- Sam Khan Jr., ESPN Staff Writer
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COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- If there were any questions about how junior Damontre Moore would handle the transition from outside linebacker to defensive end, he answered them loudly on Saturday.
In Texas A&M's 20-17 season-opening loss to Florida, the Rowlett, Texas, product recorded 10 tackles, seven of which were solo and three sacks, good enough to earn him Southeastern Conference co-Defensive Lineman of the Week honors.
Moore, who had 8.5 sacks last year and 17 tackles for loss as an outside linebacker in a 3-4, said that moving to end in the 4-3 wasn't that difficult of a transition at all.
"I feel pretty comfortable because I played defensive end in high school," Moore said. "Coming into college I moved to outside linebacker. So once they told me I had to move back to defensive end, it was kind of like riding a bike. You never really forget, so I think the transition was pretty smooth."
Not only was he productive, he showed endurance by playing all but five of the Aggies' 66 defensive snaps.
"Coach [Kevin] Sumlin said the other day in the meeting, and it kind of shocked me, that I played 61 plays out of 66 total defensive plays," Moore said. "If you would have asked him that in the summer, he would have said 'No way.' If you would have asked me that during the summer I would have said 'Maybe half that.' "
Moore, who turned 20 on Tuesday, is still young even though he's a junior, and he's maturing before the coaches' eyes.
"Our big thing to Damontre was, he’s been a slot player and he produced as a slot player," defensive coordinator Mark Snyder said. "It’s time to grow up, put your hand in the dirt, stop the run and put pressure on the quarterback. And you’ve got to go play for 60-to-80 plays or whatever is required and you know what, he did that. I’m very, very proud of him.
"There’s a maturation process that has to continue to happen. I see a more business-like approach out of him from the first day of we got here for spring ball to now."
The 6-foot-4, 250-pound Moore said he has upped his focus because the Aggies are playing in the Southeastern Conference.
"The focus level calls for me to bring a tremendous increase because of the new conference and playing new opponents -- bigger and faster," He said. "I’m just trying to help my team to the best of my ability. My focus level went up tremendously and my maturity comes with time and it’s been a whole other year, so of course that is going to improve.”
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