This Moore receives wide praise,few votes

November 16, 1990|By Mike Preston

He is the other Moore. The first name is Herman. And even though his name is inconspicuously absent from most Heisman Trophy voting lists, he still gets University of Maryland coach Joe Krivak's vote as the best wide receiver in the country.

"If there is a better wide receiver in the country, I haven't seen him," said Krivak of Moore, Virginia's 6-foot-5, 175-pound junior wide receiver.

"He has great eye and hand coordination and can make the tough catch, either in the crowd or an alley-oop," Krivak said. "But the thingthat makes him devastating is that once he catches the ball, he runs as well as anybody we've seen. That creates a lot of problems."

Krivak will get another firsthand look at Moore tomorrow when the Terps (5-5 overall, 3-3 Atlantic Coast Conference) play No. 8 Virginia (8-1,4-1) at Scott Stadium (12:08 p.m.) in Charlottesville.

Last year, Moore caught two passes for 57 yards against the Terps, including a 36-yarder at the end of the half that gave Virginia a 28-14 lead, and the momentum as the Cavaliers beat the Terps, 48-21.

But Moore has been doing the same things to other teams this year. Moore's 1990 statistics: 44 receptions for 977 yards and 12 touchdowns.

Moore established a National Collegiate Athletic Association record this season by catching a touchdown pass in nine consecutive games. His past 22 touchdowns have covered an average of 37.3 yards per game, and 72 of his past 80 receptions have gone for either a first down or a touchdown.

So, why isn't he in the Heisman race?

Moore doesn't talk about the issue, but a lot of others do.

"He plays for the same team as Shawn, and there usually aren't two players from the same team in the running," said ABC analyst Dick Vermeil. "But don't take this guy lightly. He's a great player."

One Heisman voter said: "I'm picking The Rocket [Notre Dame's all-purpose player Raghib Ismail] No. 1, but my second vote goes to Herman Moore."

And just think, Moore almost didn't attend Virginia.

Virginia got Moore because Virginia Tech wouldn't commit a scholarship to him until he scored high enough on his Scholastic Aptitude Test. When the Cavaliers said they would offer him a scholarship no matter the outcome, Moore became a Cavalier. He later scored well enough to be accepted into Virginia, anyway.

"Virginia was willing to take a chance," said Moore.

But the gamble wasn't over yet. When Moore became a starter in 1988, he looked like an octopus running a post pattern, a collection of arms and legs running out of control. His biggest contributions came on alley-oop pass where he would run to a spot, and out-jump smaller defenders.

Good stuff, but Jerry Rice didn't start this way.

"I didn't want to go through my career and have people think of me as the guy who could catch only one kind of pass," said Moore, who has won three ACC high-jump championships. "Whenever someone mentioned my name, it was always in connection with the alley-oop play."

Now Moore is a total receiver. His field awareness has caught up with his ability. He has scored on receptions of 83, 63, 59, 49, 48, 44, 43, 42 and 40 yards this season.

And these weren't all scored on fly patterns where he simply blew by defenders. Moore runs great curl and hook patterns, and once he turns upfield, goodbye.

"You try to limit his ability to make that big run off the catch," said Krivak.

"One thing I've improved a lot is the quality of my routes," said Moore. "Now I run a precise route, the way I'm supposed to run it, the way coaches want me to run it. Before, I'd more or less run around until I got open. Then I'd expect Shawn to find me.

"I now know what to do when a defense blows a coverage against me."

Moore, an articulate and confident player, must decide if he wants to run patterns at Virginia for another season, or in the National Football League next year. He is a projected first-round draft pick.

Earlier this year, he said the chances of playing in the NFL were 50-50.

"Everybody has their opinion, but nobody knows. Only I know," said Moore.

NOTES: Maryland starting H-back Frank Wycheck, a redshirt freshman and the conference's leading receiver, with 58 receptions for 509 yards, will miss tomorrow's game because of strained muscles in his lower back. Wycheck had to removed in the second half of the Penn State game Saturday because of the same problem. Also, reserve safety Johnny Vessels and offensive guard Kevin Arline will not play. Vessels was removed from the Penn State game in the second half with heart palpitations, and Arline has a shoulder injury. . . . Krivak is 2-1 against Virginia in his three previous years at Maryland. The last time Maryland played in Charlottesville, the Terps lost, 24-23, in 1988, as Virginia ruined the Terps' chance for a winning season in the final game. Maryland ended the year at 5-6.

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