More Evan Moore

Evan Moore is not only a one-of-a-kind wide receiver in college football today, but we also love him because he is a quote machine. The 6'7" redshirt junior talked with us at length recently for our cover story of the Football Preview Issue of The Bootleg Magazine. Moore had so much to say that we feel compelled to share with you a taste of what did not make it into our glossy gal.

Ignoring a few plays in the opener last year and what goes on during the spring, it has been two years since we have really seen you play.  What is different from the Evan Moore we last saw?

"Being under Coach [Walt] Harris – and this goes back to last year in the spring – forced me to work on parts of my game that maybe weren't polished before...  I understand coverages more than I have ever understood them.  It's a product of learning the game more and understanding where to be on the field.  Obviously, Trent [Edwards] has gotten a lot better just since Coach Harris has been here.  With a quarterback who understands, it's easier for me to find different holes in the defense, as well, when a quarterback understands as much as he does.  A lot of it, I have to credit to scheme, and growing technique-wise in the offense.  But they know what they're doing.  The coaches – they really do."

Can you elaborate on the role you play in your 'X' position in this receiving offense, different from what Mark Bradford does as the 'Z'?

"The X is usually to the boundary – to the closed side of the field.  So if the ball is middle of the field over to the left hash, I'll be on the left side unless it's some kind of flip formation.  Mark is usually to the open side of the field.  So usually your X receiver is going to be a little bit bigger, and I'm a little bit bigger than Mark.  You have less space to work with, which doesn't cost the X receiver because he is a bigger receiver who can make plays with guys surrounding him.  It will get frustrating sometimes because it seems like there are guys everywhere when I'm running my route, but that's just the way it is.  I don't think it's going to stop me, though, to be honest."

"Mark as a Z is to the tight end side, to the strength of the formation.  He's off the ball.  He usually has a lot of field to work with.  A lot of times – take this for what it is, don't read into it too much – but a lot of times the play is actually called for a Z.  For instance a play would be 'Z poster'.  The Z is running a post, and I know my route based on that play.  While that could seem frustrating, with a lot of plays for the Z – 'Z something' and the X knows what he should be doing – it's not necessarily that this ball is going to Z.  If the coverage is a certain one, the Z can't get the ball.  A lot of Coach Harris' top receivers that he has coached have played Z, with the exception of Antonio Bryant.  He played X when he won the Biletnikoff.  There's less space and different kinds of routes.  I kind of like it, to be honest.  If you look at it from the outside in, you might think it would be a little frustrating at times, but I actually kind of like it."

We always hear about the watching of Larry Fitzgerald tape.  Have you watched any Antonio Bryant film with Walt Harris to see the best of what that X position can be?

"You know, I haven't.  Mainly because Coach Harris has really changed patterns and plays over the years that he has been coaching.  If we went back and looked at Pitt tape of six years ago, I don't know how similar it would be to what we are doing right now.  There are some standard plays, but he really likes to learn.  He's always asking people for new plays.  He's always throwing in new plays that he's never had before.  As far as watching his former players, we have watched Larry Fitzgerald tape.  He pretty much catches everything, so you watch the way he watches the ball in.  I don't know how similar it would be."

Trent Edwards mentioned that you are doing some stuff inside now and in the slot.  What can you do within the offense when you move from the X to that position?

"That is like a flip formation.  We have a right formation where Mark is the Z on the strength side and I just flip over – I'll come from my side and mentally tell myself that I'm flipped, in the slot next to Mark.  Again, a lot of times the play is called for the Z.  But being in the slot, your route is based on the coverage.  I see it as a great opportunity because no matter what they throw at you, we have an answer to get open.  60% of the defenses are going to tell Trent in his mind, 'I can't throw to Mark because of the coverage.'  That's off-limits right away, so I'm the second look.  I become the primary, actually.  There are some big plays that can be made out of the slot.  There are actually plays called out of the slot, where I have a lot of options of which way I want to go.  There are going to be a lot of completions coming out of the slot formation this year, I believe."

Trent said that he sees you running the 'post corner' the best he has ever seen.  What do you think about that?

"It's called a 'shake' route.  It's a quick post, then you go for about three steps and you cut back to the corner.  I think everybody knows what a post corner is.  We have kind of changed it up a little bit technique-wise, trying to get the corner to turn his hips a certain way.  It's something that I have worked on, and I think it's working.  It's hard to guard if you do it the right way.  It's something that takes a lot of work, too, because you're running full speed one direction, stab your left foot into the ground, and turn and run the other direction.  That's hard to do sometimes.  But I think that route, since Trent is feeling more comfortable with it now, could be more deadly."

I remember talking with you last year during training camp.  You said that you had very high goals for yourself, though you didn't want to share them.  How high is the sky for you this year?

"It kind of hit me when I was training back at home this June.  As you said, there is a sense of urgency, even though this is not my final year.  This is not hinting at anything for next year, but I am approaching this as if it is my final year just because of the three of us and the rest of the guys on the offense with how hard we have worked over the last three years...  After this year, we lose a lot of guys. I'm not saying we don't have anybody to step up, but we lose a lot of guys and the expectations are so high this year.  We have the new stadium going up.  We can't let people down.  This is the year."

"I had a year like this my senior year of high school basketball.  This is the year where people aren't talking about next year because it's this year.  You don't hear people say, 'They could be good this year, but wait until the year after.'  That's not the case now.  This is next year: this year.  As far as the sky being the limit, my goals are still the same, if not loftier.  I know what I can do.  I don't like to throw out numbers because that just gives people something to do say, 'I told you so.'"

"Also, this comes with respect for Mark...  You can't have two receivers with 18 touchdowns.  That's not going to happen.  That's a lot of touchdowns [laughs].  I know Mark is going to play well this year.  He deserves it, so for me to sit here and say that I'm going to take everything or that I'm going to score all the touchdowns, that would be unfair to Mark.  But it is exciting to think about the tandem that we have and what we can do, though."

"It's going to be something pretty impressive.  We know what we've done and what we can do.  I know it sounds clichéd, but we've been at it a long time.  Me and Mark have been starting since our sophomore years."

"That's the way I feel about it.  5-6 – there were a lot of close games last year.  Well, I couldn't care less about losing by three points.  I said this two years ago: losing by three or losing by 30, what's the difference?  We lost.  5-6 is 5-6.  I know the fans and everyone else sees it like that, too.  Everyone already forgot that we lost to UCLA by three points.  People just say, 'Oh they're just 5-6.'  Oregon's fans probably haven't even thought twice about us yet because we were 5-6 and they killed us here last year.  It's just making a point and changing things around here.  The direction that this offense goes this year could really change things here.  It could also make things way worse if we don't put it together like we know we can put it together.  It could make things very difficult."

You talk about this year as a chance to prove something.  Trent came in as the number one quarterback in the country.  You came in with hoopla; Mark came in with hoopla.  And the offense at Stanford has been statistically terrible the entire time of your careers - for all three of you.  You have to have talked about that.  All three of you believe in your talent, yet you know that you've been at the bottom of the Pac-10 and the bottom of college football in the offense every year you've been here...

"We know that.  To our defense, sophomore year we were a little inexperienced and didn't have everything in place.  Last year we had some key injuries, and I know a lot of teams do, but we're not as deep as a lot of teams – just to be plain.  We have paid our dues with all the inexperience and all the injuries and stuff.  We're done with that.  It's time to move forward, keep our main guys healthy and just play.  The confidence is there.  The expectations that we have for ourselves are there.  Going up to the Oregon game, I don't see it like, 'Let's see what we can do this season.'  I'm not going to disrespect them because they're a good team, but I look at Oregon as our opening game and just one stepping stone to our goal. That's what it is. Oregon doesn't intimidate us in the least bit. We know what we're going up against."

How does the component of having poor offensive success here your previous years, for whatever reason, play into the urgency and hunger coming into this season?  Is there almost shame or embarrassment or anger over the kinds of offensive numbers that you guys have been associated with, and you guys have to prove that you are elite and talented?

"The three of us have been told that we're good.  We have been told that the potential is unbelievable, but to me, all that potential is is something we haven't done yet.  Like when people say they have a lot of upside.  All that means is that we haven't done anything yet.  We've been told that we're good.  It's been written about that we're good.  But I think all of us know that deep down, hold on, what have we done to show that?  In our minds, it's not even validated yet.  I'm a big guy who can move.  Mark is quick.  Trent has a great arm.  But what have we done to show that?  I'm not saying it's a decision that we made and slacked.  It's certain circumstances and a situation where we haven't been able to succeed yet.  It will validate our own opinion of how it should be."

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