“I just think we all have to work hard,” Georgia’s redshirt freshman tailback said. “We have to push each other and compete, and the best man is going to be in there. Whoever is in there is going to get the job done anyway so it doesn’t matter.”
Hardly an electrifying comment considering the competition to be starting tailback probably is the most intriguing of the Bulldogs’ fall camp. Despite competing with two seniors, Moreno is very much in that race it seems.
“There’s no denying that he’s special with the ball in his hands,” offensive coordinator Mike Bobo said. “He’s very competitive. He does not like to lose at anything. He doesn’t like to get tackled. He goes full speed at everything.”
Moreno was the leading rusher in the Bulldogs’ first fall scrimmage, gaining 36 yards on fivecarries in Sanford Stadium on Saturday night. Seniors Thomas Brown and Kregg Lumpkin had only 16 yards combined, but nothing should be read into those numbers, running backs coach Tony Ball said.
Moreno was listed as Scout.com’s No. 9 running back in the country coming out of Middletown South High School, where he became New Jersey’s all-time leading scorer, and he impressed his Georgia coaches and teammates throughout his redshirt season.
“He’s very athletic, explosive,” Ball said. “He’s very intelligent, has good football sense. He has a tremendous personality. He’s very competitive. All those things you want your son to have, he’s got them.”
What Georgia fans want him to have is big-play ability. The Bulldogs have had just one run longer than 50 yards in the Richt era. They had four rushes longer than 25 yards last year, and one of them was by quarterback Matthew Stafford.
Moreno could bring the sizzle back to backfield.
“He’s got that ability, yes,” Ball said. “It’s the package, not only do you have to have the top end speed, but you also have to have the ability to set up blocks, to break tackles, to maintain balance, and he has those things.”
Moreno is noncommittal.
“I think all four (running backs) can be a home run threat,” he said. “I can see (Brown) going for a 90-yard run; I can see Lumpkin going on for a 90-yard run. It just depends on what’s going on up front and defensive wise.”
Moreno’s aw-shucks act doesn’t make it on the playing field, his coaches and teammates say.
“He kind of gets himself psyched up,” Richt said. “He gets the defense a little jacked up sometimes, too.”
Moreno mostly doesn’t know what he’s saying or that he’s saying anything on the field, he said. When his legs move, his mouth does too, and the talk is not disruptive at practice, Richt said. In fact, it’s a good thing for the team.
“He’s got a bounce in his step every day,” Richt said. “He’s ready to compete every day. He enjoys (football). It’s good for us.”
“I wouldn’t call him a wild stallion,” offensive coordinator Mike Bobo said, “but he’s got a lot of energy.”
Moreno’s wild side doesn’t get the best of him, Richt said. His pass protection and ball security skills, areas associated with a hard-nosed discipline, are progressing very well in camp, Bobo said.
Moreno was listed as the third team tailback heading into fall camp, but the running back rotation is constantly in flux and could be all season.
“He’s going to play,” Richt said. “We’ll just see what he does when he gets the ball.”
Big Runs of the Richt Era
Longest run 41 yards, Danny Ware vs. Western Kentucky
Longest TD run 41 yards, Danny Ware vs. Western Kentucky
Longest run 52 yards, Danny Ware vs. Kentucky
Longest TD run 52 yards, Danny Ware vs. Kentucky
Longest run 46 yards, Thomas Brown vs. LSU
Longest TD run 29 yards, Thomas Brown vs. Wisconsin
Longest run 47 yards, Ronnie Powell vs. Tennessee
Longest TD run 29 yards, D.J. Shockley vs. Clemson
Longest run 39 yards, Musa Smith vs. Florida State
Longest TD run 19 yards, Tyson Browning vs. Georgia Tech
Longest run 49 yards, Musa Smith vs. Arkansas State
Longest TD run 49 yards, Musa Smith vs. Arkansas State