BATON ROUGE, La. — Going into his fifth year at LSU, J.D. Moore faced a dilemma: He was still here, but his position was not.
Moore started at fullback for the Tigers the past two seasons, but in new offensive coordinator Matt Canada’s offense, a fullback will only be on the field for a handful of short-yardage situations. Moore now is an “F-back,” which is a hybrid tight end and fullback.
“We have a saying — it’s more of a special teams saying, but I’ve adopted it moving from fullback to tight end — be an alligator, not a dinosaur,” Moore said. “The alligators are still around. All the dinosaurs are dead. … It would not behoove me to continue to be a traditional fullback. I’m having fun adapting.”
After two years serving as an extra blocker for Leonard Fournette and Derrius Guice, Moore is poised to get more touches of his own. Those opportunities could come in many different scenarios, because Canada regularly shifts players to confuse defenses.
“We’ve been all over the field,” Moore said. “Split outside the numbers. On the hash. Inside the tackle box. Backfield. All over the place.”
Back to where he started
Moore originally came to LSU as a walk-on tight end before moving to fullback, so he isn’t starting from square one at a new position. In a way, his career is coming full circle.
“If I had to give credit where credit is due, I’d have to go all the way back to Dillon Gordon, Travis Dixon, those guys from my first year [teaching me the position],” Moore said. “Coach [Steve] Ensminger is the same. He hasn’t changed. But Foster [Moreau] is the veteran in that room. He’s worked at it more over the last several years than I have, so I learn a lot from him, whether it’s blocking or route running.”
LSU quarterback Danny Etling said Moore is making rapid progress adapting to the hybrid role, even though an injury limited his ability to run routes in the spring and early summer.
“He’s really come along as far as feeling more comfortable getting in and out of the huddle and knowing where to line up,” Etling said. “And he’s been great in that room as well, to add another leadership position in getting those guys going and how to go about their business.”
New position, same leadership
Moore’s ability to lead by example is a big reason why the team gave two players the honorary No. 18 for the first time this season.
“His leadership — I was talking to one of the coaches after practice watching guys work extra and there was J.D. Moore,” said coach Ed Orgeron. “I was telling him about how far he’s come and how much he means to our football team. Now, he is wearing 18 and very deserving of it.”
Even though his new role gives him a greater chance of scoring his first career touchdown, Moore still takes some pride in being one of the last dinosaurs.
“As I get older and football moves away from the traditional fullback, I’m definitely glad I had a chance to be part of a dying breed,” he said.