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New season, Moore sacks

Junior end headlines potent Aggie defensive front

Published: Friday, September 28, 2012

Updated: Friday, September 28, 2012 14:09

The student section of Kyle Field knows of junior defensive lineman Damontre Moore. So do his teammates, the former students on hand and the media behind the press box glass. The nation knows Moore, as his name landed on the preseason watch list for the Ted Hendricks Award, given to the country’s finest defensive end. But in 2012, no one knows Moore the way opposing quarterbacks know him.

Dating back to last season, Moore recorded 12 quarterback sacks in seven games. In three games this season, he sits in a tie for third nationally with six sacks and 22 tackles, eight for a loss.

Moore has learned his lesson in two up-and-down seasons at A&M and said he knows consistency will play in more than gaudy early-season numbers.

“[The statistics] give me a certain gratification, but at the same time I use it as motivation,” Moore said. “It’s only our third game, and I use it as motivation like, ‘Okay, I am there now but don’t look at it like that.’ It doesn’t matter where you start. It’s where you finish.”

Moore’s maturity was questioned throughout his first two years as flashes of brilliance were mixed with lackluster efforts. Moore said the opinions had merit.

“I slacked off enough as it is,” Moore said. “I was a little complacent, especially my freshman year. I was just being immature and didn’t have my
priorities straight.”

In head coach Kevin Sumlin’s first season at the helm, Moore said something had changed.

“When Coach Sumlin first got here, he was telling us how much time we have left and I’ve only got two years left,” Moore said. “I just got tired of losing. We’re just ready to prove
people wrong.”

Sumlin said Moore has gone through a maturation process.

“Damontre is really growing up,” Sumlin said. “He’s been a guy who has always had talent. What I think you see is a guy who’s talented and a guy that’s growing up and understands his role. When you become a mature player, you understand that it’s not all about you.”

Defensive coordinator Mark Snyder said Moore must continue to buy into the program’s schemes if he is to reach his potential.

“Damontre’s effort has been outstanding,” Snyder said. “We talked about what was needed and what kind of player he could become. If he would just trust in us and do what we ask him to do, good things will happen.”

Work ethic may have been a question mark of Moore’s at points, but there are some things no one has doubted of the athelete.

“You don’t worry about Damontre Moore’s confidence,” Sumlin said. “I’ll put it that way.”

After two years as a “joker” linebacker in a 3-4 defensive scheme, Moore has his hands to the turf before each snap in his new role as defensive end in Snyder’s new 4-3 system. The move is paying off in spades. In the opener against Florida — his first opener at the new position — Moore sacked Gators quarterback Jeff Driskel three times.

Moore didn’t erupt out of high school; the talent didn’t immediately translate to tackles and playing time. When he first donned the maroon and white in 2010, a senior by the name of Von Miller was in front of him on the depth chart. All Miller did was earn an All-American nod that season on his way to the NFL draft and a Rookie of the Year award. So Moore sat and he watched. Now, it’s his turn.

Moore said he hopes to emulate the professional success Miller has enjoyed with the Denver Broncos.

“I use [Miller’s success] as motivation every day,” Moore said.

Miller may no longer be a teammate of Moore’s, but the connections between the two haven’t dried up. Moore said his relationship with Miller’s parents is particularly healthy. He said they have supported him throughout his career.

“[Miller’s parents have] been telling me that they see some of his qualities in me and we’ve gone through some of the same hardships,” Moore said. “They are constantly reminding me, ‘this could be you. You could be better. Use this as your motivation and strive to achieve that goal.’”

Days away from a home date with Arkansas, Moore said the Aggie defense and he are finished with the talk, finished with the losses and finished with the excuses.

“We have to make a statement too,” Moore said. “We want to come in and prove that we can hang with the other SEC schools.”

Moore said he is proud of the work he has put in to get to this point, poised as he is to stamp his name across stat-lines and the clipboards of NFL scouts.

“I take pride in everything I do,” Moore said. “If you don’t take pride, what are you doing it for? We go out there every snap, every play. What you put on film is who you are. We have to have a sense of pride in that so we can show people that we aren’t who they say we are and we can prove people wrong.”

 

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