With just over one week to finish our last two position features before Virginia comes to town, we…
RBs at a Glance: Devin Moore
"My goals I'd rather not say what they are strictly just because I don't want to sound cocky," he said during media day earlier this month.
Still, with what the speedy running back has done in his first two seasons with the Cowboys and the way he has impressed coaches in fall camp, he may have a right to blow his own horn a bit.
At 5-foot-10 and 191 pounds, Moore is the smallest of Wyoming's running backs. He's also the most explosive.
"He's the fastest kid I've ever coached," said Wyoming head coach Joe Glenn earlier this month.
Moore told CowboyBlitz that he clocked himself in the 40-yard dash this summer and was happy with the time. He wasn't about to reveal what it was, though.
"He claims he can break 4.3," Glenn said. "The pro scouts have him right at 4.3, but to run that fast, anybody that's ever timed athletes (knows that) 4.6 is flying in the old days. D-Moe is zero to 100 in about three steps."
Still, the junior running back plans on showing vast improvement in one area of his game this season, and he wasn't shy about mentioning it.
"One goal is to hang on to the ball. I don't want to fumble this year. Maybe limit it to two fumbles at most, and that's stretching it right there."
Moore struggled to keep a hold on the pigskin early in 2006, fumbling five times by midseason. The "fumble-itis," as Glenn calls it, cost the speedy rusher a few touches, which was unfortunate for the Cowboys considering the agile back's corpulent 7.2 yards per carry. By the second half of the year, however, it seemed Moore had conquered his fumbling problem; he didn't lose the ball the rest of the season.
"As he got going," Glenn said, "he carried the ball more and more."
Moore earned player of the week honors for his performance in the Cowboys' 10th game of the year against San Diego State on November 4. He carried the ball 22 times for 131 yards against the Aztecs and returned a kickoff 28 yards. He was equally impressive in the Pokes' embarrassing loss to BYU the next week, piling up 94 yards on just five carries and blowing by the Cougar defense for a 71-yard touchdown run late in the game. He also caught two passes for 12 yards.
The Cowboys' last game of the season at UNLV a week later showcased even more Moore, and the Rebels were the worse for it. Again he used his speed to blow by the defense, gaining nearly half his total yards on one play, a 30-yard scamper that ended up being the biggest run by any back in the contest. He added two touchdowns, finishing with 70 yards and leading Wyoming to a 34-26 win that kept bowl hopes alive.
"He made some runs that nobody else without that speed could make," Glenn said of the performance.
As dangerous as Moore was in 2006, he will likely be even more explosive this season. The junior put on eight pounds of muscle since the UNLV game, and he said he actually feels faster.
Furthermore, the added weight will make the speedster a more physical rusher, and coaches think Moore will surprise opposing defenses with his power in ‘07.
"(He) is about 190 pounds when he weighs out for practice," Glenn said, "and he bench pressed, at the end of training this summer, 370 pounds."
"Devin's really improved his strength and physique," said Cowboys' Offensive Coordinator Bill Cockhill. "He looks great. He's a very physical player for his size…and then he's just flat explosive with his quickness and his speed."
As a sophomore, Moore ranked in the top 10 in the Mountain West Conference in three different categories, and Glenn said his 7.2 yards per carry in '06 were in the top 10 in the nation.
Listed No. 3 on the depth chart in the return game, Moore's versatility gives coaches yet another option on an already talent-packed special teams unit.
"Returning punts," he said with a chuckle when asked about his role on special teams, "this is a news update. I'm actually going to try and get back there a couple of times. Hoost Marsh will be the starter, and that's for sure. That's just because Hoost, that's his thing. He was all-conference one time not too long ago, and that's just kind of hard to take away from him. Troy Lewis, as of right now, I think he's number two, and I am number three.
"I actually told Troy that I am two and a half right now because I'm slowly but surely creeping up there. And I am planning on getting at least two to three a game. Hopefully at least between two and three because the defense is so spread out, I can probably take some of those back to the house."
Slated to receive more than the 80 carries he logged last year, Moore should see his numbers go up across the board in '07, and if he can hang on to the football, the fleet-footed runner may prove to be one of the top talents in the league. Already Moore has passed fellow running back Wynel Seldon on the depth chart, currently being listed as the starter for this weekend's contest against Virginia. And with so much athleticism and versatility on offense, coaches will likely be disappointed if Moore doesn't have his best season to date.
Moore's 2007 Keys to Success:
1. Don't fumble. This was his biggest problem in '06, and though it appeared by the end of last season he had gotten on top of it, the Cowboys can't afford to see their most explosive runner not hang on to the ball. It may be his explosiveness that makes him prone to losing the pigskin; being an agile, juking rusher can make keeping a tight grip on the football a bit more difficult than, say, someone like Seldon. Still, for Moore to become the kind of offensively dominant player coaches think he has the potential to be, he'll need to put two hands on the ball often in '07.
2. Be durable. The little man hasn't been injured yet in his Wyoming career, but he also hasn't had to take on the kind of load he will shoulder this season. He'll get more carries, catch more passes and return more kicks than ever before, and at only 5-10 and less than 200 pounds, it will be important for Moore to avoid big collisions. Just to be safe, maybe he should just not ever get tackled...yeah, that would work, too.
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