Moore

Here’s another Heisman candidate Q&A courtesy of our on-the-spot reporter Adam Nettina of GoMids.com and the Utah Statesman.

Boise State  has garnered a lot of media attention over the last few years. Is there ever a concern that the increase in attention will be a distraction as you prepare for the season?

I think it’s really just in the way you handle it. It can obviously be a distraction if you want it to be and you get too caught up in it. But you take it for what it is, and it really means that people care about Boise State football and enjoy watching us and that’s the good part of it.

You have a 26-1 record as a starting quarterback. What do you attribute that kind of success to?

I think I’ve just been fortunate to have been surrounded by tremendous players who make me look ten times better than I am. It’s really just carrying on the tradition of quarterback at Boise State. There have been guys who’ve been very successful beforehand, and hopefully you learn from them and try to take it a step further and see what happens.

You actually finished seventh in the Heisman trophy balloting last season. What did you think of the hype surrounding that accolade?

It’s kind of goofy sometimes. I don’t think it really matters. It means we were playing good football last year and we were fortunate enough to be in conversations like that, but it can’t catch your attention too much.

Do you dream of possibly winning the Heisman this year? Does it mean something to you?

If it comes it means we’re probably playing good football. If it comes and we’re not playing good football, who really cares? I think as long as we take care of business those types of accolades will come with it.

Your stats were ridiculous last year, but is there anything you can get better at as a quarterback?

(Yes). It really comes from watching tape from last year. Recognizing opportunities and missed things – little details that maybe if you’re able to get better at those than the next time those obstacles come next season you’re able to succeed.

You’re starting out the year with a tremendous opportunity in playing Virginia Tech. Would you prefer to play a nationally ranked team like that, or do you prefer to have time to ease yourself into the flow of things?

I think it’s all about the way you present yourself and the mindset you take into it. I’m excited for the Virginia Tech game this season. It’s something you look forward to all offseason and you’re already watching the tape and trying to recognize some things about them.

What are your thoughts about Virginia Tech?

We just respect the heck out of them. Especially when you watch tape. They are as well coached as anyone in the country. They are just fast and athletic. They are smart football players and don’t screw up or blow coverages. If you’re going to make a play on them you deserve it because they are going to play as well as they possibly can.

You said you’ve watched film on VT. How much film have you begun to watch?

It’s summer – sometimes you’re bored (laughs). I think we’ve watched all their games from last year already. You watch all those games and take what you can out. At the same time you understand that that defense had a whole offseason to do whatever they wanted to do and change some things up. They’ve got some different players. So you learn some things (from watching film) but at the same time you learn that they’ll be twists and they’ll be changes and you’ve just got to prepare for them.

How does VT’s defense compare to the TCU defense you’ve seen each of the past two seasons?

I think definitely the speed factor. Both teams are very athletic and very fast. Not necessarily the biggest team you’ll see, but I think they are one of the most impressive as far as how quick they get to the ball and how well they cover in the defense. I think they are just a very smart team that doesn’t screw up.

This league is known for some very good quarterbacks, including another possible Heisman contender in Colin Kaepernick. What are your thoughts on him?

I think Colin is very good. If people haven’t had the opportunity to watch him, he is just a tremendous athlete – one of the best athletes, I think, who plays college quarterback as far as being able to run and make plays on the run. At the same time he can drop back and make throws. We’ve seen him get better and better like a lot of quarterbacks throughout the years and next year he’s got some opportunities to definitely showcase his talents.

How are you guys able to avoid the perennial conference ‘letdown’ game so many teams have during the season?

It’s just taking it one game at a time. You have one game on you’re schedule each week and you really just kind of put the blinders on and focus on that week and when the next week comes it comes.

How does it feel to be mentioned amongst the best quarterbacks in the country?

I think it’s awesome. Certainly it means that we are a successful team because if you’re a 2-9 team nobody really talks about you. I think it’s exciting and I feel very fortunate to be in the situation I am. I’ve got some big-time wideouts around me and we have a very great offensive line so it’s just been exciting.

A lot of people have been brining up the opener at Georgia in 2005 when comparing this year’s situation opening with Virginia Tech. Have you talked to former BSU quarterback Jared Zabrasnky at all about that game?

I haven’t really talked to Jared about it. A lot of these coaches have been through it the past few years and they’ve been through so many experiences that you just learn from them. They lead you down the right path and as long as you listen to them you’re going to be successful.

You’ve always been so focused and humble. Does the chance of winning the Heisman really register with you? How do you deal with all the talk?

I really don’t think about it that much. It comes down to how our team is doing. If our team is doing well people are going to want to throw out individual awards. If you’re not doing well than nobody cares about you. As long as we take care of business on our end of it, maybe some success comes (on the individual front).

There always seems to be a surprise team in the WAC. Last year it was Idaho. Who do you think it will be this year?

I think everyone has potential. I think Utah State is a team that brings some things this year. They had a lot of young guys who can get things rolling. They’ve got coach Andersen who is a tremendous coach, and I think that’s an program that can make some improvement.

Speaking of USU, they have a pretty solid quarterback. What are your thoughts on Diondre Borel?

I think he might be the best ‘wiggle around and make a play’ quarterback I’ve ever seen in a long time. He makes some amazing plays. I think he’s right up there with a lot of quarterbacks – Colin (Kaepernick) and Nathan Enderle as well from Idaho. The league is really known for some good quarterbacks who are able to make some plays. Everyone kind of has their own different styles, and last year (Diondre) proved it. They didn’t have the wins but he was able to execute the game plans and play pretty well.

Is having an effective quarterback a prerequisite for winning in the WAC?

You’ve got to be successful at quarterback to hopefully have a successful team. A lot of guys who’ve probably done it for awhile understand the situation they’re in, and I think they’re a lot of teams where if their quarterback is rolling they can probably be pretty good.

Who has a cooler mustache, coach Akey or coach Hill?

I gotta go with coach Hill, probably (laughs).

Does that mean we can expect you to try to grow one of those numbers?

I’m never going to grow either out (laughs). Not even if I tried…it would stop in about three days.

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