"That was a long drive home."
Not long after, they drove to Boise for another workout. Petersen remembers seeing Moore across the practice field and telling an assistant, "He's not that short."
"You're looking at his brother," the coach was told. "Kellen's the other guy."
The other guy, it turned out, fit in very well at Boise, a collection of overlooked, overachieving players. After redshirting his freshman season, Moore won the job coming out of fall camp in 2008. In his third start, his first on the road, he threw for 386 yards and three touchdowns in a 37--32 upset of No. 17 Oregon. The Broncos lost to TCU in that season's Poinsettia Bowl. They didn't lose again until that Nevada game last November, a string of 24 consecutive wins.
Taking their cue from Petersen, the Broncos are declining to answer questions about their chances of moving to the Big East or their chances of returning to a BCS bowl for the third time in six seasons. Moore, meanwhile, is withholding comment on what is shaping up as one of the most fascinating subplots of the 2012 NFL draft: Will he be picked, and if so, when?
ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. says Moore is "at best, a late-round pick." The scout quoted earlier, a Moore fan, ticked off his two most commonly cited shortcomings: size and arm strength. On the subject of size, it wasn't so much Moore's height that concerned him as his lack of bulk. The scout wonders if the quarterback, at 191 pounds, can handle the pummeling he'd take in the league.
Moore's arm strength ("average to above-average") is ameliorated by his excellent, lightning-fast release, says the scout. "It comes out so quick, and he has such anticipation, instincts... . He'll get bigger and stronger, too."
And wiser. Asked if it annoyed him that some experts are already predicting that he'll flop in the NFL, Moore replied, "I really don't concern myself one bit. I think you learn quick enough you're not gonna make everyone happy. So there's no sense in trying."
All he needs is for one team to believe in him.
"We've heard that before," says Tom, who has memorized the sign in the Boise quarterbacks' meeting room, which is his son's second home. It says: