Reggie Moore On His Receivers

The wide receiver coach Reggie Moore talked to us this week about his improving group of players, how he sees it stacking up, who's helped himself this spring, and what each needs to work on between now and fall...

We talked to UCLA wide receiver coach Reggie Moore after practice this week.

OK, so before we start, I have to ask … 1988, at Washington. That was a simple post pattern on that game-winning touchdown pass, right?

‘'Yeah. That was probably the biggest play of my little history here at UCLA. You know, it was a special time, had great players on the team. Obviously, a Hall of Fame quarterback. So, it was a very special moment for me, and they don't like me very much up there.''

There had to be something going on behind you, because the safety just went running right by you, in the wrong direction …

‘'What happened, I think they were in a blitz and they left the corner by himself a little bit. So, we saw it, and gave the old signal and away we go …''

Pretty good play …

‘'No, it was a pretty good play and it put us on top for a few weeks and after that we had a decent season.''

So this spring your guys have shown a lot of improvement, grown up in a way, when you look at Nelson Rosario and Randall Carroll, Jerry Johnson … I'm sure your toe is still sore from kicking those guys in the rear so much, but how did that get done?

‘'You know what, it's still a work in progress. But I think, I've been here now going on three years, and Coach (Norm) Chow has been here, and the kids have kind of grown up underneath us and Coach (Rick) Neuheisel. We have high expectations and I think they're starting to understand. A lot of it is maturity. They come in as freshmen and they only had a few seniors to look up to the past few years and those guys were good guys, but a few of these guys had to play real early. No time to just relax and sit back. So, a lot was expected of them. Initially, you want them to deliver right away, but as it goes, you know, they need a little time to grow and mature and make some mistakes on their own.''

What's been the different with Nelson? Obviously, he's turned a corner here; practicing more consistently, competing every play …

‘'I just think he kind of realizes his potential and I still want him to do more, because he has so much talent and I'd hate for him to leave anything on the table. I'm expecting more from him and right now he's a little dinged up, but he has the natural skills, he's a very natural player. He's a good athlete. The main thing for him is getting him to see, you have to work almost twice as hard as the next guy, or you're going to be an average-looking player. Even with that talent, even with all of those physical abilities, if someone with lesser talent out-works you, then it's going to look like they're working harder than you. We're not there yet, but he's kind of turning the corner a little bit.''

At least he has an idea …

‘'Exactly.''

Randall Carroll, same type of deal …

‘'I think the biggest change with him has been realizing that he has some natural gifts, which is speed, using those gifts to his advantage. He comes out, he's been working pretty hard on a regular basis. I'm pleased with his effort. He's improving his pass catching skills and he's learning how to use his abilities, his speed and those kinds of things. And he's still a work in progress, too.''

When you can run like that …

‘'Exactly, and he should be a weapon for us and he should be. But, again, he played as a freshman and he didn't get to play a whole lot. But I think now he realizes he has a chance to play.''

It probably took a while for him to realize that speed wasn't enough at this level …

‘'And you're a freshman. You've got to understand, a lot of guys have the opportunity to come in and redshirt, and that wasn't the case for him. So, it's kind of like he was enjoying himself around and not really knowing that, hey, we need you right now. I think now he's kind of understanding that, I can make something out of this thing.''

So, as the spring is winding down now, if you were to line up your five guys … You've got two, with Nelson and Taylor Embree, and then …

‘'True, I've got two guys that have played and the other honestly are still kind of unproven. You know, some guys have had a chance to make some plays and not really grasped the opportunity, other guys have. I think it's still a work in progress. I'm not sure who my top five are yet, but we have a good idea of who they could be. I think Randall has helped himself and I think he will be in that rotation. Nelson, obviously, and Taylor. Josh Smith unfortunately got hurt. He was showing some flashes beforehand. Jerry Johnson needs to be more consistent. Those guys, we're kind of counting on. Antwon Moutra is a veteran, a reliable kind of guy. It really hasn't cleared itself up totally, so we're going to use the fall and the summer to really determine that.''

Jerry is another guy who has improved this spring. He has much more of a presence now when he's on the field …

‘'Yes, and, again, he's not quite figured it out that you have to be consistent all the time. He's shown flashes here and there, but that's not enough. A lot is expected of a college wide receiver and he has to understand he's got to be a consistency there. I don't think he's quite there yet, but he has the tools to get there, so I'm going to have to keep working on him.''

How about Ricky Marvray? Where does he fit right now?

‘'No doubt. Ricky is special. He's a competitive guy. He's right in the mix. He's a great special teams guy. And when he really figures out what he's doing within the offense, I think he'll be a guy who is going to make some plays. I don't want to leave him out, but with him, as much as anything, it's going to be the mental aspect and once he grasps hold of that, his natural ability is going to come out. That's why we have him here. He's competitive. He's going to get in there and compete and he's going to make some plays for you.''

He's in his first spring, so some of the other guys just a little more advanced there?

‘'As far as kind of understanding concepts, yes. But as far as making plays … he's up there. He's in the top five as far as making plays. That we know. But it's just the mental part that we have to keep bringing along.''

It's a pretty good looking group overall, right now …

‘'Exactly. It's a fairly young bunch – I'm going to have three juniors next year, no seniors, a couple of sophomores, couple redshirt freshmen and freshmen coming in. So, you know, as a whole, I think they're starting to jell a little bit. I think they're starting to enjoy one another, which is key. That's how it was when I was here. We actually enjoyed one another. That makes it a lot better.''

That atmosphere has changed quite a bit the past few years …

‘'Yeah, and hopefully we'll continue to just keep improving. We'll take out chances and hopefully we'll come through.''

So, of the guys we talked about, who can do the most to improve their situation over the summer, when they're working on their own?

‘'I think Randall can continue to improve. Definitely, Ricky. He needs to continue to mentally improve. Nelson and Taylor are sharp. Moutra is a sharp guy. And, Jerry, really needs to make the most out of anybody. And, it's a confidence thing I think with him. He has the ability. He has the size. He has everything he needs. He has to play with confidence and keep trying to make plays.''


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