Young LSU line will get to know Moore

October, 16, 2012
10/16/12
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BATON ROUGE, La. -- Watch tape of Texas A&M defensive end Damontre Moore and you'll see an assortment of looks.

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Thomas Campbell/US PresswireTexas A&M defensive end Damontre Moore has 8.5 sacks to lead the SEC.
He'll line up on the right side of the line, or maybe on the left. On some plays, he'll be lined up wide of the offensive tackle, others straight up.

On some plays, he'll try to use speed to sprint around the outside shoulder of the tackle. On others, he'll use a quick move and great strength for a 255-pounder to get to the inside of the tackle right into the face of the quarterback.

It's added up to 8.5 sacks -- an SEC best -- in six games for the junior as the Aggies prepare to host LSU on Saturday. He had three sacks against Florida, proof that he didn't accumulate his numbers against the softer teams on the Aggies' schedule.

Asked about Moore, LSU coach Les Miles said, "We're going to be challenged," but quickly added, "as we have in the past."

The Tigers are hoping recent experience with top-flight pass rushers will help the young offensive line contain one of the nation's most disruptive players. In last week's 23-21 win over South Carolina and monster defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, LSU performed well. This week, while much of the attention will be on LSU's ability to defend Aggies dual-threat quarterback Johnny Manziel, the Tigers' ability to contain another elite pass rusher may again prove crucial.

Coming into the South Carolina game, the perception was LSU could not protect its quarterback, with 15 sacks allowed in its first six games. But against the Gamecocks, not only did the Tigers keep quarterback Zach Mettenberger clean (one sack allowed), they battered arguably the best front they've seen to date for 258 rushing yards.

"For us, as an entire offensive unit, we have to make sure we continue to play like we did this last weekend," said left tackle Josh Dworaczyk, whose handling of Clowney on Mettenberger's blind side was a key part of LSU's offensive success. "That was with some fire and some motivation. That's not just looking at a pass play as keeping a guy away, but actually getting physical with somebody, getting your hands on somebody and throwing him around. That was something we were able to do and we have to continue to do that."

Getting hands on Moore will be a tough and different challenge for LSU. While Clowney is used primarily as a right end, Moore is all over the place.

A linebacker a season ago in a 3-4 scheme, he finished second on the team with 8.5 sacks behind teammate Sean Porter, whose 9.5 sacks led the Big 12. Porter is back starting for an Aggies defense that led the nation in sacks last season.

"They have not only one, but several really talented pass rushers," Miles said.

Moore is by far the most productive Aggies defender this season as they have adjusted to a new scheme under first-year head coach Kevin Sumlin.

New defensive coordinator Mark Snyder has changed the responsibilities of both Moore and Porter this season. In Snyder's 4-3 defense, Porter has stayed at linebacker, but in less of a pass-rushing role. A year ago he had 17 tackles for loss playing an outside linebacker position that was more like a stand-up end. This year, as a 4-3 linebacker, he has just two tackles for loss.

Moore, on the other hand, has become a wild card of sorts, fitting for a player who played the "joker" linebacker position last year. Now as a true, hand-on-the-ground end, he gets moved to either end of the line depending on the situation. That means both Dworaczyk, a sixth-year senior, and true freshman right tackle Vadal Alexander will have to be prepared to take him on.

The Aggies also like to have Moore twist to the inside, meaning both guards Trai Turner at right guard and La'el Collins at left guard can expect to see him challenge them with inside moves.

"We're going to have to play as one," Dworaczyk said. "That was the key for us last week, and it will be again."

Indeed it takes a team to block Moore, who seems to be the player Snyder's scheme assigns to blow up plays. He has accounted for 45 percent of the Aggies' sacks this season and no other A&M player has more than two. He also has 15 tackles for loss, 11.5 more than the next best player on the team (linebacker Steven Jenkins' 3.5).

If there is a weakness to LSU's new-look offensive line, one might expect Snyder to point at it by sending Moore to it. That's a task Miles said his team is prepared for.

"This late in the season," Miles said, "we are getting accustomed to a challenge and we are looking forward to it."

Gary Laney | email

Reporter, GeauxTigerNation

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