April 3, 2012

Moore ready to take over at tight end

When Michigan said goodbye to Kevin Koger and Steve Watson in 2011, it bid adieu to the majority of its production. The two accounted for 24 of the tight end position's 25 receptions, and all five of its touchdowns. But fifth-year senior Brandon Moore is ready to pick up the slack ...

"I've been working towards this chance my entire career," Moore said Tuesday, after the Wolverines' 10th practice of the spring.

The 6-5, 255-pounder appeared in all 12 games as a reserve tight end in 2011, adding to his lone appearance at the post in 2010 and three experiences in 2009. He's the most experienced tight end on the roster, but he's still relatively raw, with only two career receptions.

Moore wants to be more than the default choice next fall, though. He understands the Wolverines are dearth of veteran tight ends, with redshirt sophomore Ricardo Miller and fifth-year senior walk-on Mike Kwiatkowski his main competition this spring. In the fall, freshmen Devin Funchess and A.J. Williams arrive but the transition could be slow, as it has been for recent converts Jordan Paskorz and Chris Eddins.

"Of course there is more responsibility on my shoulders because I'm a veteran," Moore said. "I'm a senior and this is our team so there is pressure."

Moore has been making strides in each year of his career, and feels better about his game today than at any point previously.

"In terms of my development, I feel I'm getting a lot better, playing with a lot more speed because I'm more used to the offense, and there's not as much thinking," he said. "I'm just playing rather than thinking about what my assignments are.

"I want to get better catching the ball, I want to get better blocking, better running routes. There's not a part that I don't want to get better at. I'm just working towards getting better each and every day. "

That's a lesson he learned from Koger, who stood between him and playing time each of the past four seasons.

"He's a great player, but he's an even better person," Moore said. "He's a great leader. He knows how to get the team motivated. He kept us focused on the playbook year round. What I learned from him was play like a professional, just go out there each and every day to get better."

Offensive coordinator Al Borges has always utilized his tight ends, and he'd like to double their production from 25 catches this past year, but he can't do that if the personnel isn't up to par. Moore believes it will be.

"I'm definitely confident with our room," he said. "We have a lot of great players in there. Ricardo Miller, Mike Kwiatkowski, and we have a few freshmen coming in, so I'm real excited about the offense and the tight ends in the room.

"Ricardo is a really good athlete, he moved from wide receiver, and has the wide receiver skills at the tight end position so he can run fast, run great routes, and he has great hands. As far as Mike, he's a big, strong guy, and he moves guys on the line of scrimmage so he does a great job blocking, and he does a good job running routes also."

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