IRVING, Texas – Kellen Moore smiled when faced with the information that a sizable number of people want him to play – and play now.
"Those Boise people, yeah – they'll come after you now," he said.
It's abundantly clear that fans of Boise State would love to see their former start get his NFL shot. It's totally understandable too, considering Moore led the Broncos to a 50-3 record and a BCS bowl win during his time with the program.
At this point in the season, though, with the Cowboys sitting at 3-8 and a longshot for the playoffs, it's not just Idahoans who are curious to see what the Cowboys have in the fourth-year quarterback.
Moore returned to the active roster this week in the wake of Tony Romo's latest collarbone injury. By the very virtue of that fact, Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said he's getting a look.
"Kellen has gotten all the scout team reps this week," Garrett said. "He maximizes that scout team work. They get opportunities to throw to the guys who are going to be playing in the game in one-on-ones and seven-on-seven and some of those things. And then you've got to maximize that scout team work."
Garrett can empathize with Moore better than most. As a longtime backup quarterback during his playing days, Garrett spent the vast majority of his career running scout team. The purpose of scout team is to simulate the opposition's offense, but Garrett said there are ways to use that toward your own development.
Moore agreed with that assessment, adding that scout team players can apply opposing calls to the Cowboys' own playbook.
"You try to apply it to our offense the best you can, especially even for all the other guys on offense it works that week," he said. "When plays are similar to something we may run, we try and call it that way and just look at it as being more familiar with that."
It might not be an ideal scenario for player development, but Moore allowed that scout team is an improvement from his previous role. He spent several weeks on the active roster during September, but Moore has been relegated to the third – and sometimes even the fourth – quarterback role at times this year.
That doesn't allow for many reps during the course of a typical practice.
"Little to none, just because there's so few reps in practice," Moore said. "Usually that goes down to two guys, whether it be Tony and Brandon, or Matt – whoever it may have been in that week. You find ways outside that to get reps. But this week has been good."[embeddedad0]
Moore looks likely to be Matt Cassel's backup for the remainder of the season, which puts him just one play away from the starting lineup. Given the way things have gone for Dallas quarterbacks this year, perhaps Moore's opportunity is next.
"Yeah, if it comes to that I'll be ready," he said. "Obviously, I feel like it's been a good week. It's been nice just getting reps – it's as simple as that. Just getting out there and playing."
As for those clamoring to see him get his shot – be they Boise State fans or not – Moore could only smile.
"Backup quarterbacks are always everyone's favorite, right?"