Like any football team, good, mediocre or bad, Texas Tech has several players whose play will be particularly critical to the squad's success. These players, whether by virtue experience, leadership ability, importance of the position played, depth concerns, or sheer talent, are especially crucial. They may or not be the best players on the club, but they would be very conspicuous were they to be absent for any reason. In fact, that may be the best way to conceive of the critical players—they are the performers the team could least afford to lose.
With this series, we will take a reverse order look at the Red Raider football players we consider most invaluable.
6' 4" 220
Strapping wideout Darrin Moore is one of the most tantalizing mysteries on the Texas Tech football team. Following marvelous spring and fall camps in 2011, Moore opened the season like gangbusters. After two weeks of play, he led the nation in receiving.
On the first play from scrimmage against Nevada in week three, however, Moore suffered a knee injury, and was arguably never 100-percent healthy again for the remainder of the season.
The big mystery is whether or not Moore can put together an entire season that approximates what he did in weeks one and two last season. Keep in mind that his monster games came against Texas State and New Mexico, not exactly Alabama and LSU of the west.
Will Moore be able to dominate in the Big 12?
The jury is still out of course, but there is reason to hope that he can make a very big splash in conference play.
Toward the end of 2011, as Moore began to regain his health, he put together good games against Big 12 competition. He nabbed six receptions for 74 yards and a pair of touchdowns against Baylor. And he tallied nine receptions for 88 yards and a TD at Missouri. Those were not monster games, but they do prove that Moore can damage Big 12 defenses.
One factor that could make Moore a better receiver than he ever was a year ago, is the spring camp battles he had with upstart cornerback Cornelius Douglas. The vertically challenged Douglas, who had a superb spring, consistently squared off with moon-raking Moore.
The results were inconclusive, but both players certainly got their licks in. There is no denying, however, that Douglas challenged Moore more forcefully than any Tech cornerback he had hitherto faced. And Moore should benefit from the competition.
At any rate, Seth Doege will be glad to have Moore as a weapon in his arsenal if the indefinite suspension is lifted.
Moore is not fast, but his size, physicality, hands and timing mean that if Doege tosses the pigskin in his general direction, odds are good that Moore will come down with it. Moore is basically a tight end with the acrobaticism of a receiver. And he should be a tough cover regardless of who Tech is playing.