Florida’s defense was still looking for their first takeaway of the season against Tennessee when Devin Moore made his first career interception that helped propel for the upset. Moore reflects on the importance of that play, giving credit to the defensive line for creating the opportunity. Moore showcased the energy and ambition of the younger players on the defense. Building on the example set by the older guys, they strive to make the team better and contribute to an improved defense overall.
Here’s what Moore had to say on the big play, the youth on defense, and more.
Q. It sounds like you got pretty sick. Sounded like you were pretty miserable.
DEVIN MOORE: Yeah, I just had a bad case of Strep. It took some time to get over it. Really just with the help of training staff, though, I got over it pretty quick, even though it was a bad case.
Q. To get the first interception of your career on that play, what did you feel the significance of that was in the game?
DEVIN MOORE: So, yeah, it definitely was a big play, I’d say. I definitely got to give credit to the D-line, especially big Des. He kind of caused that play to happen. Just being a DB in general, when your D-line gets a lot of pressure, you don’t have to cover for so long, it definitely helps out a lot.
I was just happy to be a part of a play that changed the game. I felt like they brought a lot of energy. A lot of guys on the sideline, we were celebrating, connecting. I feel like it was a big play in the game.
Q. What goes through your head when it’s floating like that?
DEVIN MOORE: Just try to take all of the ball drills we do in practice, all the work we do with our coaches. When you get it in your hands, wherever you got to go to help.
Q. Did you think it was ever going to come down?
DEVIN MOORE: Yeah, eventually it would come down. It did take a good minute. It kind of reminded me of in high school when I used to do kick return. It eventually came down (smiling).
Q. Did you think you were going to take it to the house?
DEVIN MOORE: Yeah, that was the goal. I might need to spend some time with Coach Juluke and the running backs and individual drills. That was definitely the goal.
Q. A lot of younger guys are playing on defense. What kind of energy are they enthusing into the defense?
DEVIN MOORE: Yeah, so because we have a lot more depth this season, just coming in and doing what the older guys do. They set a good example. We just try and follow that, try and help the team any way we can, just help the defense try to be a better defense, the overall team be a better team.
Q. How cerebral do you think this group is in the fact they’re picking up? True freshmen. Pretty hard to adjust to a scheme.
DEVIN MOORE: Yeah, yeah, yeah. It’s definitely a bit of an adjustment from high school, especially coming to a college of this standard.
With the help of the coaches, the leadership of the older guys, that means a lot. They’ve been through it. They’ve got experience. Spending that extra time in the film room, those extra reps on the practice field, it will help you make up that adjustment real quick.
Q. Coach Armstrong, we hear about his energy, how he changed the practice schedule. What is something that hasn’t been discussed about him?
DEVIN MOORE: The guy he is off the field. I mean, he’s like a best friend off the field. When you got a coach that you can connect to off the field, I would say vibe with, we’re going to play that much harder for a coach that you can really connect to.
I feel like that’s the case with any team or any defense, any unit of the ball, when you got a coach that you can connect to.
Q. Do you hang out in his office? Does he text players?
DEVIN MOORE: Yeah, yeah, we got a good group chat. We’ll be texting, be going back and forth in the group chat every day. He’ll send some funny things. Guys on the team like Shemar will send some funny things. Good vibes in the group chat.
Q. Were you a safety in high school?
DEVIN MOORE: I played safety the first two years of high school.
Q. Then you came to corner. What is the transition like? What does Jordan bring?
DEVIN MOORE: So, yeah, I definitely think playing corner, transitioning to safety, it can be a bit of an adjustment. The coverage skills you gain at corner, kind of being on the island, being a lot of man, I think it definitely helps you a lot at safety.
You got to adjust to open-field tackling a little bit more at safety, coming down. Just having the versatility and experience at both really benefits your game a lot.
Q. Is Jordan very cerebral?
DEVIN MOORE: Yeah, Jordan is very versatile. Covers like a corner, tackles like a safety. You can really line him up anywhere.
Q. Having watched the film, could you imagine what it was like to have Joe Milton to have Des lift him up?
DEVIN MOORE: I can’t even imagine that. The 400-plus pounds Des is, I can’t imagine the impact of all that weight coming down on him.
Q. How many text messages did you have? Do you go through ’em and respond to every single one?
DEVIN MOORE: Yeah, I definitely try to. A lot of those text messages, I take it as support. Very appreciative and thankful that I got people around me that like to see me win, like to see the Gators win and support us.
Yeah, I try and take the time to go through all of those, respond, give thanks, all that.
DEVIN MOORE: Yeah, I can’t really put a number on it. I just try to get around to everybody.
Q. Do you feel like this team’s built to maybe handle success better than it did last year?
DEVIN MOORE: Oh, yeah, for sure. Just in the meetings yesterday, a lot of emphasis was making sure we stay grounded. Last season when we got a bit of success, I feel like it kind of blew our heads up a little bit.
This year we’re putting more emphasis on the approach of, Okay, that happened Saturday, Sunday new week. Let’s get to it. Let’s check the scout, just come out this week ready.
Q. (No microphone.) The play Moore was injured on late in the game against Tennessee.
DEVIN MOORE: Yeah, so on that play there there wasn’t a stack. We had our defense called. I was locked on the point guy. The stem he gave me, I kind of made sure to maintain my leverage, stay outside on it. When I turned into him, I seen the ball, just made sure they couldn’t get to it.
I got up celebrating. In the process of celebrating, my calf cramped up a little bit on me, but…
Q. The time of possession in the first half, you weren’t on the field a lot. The second half it kind of flipped. How much did maybe being fresh in the first half help you in the second half?
DEVIN MOORE: Yeah, so kind of like what I referred to earlier. Definitely having more depth season helps us a lot. Like you say, we weren’t on the field that much in the first half. Second half just being able to rotate guys, there being no dropoff, that definitely helped us. Helped some guys get some rest. Just come out there fresh.
Q. What have you seen from Scooby?
DEVIN MOORE: Scooby this year, he made dramatic improvement this year. He takes a lot more stuff serious. He’s doing those extra hours, all that work. He was last year, too. He kind of got those tips from Ventrell. Ventrell kind of said that stone, all the little things that Ventrell did Scooby does. You can see it show up on the field for sure.
Q. How important is it when the offense holds the ball for minutes and minutes to the defense?
DEVIN MOORE: Yeah, that’s real important. We’re on the sideline constantly going over what we got the previous drives. Just being able to have that time to collectively as a unit just go over those plays, any slipups we had, make sure to correct those, continue to just look at the packets we have on the sidelines to stay focused, what calls we’re going to get. Even it gives the position coaches time to talk and see what they saw, too.
Praising Jordan Castell
Q. How did you see what Jordan did after Ja’Keem gave up that touchdown?
DEVIN MOORE: I think that’s great. I mean, for him being so young, both of them being young guys, for him being so young to just showcase that skill, that leadership, let Ja’Keem know he’s still a great player, we going to get this back. That’s a great trait to have.
That just showcases the standard that the older guys set. It’s a really bright future to see, like, I’m showcasing those talents being so young.
Q. Did you see it?
DEVIN MOORE: I didn’t see it. From what you said, that’s a good trait to have, for sure.
Q. How important is it to keep composure so you don’t get anyone out of a future game?
DEVIN MOORE: Yeah, it’s extremely important. Just having the composure to keep it, just being disciplined enough to be smart in those moments even though the stakes are high and emotions are high, just keep your composure is definitely very important because there’s been, like, other teams in the past losing key guys in moments of high emotions and things like that.
Q. How often do you get mad in a football game?
DEVIN MOORE: Oh, I couldn’t even tell you. Yeah, a bunch of times.
Q. I’m sure it happens a lot.
DEVIN MOORE: Yeah.
Q. (Question about the altercation.)
DEVIN MOORE: I mean, we kind of as a team just trying to tell Micah we got to keep our composure, be smart in those situations. We weren’t trying to boost that up or anything like that.
What are your thoughts on Devin Moore’s interception and the energy it brought to the game? How do you think the younger players on the defense are contributing to the team’s overall performance? And what do you think about Coach Armstrong’s off-field connection with the players and the positive impact it has on their performance? Share your insights and opinions!