August 16, 2011

Moore pushing to make immediate impact

In the long history of Nebraska football, about six offensive linemen have ever seen the field in a game as true freshmen.

Should Tyler Moore continue at the rate he's gone since the start of spring practice, he just might make it seven.

After coming to Nebraska a semester early to practice with the team in the spring, Moore has done nothing but impress his coaches and teammates every time he puts on a helmet. He played so well and picked up the offense so quickly in the spring that he ended up earning a starting spot at tackle in the Red-White Game.

The 6-foot-6, 300-pounder from Clearwater, Fla., picked up right where he left off this fall, and now more than a week into camp his name is being brought up more and more when it comes to the competition for playing time offensive line. With the way he's performed thus far, there's the chances of him redshirting this season seem to be getting slimmer by the day.

"One guy who has a serious advantage is Tyler Moore because he was here in the spring," offensive line coach Barney Cotton said. "Even though he's a true freshman, he's got 16 weeks of school, 15 spring practices, winter conditioning and summer conditioning under his belt, so he's obviously further along than the other guys."

"That gives him a heads up, but we've got a long way to go. We've got more practices left than we have in, but he's progressing well."

Moore came to Nebraska as a four-star recruit and the fifth-ranked offensive tackle in the country by, and he was also rated among the top-20 overall players in the state of Florida.

Paving the way for a dominant offense at Countryside High School that rushed for more than 2,900 yards and 45 rushing touchdowns, Moore helped the Cougars to a 12-1 record as a senior in 2010.

At the moment, Moore has been taking the bulk of his reps in practice at left tackle, but he's also seeing some time on the right side. He's competing against older, more experienced players, but his teammates say he hasn't backed down from the challenge one bit.

"Tyler is going to be a great player here," sophomore tackle Jeremiah Sirles said. "He's very, very mature for his age from what I've seen from everything that's going on. He holds himself to a certain amount of pride, and I think he has that from his dad playing here and his grandpa playing here and the legends that he holds himself to. He's going to be a great player here."

As fast as Moore has climbed the ranks since coming to Lincoln in January, the fact remains that he's still just 18 years old and has yet to play in a real college football game. But after every impressive practice in fall camp, the chance of him stepping in right away this season and making his official Husker debut is becoming more and more of a reality.

Senior Jermarcus Hardrick has a pretty good hold of the starting job at left tackle, but things are wide open behind him. On the right side, sophomore Brent Qvale has flourished at the position since moving from guard prior to the start of fall camp and is in line to earn the starting spot.

However, senior right tackle Marcel Jones has yet to fully practice with the team this fall after continuing to deal with chronic back issues. Sirles missed all of spring practice after undergoing shoulder surgery, and he admittedly has had an uphill climb back to get back to his role as a starter.

Whether he ends up working his way into the rotation this year is still a long way from being determined, but in the opinion of the likes of Cotton and Sirles, there's pretty much no debate on whether he's physically ready to contribute right now.

"He worked really hard this offseason and he worked really hard this spring to get that leg up on the rest of the guys coming in," Sirles said. "He's got a chance this year to compete for some playing time. I don't know what the coaches think or what they're saying, but personally I think he's physically ready."

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