The Bulls opened the season with a victory, but besides a decisive 56-7 romp, performance by USF running back Moise Plancher (2 touchdown, 66-yards) had to be one of the better feel good stories of the night.
Plancher arrived at USF in 2005 and was poised to take over the void left by Andre Hall, but injuries have hampered him from the onset. In 2006 he injured his hamstring, causing him to miss most of the spring. He returned from the injury and started the 2006 season opener, having 4 carries for 24 yards before a torn ACL caused him to miss the season.
"What many don't realize about Plancher," said Gregory. "Was that three years ago, Mo was our starter, before he got injured. "
Plancher successfully returned from knee surgery only to be sidelined by an ankle injury in the 2007 preseason. He returned, but returned only to finish with 17 yards on 10 carries in a crowded backfield. Mo's woes continued this spring when he suffered another serious injury to his elbow during position drills, and didn't play the rest of the spring.
"It's been tough," said Plancher. "I have had many teammates tell me to persevere and many coaches tell me to never give up."
When the preseason rolled around Mo returned for camp healthy, but was listed as sixth on the Bulls depth chart entering the season opener against Tennessee Martin. "It has been a tough road," said
With the Bulls comfortably ahead, Plancher entered the game in the second half and made the most of it, scoring the first TD of his career on a 34-yard run in the third quarter.
"It felt great. It has been a long time. It felt really good to finally be out there again. My first collegiate touchdown felt better then I had expected it would."
Plancher carried the rock with determination and rushed for 66 yards on eight caries. "The offensive line did a great job really moving the guys off the ball," said Plancher. "We all had good runs. Running behind that line, anyone can be successful."
As good as the O-line was, late in the game the blocking broke down and Mo showed some nifty moves and scored on a 13 yard score for the game's final points.
Plancher is still behind Mike Ford, Ben Williams, & Jamar Taylor on the depth chart, and said that his relationship with the other running backs and coach Franks helped in him staying positive and remaining focused.
"We always feed off each other. After each play, we go to Coach Franks and ask him what we did wrong and what we could do better. That goes for each back," said Plancher. "We just want to get better so we always give each other positive feedback. This is the closest group I have ever been around."
Next up is UCF for the last regular season showdown of the 'War on I-4', and Plancher talked about looking forward to playing UCF and trying to go 4-0 against them.
"Yeah, It is going to be a big game. It's a close rivalry, and we just have to com to play and make sure to practice hard this week.
Last season the Bulls put up 64 points on the Knights, but does Plancher think they can do it again like last year?
"I am not really worrying about the numbers. If I play, hopefully I can be consistent."
Plancher's tenure hasn't been easy, he's shown dedication, fought through numerous injuries to return to the field, and proved what he can do when given the opportunity. Now all Mo has to do is show he can stay healthy for an entire season.
"I just need to stay positive and wait for my chance to show what I can do."
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