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It has been nearly a month now since the freshman reported to camp in early August, and from the first day of workouts we saw the impressive and somewhat unexpected dominance of freshman wide receiver Evan Moore. That is not intended to be a slight toward the Orange County athlete - not at all. But few outside the Moore household expected him to be such a productive playmaker so quickly upon his arrival at Stanford. Though there were some inconsistencies on the practice field, this 6'7" freshman clearly had the ability to convert high passes into first downs. That was a unique skill set within this Cardinal receiving corps.
But the deal struck last September between Moore, Buddy Teevens and Mike Montgomery slated him for a redshirt season on the gridiron, to allow him to reasonably partake in the beginning of the basketball season. Truthfully, there would not have been a second thought about this deal had Moore not shown up at The Farm with such ready-made playmaking skills. The football staff made it known to the two-sport athlete that he was ready to play Pac-10 football this fall, should he want to take on that challenge.
As Moore was toying with the idea of playing football as a true freshman, he had meetings with the basketball coaching staff for their input. They explained to him the pros and cons for his choices, and one creative alternative was floated whereby he could play football the first half of the season and then move over to basketball. But in the end, the wise freshman came full circle and stuck by the same decision he had made a year ago.
"It wasn't really that tough of a choice," Moore comments. "It's tough to not play this year [in football]. I would have had a great time this fall, but come December I would have been thinking 'What did I do?' I would have regretted it for years to come."
Implicit in his words and in this decision is the fact that starting basketball in December (or January, should Stanford Football make a bowl appearance) was too late of a start, one that would undermine the remainder of his season. "The [basketball] coaches laid it out in the beginning and said that if you can't be there the whole season at least the first year, you will always be behind," Moore explains. "The team is a really close group of guys, and you need to spend the preseason together to build the chemistry on and off the court. This is my one year to do that. It's not like I can make up for that any other year, when I know I'll be playing football all fall."
Moore met with Montgomery last Wednesday and afterward made his decision, which he gave to the football coaches on Thursday. That was an appropriate time for him to have his mind made up, as the true freshman who are playing this fall took part in an intercollegiate practice with UC Davis that afternoon.
From the outside, this almost looked like a turf war between the football and basketball coaches, but Moore says that is a horribly erroneous perception. "There is this big misconception that I had pressure from the coaches," he says. "But all the pressure came from me, not them. I'm just such a competitor that I had a hard time telling myself to sit out this football season. I mean, it'll be really tough not playing this Saturday. But I came here to play both sports, and to play them both effectively. A lot of people around me were telling me to play, but I made a long term decision."
For now, Moore is fulfilling a very unfamiliar role as a member of the scout team offense. He won't lie to you and say that isn't a letdown of sorts. "I still enjoy playing football, but now you have to pump yourself up a little more before you go out there," he reveals. "Normally the anticipation of the week's game fills you with adrenaline all week."
And in a little more than a month's time, another wrinkle will arise in his daily habits. Stanford Basketball will begin their practices in mid-October, and his schedule will take on a new twist. "I'll go to basketball practice that first day, whenever that is," he explains. "Then I'll do two days each week of football practices, with basketball the rest. I think we have football off on Mondays after games, and Tuesdays are pretty light. If Wednesday and Thursday are the heavy days of football, I would do those and get the most out of them."
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