Tigers' Moore is positioned as safety net

Defensive back: The versatile senior is called upon to take on linemen and stay with speedy receivers, and he's just as busy off the field.

Morgan State & Towson

September 03, 2004|By Gary Lambrecht | Gary Lambrecht,SUN STAFF

Taking on blockers who outweigh him by at least 50 pounds is hard enough. But a day in the life of Towson University safety P.D. Moore entails much more.

As a biology major who is carrying a 3.15 grade point average into his senior year, Moore knows all about juggling a schedule.

Night classes and lab work keep Moore plenty occupied, often forcing him to review football tapes early in the morning, leave afternoon practice before its conclusion or miss one or two team meetings each week. But that has not stopped Moore from taking control of a unique position in Towson's defense.

Moore is listed as the Tigers' strong safety, but that only hints at his responsibilities.

In Towson's unusual 4-2-5 alignment, Moore typically lines up near the line of scrimmage, across from the opposing tight end, thus resembling a linebacker. The Tigers need the 5-foot-10, 190-pound Moore to engage a lineman to defend against the run. Moore is expected to shed a bigger blocker and make a tackle or occupy his opponent while others move to the ball.

But Moore is equally comfortable resorting to a game of open-field speed. He'll be called upon to take a receiver in man-to-man coverage or rush the quarterback from off the corner if the Tigers call a blitz.

The resident of Cape May Court House, N.J., handles his list of assignments smoothly. As a two-time first-team Patriot League player, Moore was voted a co-captain by the Tigers, who launch their Atlantic 10 Conference membership on the field next week.

"He sets the tone for everything, whether it's in the weight room, the offseason conditioning program, the summer conditioning program. Because of his ability as a player, he gets that instant respect," Towson coach Gordy Combs said.

"He's one of those guys who can play any position. He gives you a lot of versatility. He has a concept of what everybody is doing in the entire defense."

As a result, Moore, a pro prospect who has run the 40-yard dash in under 4.6 seconds for scouts, produces a little bit of everything. A year ago, he ranked fifth on the team in tackles (63), led the team with nine pass deflections, and added 10 tackles for losses and three interceptions.

"They seem to put me everywhere at times," Moore said. "Sometimes you get into a battle where you're just holding your ground [against a large lineman]. If he throws you on the ground, you've got to get up and go at it again."

Moore, whose actual first name is Clarence - he said his aunt nicknamed him as a young boy, since he resembled someone she knew named "P.D." - would love to live the NFL dream. He also is close to earning his degree and intends to pursue a career in physical therapy, specializing in sports medicine.

Teammate and roommate Bryan Fitzpatrick, a senior safety and co-captain who credits Moore's quarterback hurries for some of his team-high five interceptions in 2003, said the biology major brings the complete package.

"A lot of offensive linemen think they can bully him around, but they can't. You're going to have to compete to beat P.D. to the ball. He has a wonderful motor," Fitzpatrick said. "If you have a nick or a bruise, he'll tell you what muscle you really hurt. I told him I bruised my shin. He said, `No, you bruised your gastrocnemius.' He knows all the terms."

"I've always been the smart kid who likes challenges," said Moore, who is proud of his status as a co-captain. "It means a lot that your teammates look up to you and want to follow you."

Season opener

Opponent: Elon

Site: Rhodes Stadium, Elon, N.C.

When: Tomorrow, 2 p.m.

Radio: WTMD (89.7 FM)

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