The injury that ruined Darrin Moore’s 2011 football season was hard enough to experience live. That didn’t stop the Texas Tech wide receiver from asking to see it on videotape.
“My coach didn’t even want to show me it after the next day when we watched film,” Moore said recently, “but I told him I wanted to see it, so we went over it, like, two times. It looked pretty bad.”
It must’ve been, considering the way it truncated what began as such a promising year. In the first two games of the Red Raiders’ season, Moore caught 21 passes for 339 yards and four touchdowns. In the last 10 games — of which he played seven, at less than full speed — he had 26 catches, 232 yards and four TDs.
When Moore went up to catch a deep pass against Nevada and landed awkwardly with Wolf Pack cornerback Isaiah Frey on his back, he messed up all sorts of body parts. The medial collateral ligaments in both his knees were sprained and his left ankle was hurt — and stayed that way for months.
“The knees I didn’t really have full confidence in them for a while, but they were good after, I’d say, three weeks,” Moore said. “But my ankle, that was probably the worst.”
Moore said he didn’t feel like himself again until about a week into spring practice, which started in late February.
By the end of spring, though, Moore reclaimed his starting flanker job, which was good news for the Red Raiders. In the Red Raiders’ 2011 spring practices and again last August in preseason workouts, Moore was a dominant presence on the outside. Moore, 6-foot-4 and 220 pounds, regularly out-jumped or out-muscled smaller defenders to make impressive catches of Seth Doege passes.
That continued into the first two games. Next season, Moore wants to show those were more than just snapshots of his potential. As a senior, it’ll be his last opportunity.
“Definitely, I’ve got to make up for it,” he said. “My expectation is to be even better than I started off last year. I expect to start the year off the same way I did last year, coming off and competing every down, every play. I’m hoping not to get injured this year and keep that going for the rest of the season.”
Tech offensive coordinator Neal Brown feels the same way. If Moore is healthy for a full season, he might add a big-play dimension the Red Raiders have needed the last two seasons.
Tech has Moore, Bradley Marquez and Javon Bell trying to give them that from the flanker spot, and Eric Ward, Marcus Kennard and Derek Edwards hoping to be the home-run hitter from split end.
“We spent a lot of time working on the vertical passing game — post balls, go balls — and we’ve been hit and miss,” Brown said at the end of spring practice. “We’ve not been as consistent as I’d like to in that. That’s something we wanted to get done. We showed some signs, but we’re not there yet.”
Moore’s spring might have been more interesting, thanks to the presence of cornerback Cornelius Douglas across from him. The two roommates put on a show while facing off against each other every day in February and March workouts. Douglas played a physical style and regularly broke up or intercepted passes. Moore beat him deep from time to time.
“I felt like we had a back-and-forth battle,” Moore said. “He really grinded. He got a lot better this spring, as well as the rest of the defense. But I feel like me and him going together, we both pushed each other to the limit. We’re going to go hard every play, because we both want to get the best of each other.”
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