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Mr. Michael "Big Mike" Moore

Home:
1214 Bolton St.
Center, Texas 75935

Work:

Home Phone: 337-232-5781
Work Phone: --
Fax: --
Email: bigmikethegreatone@yahoo.com

Football: Moore Digs Trenches

November 23, 2005 –
330-pounder discovers home at nose tackle

Dan McDonald
dmcdonald@theadvertiser.com

Mike Moore has put up with a lot of misery during his college football career.
There were those seasons when he struggled to find himself, and when the University of Louisiana coaches struggled to find him a position.

There was shoulder surgery before the 2003 season, forcing him to miss his entire sophomore year. There were problems with weight – no small task when your best playing weight is in the neighborhood of 330 pounds. There was indecision over whether he was going to play on the offensive or defensive side of the ball.

And now, earlier this season, when he was one of the few dominant defensive linemen in the Sun Belt Conference, there came the “cut” blocks … those blind shots below the waist from offensive linemen that are at best questionable tactics, for the most part illegal, and at their worst are among the dirtiest plays in football.
“It’s real frightening,” Moore said. “A lot of guys get hurt that way. But it’s football.”

Moore can talk from first-hand experience. UL defensive coordinator Brent Pry said the Cajun senior nose tackle thoroughly whipped every center he faced after the season opener against Texas, until the Cajuns played back-to-back road games at Arkansas State and Middle Tennessee.

Against ASU, the 6-foot-3, 330-pound Moore strained an ankle on a cut block and saw his effectiveness tail off in UL’s 39-36 last-second loss. One week later, a Middle Tennessee offensive lineman dove at that ankle on the game’s first play, and Moore didn’t play the rest of the game.

“I try to play my man,” he said, “but if you see somebody cutting, we’re coached to try to hold them off and hold our position. That made two straight weeks.”

The Center, Texas, native should be used to such treatment. Such is the life of a nose tackle, the man holding down the middle of the defensive unit and one that draws double-teams more often than not.

“I’m pretty sore, but I’ve been sore the whole season,” Moore said. “Everybody takes hits and everybody gives hits. I can’t take a play off just because I’m hurting, because everybody else is hurting.”

Most would say Moore’s nose tackle slot inherently handles the dirty work. Moore disagrees.

“It’s my job,” he said. “Everyone on defense has dirty work to do. If I have to take most of the double-teams, that means someone else doesn’t. It’s about the whole defense and not one player.”

Good thing, since the individual numbers don’t come close to explaining Moore’s effectiveness. He’s had only 13 solo tackles through 10 games entering Saturday’s pivotal Sun Belt Conference finale at UL Monroe.

“He’s a big force in there,” Pry said. “He was playing really well, but he hasn’t gotten back to 100 percent production-wise since he got hurt. We’re hoping that’ll come at Monroe.”

Saturday’s game carries more meaning than any in Moore’s five-year career, and he’s happy that the final regular-season game of his career means something.

“This feels wonderful,” he said. “Since I’ve been here we’ve been trying to do this. I thought it could happen even when we had the five games left. I’m not one to give up. It’s my senior season and it would be our first winning season, a conference championship and maybe a bowl game … it would be a heck of a way of going out. We could be a part of history.”

When it’s over … when he’s finished with three hours of pounding?

“I’ll celebrate with my teammates,” Moore said. “I may feel it the next day, but I won’t care how bad I feel.”

And the soreness?

“It won’t hurt quite as bad if we win,” he said.

Originally published November 23, 2005