Moss Staying True To His Word

Tyrone Moss isn't backing down. Last year, while still a senior at Ely High in Pompano Beach, Moss publicly issued a warning to University of Miami running back Frank Gore by declaring that he was coming down to Coral Gables to take Gore' job. Half a year later Moss hasn't changed his tone.

"I said that and I stand by it," said Moss, who reported Sunday along with the rest of the 2003 UM freshmen class. "And that's the attitude that I'm going to take out there. A guy coming in should believe he could compete for the starting position.

"Frank, he's the starter right now, but hopefully I'll get some playing time. I'm still going to compete for the starting job because I think that the best man should play. I want to play right away here. Hopefully, I can compete for the starting job also."

Moss might not have to wait long. Although the Hurricanes are counting on Gore, who rushed for 562 yards and averaged 9.1 yards a carry as a freshman its not a certainty that he is completely healthy. Gore, who missed the 2002-03 season after suffering a knee injury in the spring, is penciled in as a starter, replacing the departed Willis McGahee.

But Gore's participation was limited in the spring and its still unclear how his knee will respond to constant contact. Fifth-year senior Jarrett Payton, who has played in 27 games his entire career at UM, is the only other experienced running back. Put those two factors together and chances are likely that Moss plays immediately.

UM coach Larry Coker said that he hopes a number of the freshmen don't play right from the start because that would mean ‘we're not a very good football team.' But he wouldn't have a problem with Moss sneaking onto the field for the Hurricanes.

"Tyrone has been here seven weeks working out and getting ready," said UM coach Larry Coker. "He's a very intelligent player with durability that certainly brings a lot to the table."

Moss is already setting the bar pretty high. The 5-10, 218-pounder has an eye on Clinton Portis' freshman rushing mark of 838 in 1999 and Gore's yards-per-carry average in 2001.

"Hopefully, I can get that and do the things Frank did," said Moss.

The former Parade All-American comes in with plenty of credentials. Moss, considered a complete back thanks to a combination of speed, power and vision, ran for over 7,000 yards at Ely, leading the team to the 5A state championship in 2002. Moss had 2,313 rushing yards and scored 35 touchdowns last season, while adding another 2,500 yards and 35 touchdowns as a junior in 2001.

Moss selected Miami over North Carolina, Virginia Tech and Michigan State, among others, opting for UM and turning down an opportunity to back-up Hokies' starting running back Kevin Jones.

"I just feel this is the right place for me," says Moss, who compares his running style to that of Miami Dolphins' running back Rickey Williams.

FOUR ON HOLD: With Miami recruit Nate Robinson opting for Rutgers last week and linebacker Leo Waiters (Northwestern), lineman Eric Moncur (Carol City) and linebacker Arlington Highsmith (Central) failing to qualify academically, Miami still has four scholarships remaining. Coker refused to say whether the school would hold the scholarships until the winter semester in January.

"We could quite possibly use them on walk-ons but I don't know what's going to happen yet," said Coker.

ON TAB: The Hurricanes will have another practice in shorts Tuesday before putting on the pads Wednesday. The first ‘full-gear' session will be Friday.

SLIMMING DOWN: Coker said that defensive tackle Vince Wilfork and offensive linemen Vernon Carey and Carlos Joseph have all lost weight during the summer, adding that Wilfork has dropped 20 pounds. Coker said that senior receiver Kevin Beard should be ready to play immediately. Although he is still in search of a fourth interior defensive linemen Coker said that he has ‘three starters' right now in Wilfork, Orien Harris and Santonio Thomas. Sophomore Buck Ortega has been switched to H-back/tight end. "He's going to help our football team immensely at this position," said Coker.

HOBBLED: An otherwise successful practice was marred by injuries to wide receiver Jason Geathers (slight hamstring pull) and Kevin Beard (pulled quad). Ryan Moore also practiced with a protective sleeve over his hamstring. Larry Anderson also pulled a quad but should be back soon according to Coach Coker.

HIGHLIGHTS: Kyle Wright came out firing and completed a perfect over the shoulder pass to Roscoe Parrish for a huge gain. Devin Hester returned a punt for a touchdown and Tyrone Moss broke a long run.

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