UConn has four players at the NFL Combine with Blid Wreh-Wreh Wilson, Sio Moore, Dwayne Gratz and Trevardo Williams all considered serious draft prospects.
More on the other guys this week, but two of the bigger movers up the draft boards are Wreh-Wilson, a corner who has been talked about as high as a first round pick by ESPN's Todd McShay, and linebacker Moore, who had a coming out party at the senior all-star games and is looking as high as a 2-3 round pick.
Here's an interview Moore did at a press availability at the combine. Hat tip to my friend Zac Boyer, Redskins writer for the Fredericksburg (Va.) Freelance- Star in Virginia, who is at the combine.
Can you move outside from playing inside linebacker?
Moore: "Of course, man. I'm played the sam linebacker position, the strongside. [I've] taken on -- you name the block, and I've been able to do that at a pretty good pace. I'm comfortable with how I've played the position of linebacker."Do you feel you're underrated? You're kind of unknown playing in the Big East.
Moore: "I mean, I've always felt like everything I go into, I've got to go into with a chip on my shoulder. You know, I haven't been given a lot. I'd rather earn everything that I do have or I do gain, so you know, when it comes to proving people wrong, I'm used to it."Give me certain examples of how you prove people wrong, and what haven't you had?
Moore: "I haven't had an opportunity, you know? I had to make my own opportunity. I had to make my own way. Even when it comes to getting to college, you know, it was something that I had to decide I wanted to do for me, and I was able to make that happen. You know, but being at UConn, you know, there were many years -- pretty much every year I was there, people counted us out. They didn't think we could play with the best of them. They didn't think we were gonna win. Well, you know, three out of the five years I was there, we went to bowl games. We won Big East championships and we went to the Fiesta Bowl.
We have good players and we have good coaches and good people at our program, and it's a great honor to come out to, you know, the Senior Bowl and the East-West Shrine Game Bowl as well as the combine and showcase that."
Who is it you pattern your game after?
Moore: "I love the game of Von Miller and Daryl Washington -- you know, two guys who really play the game very athletically, and they can play anywhere on the defense as linebackers. They can play on the line, they can pass rush, they can cover, they can play in the box versus the run and they can play the pass game straight up. I like how that game is played. You know, that's something that I want to prove to teams that I can do as well at a high level."
Given how dominant UConn's defense was, do you think that helped you move on to the next level?
Moore: "Yes sir, man. I mean, when you put on the film, one thing that happens is film doesn't lie. You know, I like to play the game disruptive as well as everyone on my defense. We play with an attitude, you know? Like I tell everybody, when I go out and play football, I play pissed off. I play with a passion to win and the passion to give everything I have to my teammates."
Are there a couple teams you've felt comfortable in meeting with since you've been here?
Moore: "I've met with a bunch of teams, and you know, for me, I'm a guy that I think I can do a lot for any team that comes with interest to me. It's not just one team. I've been interviewed by quite a few."
Was there was a defensive coordinator who you really liked talking to when you broke down plays or did a chalk talk?
Moore: "You know, I think for the most part, when we've done the extensive work with going through plays or formations, all the coaches are knowledgeable. I enjoy doing it because, you know, aside from all the interviews, I love to talk ball. I like to get back to football and talk to guys who are smart on it."Has there been a certain situation in an interview where you're doing that?
Moore: "You know, I mean, all of them have their own significant ways, man, and I enjoy the process of getting to know all the coaches and hopefully being able to stick with one."Are you working out at API in Florida?
Moore: "Yes, sir. I'm at API in Pensacola, Fla."
Has that helped working out with other linebackers pushing you through the process?
Moore: "Of course, man. When you work out with other linebackers, the first thing you're going to do is compete and try to make each other better, but alongside, you know you're trying to be better, and at this point in the combine you know you're trying to be better than the next guy. You know, it's a great competition. It's great work."
Who else have you been working out with?
Moore: "You know, I've been working out with A.J. Klein, Jamie Collins, LaRoy Reynolds, Cornelius Washington. We're in a group of those guys which are here now. Arthur Brown. It's a small group of us linebackers there, but we work hard every day."
How important was the Senior Bowl? You showed up mid-week and went out and practiced like you had been there the whole time.
Moore: "Man, you know, I had very little time to really make my case, so the first thing I wanted to do once I got out there was make sure that I showed guys that I'm here and I'm a good ballplayer. I felt like I got overlooked, but I was glad to have the opportunity to come out there and show guys what I'm able to do against the top-tier talent. It was an honor as well as a challenge to really show what I can do."Because you were a late addition, did you have a chance to speak to many teams?
Moore: "It was great, actually, because I met with a lot of the guys the week prior at the East-West, and then when I got there, it was a lot of familiar faces, so I got to meet with a bunch of guys as well. It was like seeing guys all over again."
Do you know if the Broncos were involved?
Moore: "I did meet with the Broncos at the East-West."
Any significance in your first name?
October 23 2010:
Connecticut LB Sio Moore [left] has some words with Louisville's Cameron Graham in the game between the Connecticut Huskies and the Louisville Cardinals at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium in Louisville Kentucky.Moore: "Yes, sir. My full first name is Snorsio. It means ‘God is the greatest,' and Sio means ‘Greatest.' I was born in Liberia. It's a crew name. That's where my family comes from. My named me that. It's a heavy name and a great purpose."
How long have you been here?
Moore: "I came when I was a little less than one year old, so basically … yeah."
Do you still have ties?
Moore: "Yes, sir. A majority of my family is still over in Liberia."
What do they think about football?
Moore: "Oh, they love it now. You know, they've grown to love it throughout the years now, and it's been an amazing experience to see family happy for you and see little cousins there that always want to talk to me about it now. It's cool."
How many guys from UConn are here?
Moore: "There's four of us here."
I guess the question is, if you have all that talent here, why didn't you have a little bit better of a season?
Moore: "I'm scratching my head thinking about it each and every day, man. When you go through the bowl games, you know, you give credit to the teams that are there, but then you look at the teams that we had and what we were doing, it's a very tough situation, but it just shows you how great it is to win because it really is the littlest things that make the difference."
So what went wrong for UConn?
Moore: "You know, I think we had to capitalize and really take effect on all the little things in all three phases of the game -- on defense, on offense and special teams. You know, we could have did a lot of things better. There's times where the defense -- we let up some points when we weren't supposed to."
Shrine Game, Senior Bowl, combine -- it just keeps getting better. What does it mean to you that people are finally getting noticed?
Moore: "For me, I'm glad people are taking notice, but for me, I'm just going back to work. You know, making my statement and proving my point that I am one of the best linebackers in this class, and I can provide a great deal to a ballclub."
You said you can do everything, but if you had to pick scheme and position, what would you pick?
Moore: "I don't -- I feel like I don't need to pick. You know, I'm comfortable playing anywhere on the football field. I had great coaches that were able to teach me the fundamentals and techniques of playing linebacker, and so from there, I feel like I was able to just add to that. And when you add to that, it doesn't matter if it's 3-4 or 4-3, if it's the pass game or the run game -- I'm able to play that at an effective level, and I'm proud of that."