Our Spring Game coverage continues with another key member of Oregon State’s secondary. Jalen Moore took over a starting safety position last season as a redshirt freshman and quickly became an essential member of the Beavers secondary. In a loss to Washington State, Moore tallied 10 total tackles and one forced fumble. Unfortunately, Moore was lost for the final two games with a jaw injury suffered against UCLA.
Now, the sophomore safety is back and working on becoming the best player that he can. The return to full health is going well for Moore, and he is very excited to be grinding on the practice field with his teammates.
“It was a minor setback," he said. I messed up my jaw last year. Now I’m back healthy and ready to compete, ready to run with the team.”
Part of this return to full health is "working his way back into the starting rotation." Of course, defensive coordinator Kevin Clune and safeties coach John Rushing aren’t going to just give the job to Moore. He will have to hit the field hard and earn every snap. Moore realizes the difficulty of keeping a starting job and understands that he has to be at the top of his game every single practice.
“Basically, just you know, work hard everyday, just gotta come and compete," he said. "Make sure you are always listening and learning, make sure you are working on everything because there is always someone behind you who is gonna want to take your spot.”
The hard work appears to be paying off early in the spring schedule. Moore made some tough tackles against the running backs and was working on his pre-play reads. On one play in particular, Moore came running up from 10 yards deep to cover a running back out of the backfield. Missing this read would have resulted in a long completion up the sideline. Instead, Moore blew up the play, and the offense only gained a yard.
When asked about his early progress in situations like the Spring Game, Moore was positive, but overall very humble.
“Everything going good. Just getting better. Just working on my technique. Just making sure that everybody is communicating. Just trying to be a leader on defense.”
Being a leader would be a big step for the sophomore safety. As a second-year starter in the secondary, Moore is in prime position to be seen as that veteran leader based on his early starting experience and chemistry with Brandon Arnold and Xavier Crawford. Although, Moore doesn’t feel that he has quite reached that status of a veteran leader.
“I’m getting there, I’m getting there. You know, I’m at the age where I’m a veteran, but I’m still learning how to step up and be a leader and get everyone on board.”
Moore’s continued progress as a second-year starter will be important for this young defense. Oregon State showed signs of life against explosive quarterbacks last year, but they need to keep growing as a unit. Luckily, Moore and the rest of the secondary have time to put in that work as the offseason training continues.