October 2, 2008

Moore pumped for shot at Crabtree

Kansas State cornerback Joshua Moore says all the right things. The sophomore isn't one to provide his opponents with scraps of paper to hang on their bulletin boards. He contends that, as a football player, every week is the same: watching film and preparing a game plan for the weekend's opponent. This week is just a bit different, however, as Moore is viewing Saturday's game with Texas Tech as a proving ground, not only for the Wildcats' defense as a whole, but for the man in the No. 4 jersey individually.

"Everybody is ready to see me go against (Texas Tech wide receiver) Michael Crabtree," Moore said. "I'm wearing No. 4, so I'm going to have to show I can stack up in the shoes of Terence Newman. I like that role. It's a lot of pressure on me, especially this week. But you know what? I like that pressure."

The stakes for Moore are high indeed, as Newman himself would have his hands full against the man many believe is the nation's premiere receiver. The 163 catches, 2,419 yards and 28 touchdowns Crabtree has racked up over his time at Texas Tech, which has spanned just 17 games, say it all, but his career average of 9.5 catches and 142.2 yards per game are the numbers Moore and the Wildcats are most concerned with.

Are the statistics imposing? Sure. But ask any one of Moore's teammates if he's capable of holding college football's most touted receiver under his average, and they'll look at you like you asked them if Manute Bol is tall.

"I think (Moore) is a total shutdown corner," said K-State safety Courtney Herndon, who, along with the team's other safeties, will be called on to give Moore some help with his assignment over the top. "I know his potential. I saw him come out of high school shutting down people, and I know what he can do. If he can shut down (Crabtree), he can shut down anybody."

Moore's coaches and teammates may contend the K-State sophomore has the potential to be an All-Big 12 cornerback, but, as much as it may pain Wildcat fans to hear it: potential means next to nothing on Saturdays.

Now, it's come time for Moore to prove it.

"I expect top hold him down, but not just him, every receiver I face," Moore said. "When it's my job to hold a guy down, I'm going to do."

That's a bold statement. The defensive back's confident words aren't without at least some backing, however, as Crabtree won't be the first elite-level wideout the Wildcat corner has had the chance to mix it up with.

"In high school, down at camp, I covered the best receivers down there," Moore said. "I covered guys that played at Florida State and Miami. I even covered (University of Florida wide receiver) Percy Harvin. Only the elite players went to that camp. I did some work against them."

Then there's former Texas Longhorn and current Pittsburg Steeler Limas Sweed, who Moore drew the unenviable task of covering during K-State's win over Texas in 2006.

Moore, a true freshman at the time, was nothing short of brilliant against the two-time All-Big 12 selection, holding him to just three catches for 57 yards. And while most fans would be ecstatic if Moore finds away roll out a similar smothering performance against Crabtree, the sophomore is setting the bar a little higher this time.

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