Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Florida Gators senior Carl Moore has one last shot at realizing his dream

GAINESVILLE — Carl Moore arrived at Florida from a California community college three years ago with dreams of becoming a big-time Division I-A football player.

As one of the most coveted junior college recruits in the Class of 2008, Moore was expected to make an immediate impact as a pure, steady-handed receiver for the Gators. But life has a way of altering expectations and derailing dreams. After averaging 13.1 yards on receptions in 2008, Moore missed the 2009 season with a bulging disc that eventually required surgery to shave it down.

"It's tough when you train hard and then something like that happens right before the season starts," he said. "But there was nothing I could do. All I did last year was train and try to get back, just kept working to get my back right so I could get back this year."

Now in his final season, Moore, 21, is concentrating on turning those old dreams into a new reality.

But the focus is no longer so much about the native of Rancho Cordova, Calif., as it is about his team.

"I'm definitely motivated," Moore said. "I'm more motivated for team success, though. I'm more concerned with us winning a national championship, especially with this being my last year. I want to go out there and try to win on top."

With a first-year starter at quarterback and few experienced receivers, Moore is being counted on heavily to be a major part of the Gators' rotation. Riley Cooper and David Nelson have left, and Florida needs another go-to receiver to partner with Deonte Thompson.

"He's made quite a few big catches (in fall practice)," UF quarterback John Brantley said. "He comes out there to work every day and he works hard."

First-year receivers coach Zach Azzanni, who arrived in December, said he has seen a monumental change in Moore in that time.

"He's really buying in now," Azzanni said. "He's doing everything I ask him to do, and he's got a great attitude right now. It's really helping the young kids, too. I don't know (what inspired it). He triggered it, I guess. Me and Carl have built a pretty good relationship. That's my job, to get him to perform and get him to buy in, and he has. I've just got to keep that going. He's doing a nice job for us right now."

Moore had 73 receptions for 1,068 yards in his sophomore season at Sierra. He was rated the No. 2 juco player that year. His back troubles began during the offseason in 2009. By the time the Gators began practice in August, the situation was worse.

"Over time it was sore, and then we got it checked out and it didn't get better," Moore said. "With disc bulge, you don't necessarily have to get surgery, but it just kept hitting my nerve and my nerve kept firing up, so it got to the point where I needed to get surgery."

The surgery repaired his back; his mind was another story. Moore returned to practice in the spring but struggled with personal issues that temporarily affected his football. He abruptly left a spring practice then missed the next two days before returning. Neither Moore nor the coaching staff ever explained his absence.

He says now he was "just dealing with some personal issues on my own." He says it had nothing to do with on-the-field issues and he never considered leaving the team.

But his coaches realize the frustration Moore has endured during the past year has taken a toll. Ultimately, they believe, it has put him back on the right path.

"You know how it is. You appreciate what these guys go through," offensive coordinator Steve Addazio said. "High expectations, buildup, injuries, disappointment. They're still kids. They're young and sometimes they don't handle those things always exactly textbook, but they bounce back and they learn and they grow from it. And Carl's come back, and to me he's come back with a great attitude, a great outlook, and I like where he's headed right now a lot."

Antonya English can be reached at english@sptimes.com.

Florida Gators senior Carl Moore has one last shot at realizing his dream 08/20/10 [Last modified: Friday, August 20, 2010 9:07pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Charlie Strong, Gulf High and the best (old) Jon Gruden-Tennessee rumor

    Blogs

    As Butch Jones keeps losing, Tennessee Vols fans are turning to one of the media's favorite pastimes.

  2. Lightning edges Red Wings on road

    Lightning Strikes

    DETROIT — The digs were different, the Lightning seeing the masterfully-done new Little Caesar's Arena for the first time.

    Lightning center/Red Wings’ killer Tyler Johnson gets past defenseman Trevor Daley on his way to the first goal of the game.
  3. Armwood pulls away to defeat Plant 27-7, remain undefeated

    Footballpreps

    SEFFNER — First-year Armwood coach Evan Davis pulled out all the stops to get his team psyched for Monday's annual grudge match against Plant.

    Armwood defensive end Malcolm Lamar (97) gets fired up before the start of the game between Plant High School Panthers and the Armwood High School Hawks in Suffer, Fla. on Monday, Oct. 16, 2017.
  4. Bucs journal: Dirk Koetter says Vernon Hargreaves needs to improve

    Bucs

    TAMPA — The Bucs now rank 31st in the NFL in pass defense, allowing 301 yards per game in their 2-3 start, and coach Dirk Koetter was asked Monday how concerned he is with the play of second-year CB Vernon Hargreaves.

    Ryan Fitzpatrick, throwing an incompletion under pressure after replacing injured Jameis Winston against the Cardinals,  would start this Sunday in Buffalo if Winston’s shoulder is still bothering him.
  5. Backhand shot makes Nikita Kucherov's offense even more dangerous

    Lightning Strikes

    DETROIT — Nikita Kucherov is on a historic streak, just the fourth player in the past 30 years to score a goal in each of his first six games.

    Nikita Kucherov’s backhand shot adds to his strong scoring.