© 2010 Idaho Press-Tribune
BOISE — When the situation calls for Boise State to scrap their huddle, it is called “Indy,” and it is very fitting.
Like Peyton Manning controls the Colts’ no-huddle attack, Boise State’s Kellen Moore has been ruthlessly efficient when the Broncos go into hurry-up mode. Like an Indy car, it’s fast, and most can just watch it zoom by.
“I was just thinking about that yesterday, I was thinking about ‘why does it work so well?’” receiver Titus Young said Tuesday. “When they call for no huddle, and they say it’s Indy time, it feels like practice ... we execute so well in practice, we know where the ball is going and we know the situation.”
The Broncos have scored in the final minute of the first half in five of their nine games, with every drive taking less than three minutes. There also was the season-turning comeback drive Sept. 6 against Virginia Tech when the Broncos covered 56 yards in 38 seconds to score the winning touchdown with 1:09 to play.
“Those are critical situations — it doesn’t matter if you’re up 28 or you’re down a few points and you’ve got to make it happen,” quarterback Kellen Moore said. “We emphasize it, and I think we’re pretty darn good at it.”
Just as a 10-time Pro Bowler pilots the efficient, high-scoring Indy offense, Moore is the prime reason for the Broncos’ ability to put the dagger into teams heading into the locker room.
Against the Hokies on Labor Day, Moore was 4-for-5, passing on every down. Last Friday against Idaho, he was 6-for-6 on a drive that culminated with a 17-yard touchdown pass to Jeremy Avery with 12 seconds to go until halftime.
“You’ve got to have the right kind of quarterback to be that efficient,” Boise State coach Chris Petersen said. “... That’s when you can really start to see some things show up, when you put the pressure on a defense, but yourself as well. We’ve got the right triggerman for sure.”
When Hawaii came to town Nov. 6, the Broncos came out on the attack, going no-huddle from the start against a Warrior defense that likes to blitz. All Moore did was finish with a career-best 507 yards in three quarters.
“It puts pressure on the defense, for sure,” Boise State cornerback Brandyn Thompson said. “Depending on how much a team has seen it, it puts them in a more basic defense and gets them on their heels.”
On a typical no-huddle drive, Moore will look off to the sideline to get the signal from his backups, with one serving as a decoy. As the line sets, Moore will bark out the play to his line, while the receivers will look off to the quarterbacks on the sideline for the play call.
With only one starter gone off the offense from last season and all of his skill position players back, Moore has a chemistry with his targets that is off the charts.
“We have a veteran team that’s kind of done this deal for a while,” Moore said. “In the offseason we were able to work on situational stuff like red zone and clutch situations. A few years back, we were probably installing more basic stuff.”
The Broncos routinely practiced the hurry-up approach in fall camp, and fans who attended the final fall scrimmage saw plenty of drives run with 1:30 on the clock.
Boise State is ranked fourth in the nation in total offense, averaging 530.2 yards per game. The top two schools, Oklahoma State and Oregon, use the no-huddle exclusively. Can more of the up-tempo play be expected?
“Anything we do successfully, you’re going to go ‘why aren’t we doing this again?’” offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin said. “But each game’s different.”
With multiple receivers, running backs and tight ends in Moore’s arsenal, it’s a flurry of punches at a defense already against the ropes. To the Broncos, hurry-up mode sometimes feels like a nice, brisk walk.
“It’s very relaxing to me,” Young said. “I know I don’t have to worry about being the only person open.”
FAST AND SERIOUS
The Broncos have scored points in the final minute before halftime in five of nine games.
Sept. 18 at Wyoming: 10 plays, 68 yards, 2:42 elapsed; scored with 0:00 left
Sept. 25 vs. Toledo: 7 plays, 90 yards, 0:41 elapsed; scored with 0:30 left
Oct. 16 at San Jose St.: 4 plays, 46 yards 0:57 elapsed; scored with 0:42 left
Oct. 26 vs. La. Tech: 9 plays, 70 yards, 2:02; elapsed scored with 0:56 left
Nov. 12 at Idaho: 7 plays, 64 yards, 1:13 elapsed; scored with 0:12 left