Size, speed, and power are all physical attributes that define a complete defense. The ones that have them reign supreme in the college football landscape, but it’s schools like Michigan that perfect them as much as they live by them. Seeing a school produce talent at an elite level that transfers directly into the NFL demarks a program that prides itself on getting its athletes to the next level.
Michigan’s notorious defensive ends are a prime example. From Aidan Hutchinson to Mike Morris, the Wolverines have not lagged. Watching the guys before them achieve their dreams and goals only serves as an inspiration for those that will come after them. One such individual is sophomore edge Derrick Moore.
Moore is no stranger to playing in big moments, as the star sophomore appeared in all 14 games his freshman season. Now a year under his belt, he is ready to get after the upcoming 2023 season. Moore joined Jon Jansen on In the Trenches, where he shared what he has been working on, his spring game performance, and what the upcoming season looks like for him.
Spring game takeaways
Jumping immediately into his performance in the spring game, Moore shared what differences he has noticed from last season. “I felt more confident, played more confident,” he said, “My technique was better and I know the system better.”
The key word for Moore was confidence. He highlighted how that was instrumental in his ability to play at the level he is. Confidence for him has led him to be more comfortable in his game and his successes. “I feel way more comfortable now,” he shared, “I have learned a lot from my coaches and from the older players like Mike Mo.”
He has spent a lot of time watching players at the same position, taking away key components of their game to try and implement them into his own. Moore pointed out the different attributes that guys like David Ojabo and Hutchinson have that he hopes to attain as well. “I have learned from them watching their techniques and learned from their mistakes to see how I can feed off them,” he shared.
Moore continued, “I watch all of them differently. Aidan, I watch his get off. If you watch Aidan and you see the way he gets off the ball, he times it out really good. Ojabo, I like how he can dip around,” he said, “Mike Mo can play outside three tech. He is bigger, leaner like me. I like to use different moves that Mike Mo does.”
All of them are powerful athletes that have attained notoriety in Michigan football lore, so it makes sense why the young star gravitates towards them. While he was not yet on the team to play under guys like Hutchinson and Ojabo, the impression and standards that those two left still ring strong in the Michigan locker room.
That has led to moments like in the spring game, where Moore lays out a fellow teammate, but all in the name of growth and fun. “I had to apologize,” he laughed before sharing the play. It wasn’t even his intention he admitted while breaking it down, he wanted to work on bending and dipping. “All I was doing was that, but I knew Tuttle was going to step and run,” he shared, “I had in my head that I was going to aim for the inside peck of the inside lineman and drive him back. Then he was on the ground and Tuttle was there and I tried to go for the ball and it tipped in the air.”
With speed and power his other main focuses this offseason, it was clear to many viewers that whatever Moore was doing was working. But even then he shared some of the things he still wants to improve on. “I want to work on being more explosive off the ball,” he admitted, “Using hands better, dipping and bending. I want to be able to rush both ways.”
Seeking sophomore success
It’s not a surprise that a main storyline this offseason surrounds the depth of the defense across the board. “We are talented everywhere,” he shared, “A lot of guys left last year but I don’t really feel like we lost anybody. We got somebody behind them to step up and I got full confidence in them that they will step up.”
That depth means everything and translates directly into how the Wolverines will achieve their upcoming 2023 goals. Moore then imparted his own goals for this season. “For the upcoming season [my goal] is be better than last year. I don’t want to throw numbers up in the air, I just want to be better. I want to feel more confident in myself.”
He went on, “I hear a lot of people talking about [moving up the depth chart]. I try not to think about it because we have other talented players in that room. I decided to put my head down and be humble and let things come to me as they come.”