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Sophomore wide receiver Ryan Moore (Orlando, FL) has had a frustrating year. Coming into the season he was looking to build upon his freshman season in which he had 44 catches for 637 yards and three touchdowns. He was the first freshman to lead the team in receiving yards since Reggie Wayne in 1997.

The season has been tough for Ryan Moore and it started in the season opener against Florida State in which he recorded one pass for 12 yards with three drops. It was a very uncharacteristic game for him. He was constantly in a physical battle with the FSU cornerbacks and he couldn't get on track. He did not have the type of opener he wanted to in terms of receiving yards, but he did have the key block allowing Frank Gore to score the game-winning touchdown in overtime.

Although his performance did not meet his expectations he chose to talk about his struggles in the weekly press conference following the game. Reporters drilled him with questions doubting his abilities and wondering what was wrong. It isn't easy to handle criticism by the media, but Moore took it in stride. He is a stand-up individual that could have very easily not shown up that day. Many players that have tough games the week before do not attend the press conference despite requests.

Following the Florida State game, Moore, a 6-foot-3, 215-pound split end, and flanker Roscoe Parrish were benched in favor of Sinorice Moss and Lance Leggett. Again, Moore was held to just one catch. He regained his starting position the next game against Houston, but recorded one catch before suffering a mid-foot sprain. Since the injury in the third game of the season he has missed six straight games and is questionable for Saturday's game against Wake Forest.

"The injury I have is not real serious, but it just takes a long time to heal," Moore said. "Some days are good and some days are bad. Lately things have been real good."

Despite the injury he has maintained a positive attitude.

"I was frustrated at first, but you get over it," Moore said. "Stuff happens."

After being named a second-team Freshman All-American by The Sporting News last year he had his goals set high this season. He led the team in receiving yards and tied for the team-lead in receiving touchdowns. Against Virginia Tech he had a career day with 101 receiving yards on seven catches. He showed the ability to make plays after the catch and battled through a shoulder in which he had surgery on in the off-season.

"This was definitely not the plan for this season," Moore said. "It was real frustrating that I couldn't help my team win especially those two losses we had in a row. All you can do with it is take it and roll with it."

He has been working hard in practice trying to get back on the field and be productive when his number is called.

"For me I am going hard and getting in game shape," Moore said. "I pretty much go all out in practice because I don't want to get in a game and try and do something I haven't done in practice. I just want to be ready for the games so when I go in I know what I can do."

Last Tuesday, Moore suffered a setback in his progress to return to the field. He was doing well, but had a bad day with his foot and it set him back two or three days. He was okay by Thursday, but head coach Larry Coker decided against letting Moore travel to Virginia.

There are particular things that bother Moore's foot when playing.

"My straight ahead running is good," Moore said. "I have been doing that for a while. It is the cutting and coming out of the breaks full speed that gives me problems. Coming back to the ball and jumping sometimes it hurts real bad."

Despite the absence of Moore in the passing game, the Hurricanes have had a number of guys step up especially leading receiver Roscoe Parrish who has 31 receptions for 474 yards and seven touchdowns.

"They have played real well," Moore said about the receivers. "They have played better than people have expected because some guys haven't had their names out there yet before the season. We have an elite group and they have really shown what they can do."

While on the sideline he tries to help his teammates as much as possible, but he knows that they are better off learning some things on their own.

"I try to help all the time," Moore said. "In practice I try to point out little things, but that is why they have a coach so I don't try to tell them too much. You have to let them figure things out and learn on their own. That is how Andre Johnson and Kevin Beard were with me. But I try to tell them little things to help them."

True freshman Lance Leggett (6-4, 175) has filled in for Moore as the starting split end. On the season Leggett has 13 catches for 246 yards and three touchdowns. Moore helps the youngster, but thinks he is doing just fine.

"Lance is real talented," Moore said. "He can do things I can't do, but I try to help him out."

Whether or not Moore plays this week against Wake Forest is up in the air. He is day-to-day with his injury and he does not know if he is playing this week. The last two weeks he has have been close to playing, but it was up to the coaches. This week he has taken more reps this week since he has been hurt.

Christopher Stock is a Staff Writer for CanesTime and can be contacted by emailing him at stock@canestime.com

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