With Nebraska installing a new offense and Barney Cotton attending to all of his other duties as a Nebraska assistant coach, it dawned on him back before spring practice that he probably should be checking on offensive lineman Tyler Moore.
Moore was one of three Husker recruits who graduated early from high school and enrolled at NU in January – joined by quarterback Jamal Turner and defensive tackle Kevin Williams.
So Cotton put everything aside and picked up the phone.
“I called him,” Cotton said, “and I told him, ‘You know what, I owe you an apology. We have been so busy, I feel like I should have been spending a little bit more time with you.’ I go, ‘How are you doing?’ It has to be awfully overwhelming for him and Jamal to go from the high school setting.”
Cotton then rattled off all that becoming a Husker entails – winter conditioning and college courses right off the bat, followed by the transition to spring practice with meetings, treatment, lifting, etc.
“I’m sure it’s kind of overwhelming for a high school kid,” Cotton said.
But by arriving early, Moore is giving himself a better chance to contribute early. Asked if he would have a chance to play right away, Cotton said: “Absolutely.”
“He’s going to get 15 more practices than any other,” Cotton said, “and he’s going to learn more and have a shorter line than anybody will have when they come in for the fall.”
Moore, a 6-foot-6, 300-pounder from Clearwater, Fla., played in the U.S. Army All-Star game and was ranked among the Top 100 prospects nationally by most recruiting services. Cotton also said that Moore has the right makeup to take on the challenge of coming early.
“It’s not for everybody,” Cotton said. “I think Tyler has a personality where he can handle it. He decided a year ago that this is what he wanted to do.
“I’ll bet you 95 percent of high school seniors can’t do this because it’s too hard on them. It’s just too much, and they’re not ready. But he’s a pretty mature kid, and I think you have to have that maturity, otherwise there’s no way you could pull it off.”