By William Qualkinbush.
By William Qualkinbush
Virginia offensive tackle Morgan Moses has a guilty pleasure on the football field. Frankly, it’s something he probably shouldn’t feel too guilty about doing.
“I lace my cleats up sometimes, I go up there, and I run routes with the receivers,” he admitted.
As a 6-foot-6, 325-pound lineman, running with the wideouts is impressive enough. Freakish athleticism is one of the main reasons why Moses should hear his name called early in next year’s NFL Draft. First, however, there is some business he feels the need to deal with in his final season at Virginia.
Moses says his head coach, Mike London, has been a positive influence in his life. One of the factors driving him to succeed in his final season as a Cavalier is the opportunity to help such an influential figure continue the rebuilding process at Virginia.
“He’s a great mentor,” Moses said of London. “He’s like a father away from home. He’s the type of guy you want to run through a wall for. He’s just there for the players. You can knock on his door and talk about anything, and he won’t look at you different, no matter what the circumstances are.”
Moses and his teammates suffered through a disappointing season in 2012, with several heartbreaking defeats. It was a far cry from the late-game heroics that characterized the 2011 season.
Both sets of outcomes are packed with lessons, and Moses says those lessons have helped shape him as he prepares to take his game to the next level. His teammates feel the same way, trusting the head coach to lead them to the promised land.
Trust involves accepting the coaching changes that followed last season’s rough finish. Trust involves buying into new systems on both sides of the football. Trust involves heeding the advice of the coach that convinced them Virginia was a destination where they could set the course of their lives.
“We talk about Coach London preparing us for being great men, not just great football players,” Moses said. “The things that we do in the off-season and during the season for the community, like bone marrow drives and stuff like that, he really preaches to us about things through those. When you play for a guy like that, it just means something.”
Moses has waited his turn, and now he is prepared to take the reins of the offensive line, then the rest of the program. A quiet guy by nature, Moses is also comfortable speaking up to show his younger teammates the ropes.
This is particularly important this season, as more than 60 scholarship football players at Virginia are in their freshman or sophomore years. Moses is one of only six seniors, making his new-found leadership role even more vital to the success of the team.
“Just having that leadership skill, having that trickle down effect to the younger guys, is only going to make us better,” Moses said. “Having that leadership role is helping me as a player and as a person.”