Chattanooga senior Chaz Moore has returned close to 50 kickoffs in his nearly four-year career, and judging by his 2013 statistics, he saved his best work for last.
Through six games, Moore ranks seventh in the FCS in kickoff return average (29.9). He has a handful of 30-plus yarders under his belt, and two weeks ago against Western Carolina, brought one back 81 yards.
As good as he’s been, though, he isn’t even the top return man in the Southern Conference.
That honor currently belongs to Samford senior Fabian Truss, who’s sporting a 31.8-yard average and has a pair of 100-yard touchdowns. The 5-foot-10, 175-pound Moore, on the other hand, hasn’t scored this season. In fact, he hasn’t found the end zone on any of the first 47 returns of his career.
He’s had plenty of chances, too, beginning with the opening kickoff of the season, which Moore returned 36 yards before being tripped up by a UT Martin defender. He was awfully close to taking it to the house, though.
“We’ve gotten seams all year long on that, and it’s just a matter of time before we pop one,” head coach Russ Huesman said.
Even more puzzling is the fact that the lightning-quick Moore was brought down from behind before reaching the end zone on his 81-yard return against the Catamounts.
“I don’t know if it’s my speed or what it is,” Moore said.
His head coach seems to have an idea of what’s holding him back.
“We’ve discussed with him his desire to do spin moves, cutbacks — to do Deion Sanders type moves,” Huesman said. “He’s been instructed, he gets to put his foot in the ground once and go north. That’s it. How much he listens to that I don’t know, but he’s been instructed by me grabbing him by the jersey and saying ‘Chaz, one cut.'"
Between Huesman’s harping and Moore’s reviewing of the game tapes, the Memphis, Tenn., native seems to have received the message.
“I’ve been making too many moves,” he said. “I’ve seen on film if I just make the one cut it’s a touchdown. There’s numerous times that has happened. Like Coach said, one cut and hit it. No moves, just north and south. Hopefully it works out.”
“You guys can start calling him Chaz ‘One Cut’ Moore,” Huesman joked. “He’s doing a great job, though. He’s a great kid and it’s just been a pleasure having him for the last four years.”
Michael Murphy covers UTC athletics for Nooga.com. Follow him on Twitter @MichaelNooga.
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