June 27, 2008

Moore says d-line will have to move on

The price of success in college football rears its head each year during the NFL Draft.

The Trojan football team had 10 players selected this past April, but one unit was hit particularly hard.

The defensive line lost a pair of starters in the first round, when the New Orleans Saints selected defensive tackle Sedrick Ellis and the Seattle Seahawks took defensive end Lawrence Jackson.

Seniors like defensive end Kyle Moore, though, are helping ease the pain.

Moore said replacing Ellis and Jackson will be impossible, but the team will make do.

"You can't replace two all-Americans like Sedrick and LJ. You just have to work with what we got," Moore said. "Our d-line is a very confident d-line. We've got me, Fili Moala, Everson Griffen and Averill Spicer. Averill has a chance to come out here and make some plays too. Add Christian Tupou and Derek Simmons, we've got a deep group working hard."

Paired with senior leadership at linebacker and in the secondary, Moore's confident this defensive unit is something special.

"On defense, we've got a lot of guys back from last year and a lot of senior starters. We're just coming out here to work harder. Some of the new guys that are ready to come in are trying to get a starting position," Moore said. "They're hungry. Put that all together."

"As a defense that sticks together, we push each other and work together. We're gelling already. We're all trying to accomplish one goal - to get to the big thing."

Moore missed all of spring ball after surgery to repair a torn meniscus suffered in USC's Rose Bowl win over Illinois. Working hard this summer, Moore's happy to be out on the field, testing his left knee.

"My knee's still is getting sore, especially after we work with heavy weights. I just have to ice it and rest it when I can," he said. "I'm going to take care of it because I'm trying to make it through the entire season.

"I don't want any injuries. It's crucial that you take care of your body."

Moore's knee injury has slowed his progress some, but the senior said he's working extra hard now to make up for any lost time.

"I'm just trying to get that leg back strong. It's feeling a lot better," Moore said. "My get-offs and my explosion are a whole lot better. By working on my get-offs, I'm trying to work on getting more sacks this year."

Moore finished last season with 35 tackles and two sacks. Now working without Jackson and Ellis on the line, Moore said the defensive line has to step up even more and create its own identity.

"We're a really close group. We do a lot of things together. It's going to help us get even better on the field," Moore said. "A lot of us like to get together, and when we get out here, it makes it easier to work.

"We have to be able to set our own tone."

And as a veteran, he's doing what he can to make sure the defense reaches the high expectations.

"You have to bring leadership out here. We lost a lot of that," Moore said. "The seniors really have to step up and show the younger guys how we play and what it takes to work out here.

"When I came up, guys taught me. Now, it's my turn."

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