Marcus Moore provides energy to struggling UCLA defense
LOS ANGELES >> It’s not just Marcus Moore’s dreadlocks that have UCLA head coach Jim Mora thinking about former UCLA star Takkarist McKinley when he sees Moore’s No. 95 jersey on the field.
“He reminds me of a young Takk McKinley in terms of energy and intensity and passion,” Mora said of Moore.
Moore is years away from fully realizing the comparison, but the redshirt freshman is starting to show his potential through relentless effort that helps buoy an injury-riddled and inexperienced defensive line.
“What he lacks in experience and lacks in tremendous knowledge of the game at maybe this point in his career, he makes up for in energy,” Mora said. “It’s very, very important to him to play well and contribute to his team’s success, and that becomes infectious.”
Injuries have forced the Crespi alumnus into a starting role the past two games. He responded by tallying 11 combined tackles, the most for a defensive lineman in that span, including two tackles for loss against Oregon in the first extended playing time of his career. He has 4.5 tackles for loss this year, tied for the fourth on the team heading into UCLA’s game at Utah at 6:30 p.m. Friday.
For the first time in a long time, Moore is not the one slowed by injuries. A back injury stemming from high school kept him out last season. He tried to play through it during his senior year, the same way McKinley fought through a shoulder injury for the better part of two years before going to the NFL. Moore couldn’t get treatment before coming to UCLA, then spent all of last year on the sideline. He watched practices out of the corner of his eye while working on individual conditioning with strength coach Sal Alosi.
Finally free from the injury, Moore is relishing […]