August 21, 2012
Aerial focus turns to Moore
The only time you'll see the name "Justin Blackmon" around the Oklahoma State campus from now on is in two places-Heritage Hall and the school record books.
The high-flying, fade-catching, crowd-exciting receiver is gone, and he took his 252 receptions, 3,564 yards and 40 touchdowns with him.
It's a fact of life that every college coach gets coldly reminded of every offseason. The ideas of graduation and the NFL probably haunt the coaches in their dreams like some faceless demon who simply enjoys wreaking havoc on their finished product.
This year, it was Blackmon for OSU coach Mike Gundy, so the search has begun for a new go-to guy.
Time after time, both Gundy and offensive coordinator Todd Monken have said that you can't replace Blackmon with just one player. That it's impossible, and they're right. It's extremely likely there's no two-time Biletnikoff Award winner practicing in Stillwater right now, but it doesn't mean they aren't trying.
Enter Tracy Moore, a senior who has waited for his chance since graduating from Union High School in Tulsa in 2009.
"When you don't catch the ball that much because you have a superstar next to you, it's not that much fun to play receiver," Moore said with a laugh after Saturday's practice. "I love the role of blocking, but when you get the ball and show some of your strengths and your hard work you put in, the game gets more fun."
With his body language evident to the other players and coaches, Moore has gotten a good start to camp when he compares them to other starts. Often battling weight issues, the senior has eased his way into the season in the past, but is taking steps to make sure those days are behind him.
"I'd have to compare this preseason to my freshman year," he said. "I came in and did a lot better than I thought I was going to do. I was overweight that year, but came in and earned my spot."
This year, the receiver said he's all-in and doesn't want to leave any doubt about it.
"This year I came in with a different mentality," said Moore. "I came in to work. It's all business and no play."
"I've even been asleep at nine every night during this camp."
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