Moore's shock could add jolt to Terps' defense

November 11, 2005|by BOB PARASILITI

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - Dre Moore has learned a lot of things while playing for the University of Maryland football team.

But reacting to good news isn't one of them. In fact, he might have to find a tutor for some help in that area.

Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen notified Moore that he was about to become the Terrapins' starting nose tackle. His best reaction was a stone-cold stare and a dropped jaw.


"I've always wanted to start a game. I was in shock," Moore said.

It's a good thing for Moore he reacts to the football better than he reacts to favorable news. In fact, the Terps are counting on it.

Moore is the latest young player to move into the starting lineup. He will be joining freshman defensive end Trey Covington on the revamped Maryland line when the Terps face North Carolina on Saturday.

The news shouldn't have been a surprise, though. Moore has been doing all the right things in Friedgen's eyes.

"Dre is starting for us. He has played well for us in the last three games," Friedgen said. "I feel comfortable with him starting. It's all a matter of what he can do for us."

What Moore brings to Maryland's defense is a physical prescience. He has been able to merge his pure physical size (6-foot-4, 298 pounds) with the consistency he needs to play the position in the center of Maryland's defense, just ahead of the Terps' all-American linebacker D'Qwell Jackson.

"My responsibility is to stay in the gaps and make the plays that come to me," Moore said. "I have become more consistent getting off of the blocks and it better allows me to make plays. But then, I'm also supposed to help keep offensive linemen from getting to the linebackers."

If Moore can do that, he will quickly become one of Jackson's best friends.

Maryland has had a young line for most of the 2005 season. The Terps have been waiting for it to come of age, if for no other reason than to protect Jackson and the rest of the linebacking corps. For much of the early season, the linebackers had their work cut out for them, trying to get out of the way of offensive linemen while trying to tackle ball carriers.

It has been a tiring task that Moore can only make better by coming of age.

"He's a big body and probably the strongest guy on the team," said Maryland linebacker David Holloway. "Put him in the middle and he will create some big holes for the linebackers to make plays."

For Moore, the promotion couldn't have come at a better time. Maryland will be heading to North Carolina, which will give the Charlotte native the chance to show off in front of his family.

"Coach told me that I have been playing a little better and more consistent," Moore said. "He wanted to give me the chance to start. I'm excited for the chance because I'm going home and will be able to play in front of the home crowd."

The promotions of Moore and Covington are a testament to Friedgen's policy to play young players to gain experience so they can be of use more quickly.

It helped Moore get his shocking news.

"We were young (at the beginning of the season) and were trying to do a lot of things at the same time," Moore said. "In the first few weeks, we got in some close games and tight situations to help make us better. Now, we can do what we need to do."

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