The Washington Post

Virginia’s Shawn Moore plays the roles of father and coach at training camp this year

For Shawn and Michael Moore, this has been a training camp full of adjustments.

The Cavaliers’ wide receivers coach the past two seasons, Shawn Moore is now coaching the team’s tight ends, the sort of assignment former quarterbacks don’t often undertake. But perhaps more significantly, he has been reunited with his son, former DeMatha All-Met Mike Moore, a freshman defensive end for Virginia.

The two used to live in the same house when Shawn Moore was an assistant coach at St. Albans, but since he returned to Charlottesville to work under Coach Mike London, father and son have had precious few moments together. On the practice field, though, they still remain separated to a certain extent.

“I got too much on my plate with the tight ends,” Shawn Moore joked when asked if he critiques film of his son. “We don’t interact much on the field. I’ll check on him after practice, see how his day went. When he’s on the field he’s a defensive player and I’m an offensive coach, other than a little trash-talking from me.”

Instead, he has taken on the role of an excited father because Michael Moore looks like he could contribute on the Cavaliers’ defensive line this season. Listed at 6 feet 4 and 265 pounds, Moore has impressed coaches early on. Compared with Virginia’s other freshmen, he came in more prepared — both physically and mentally — to play college football.

“Right now, he’s doing pretty well just based on the conversations from the defensive side of the ball. He’s made an adjustment,” Shawn Moore said. “His football IQ is a lot higher than some of the kids that come in and he’s also bigger and stronger. He has a college body right now. It’s gonna be interesting to see whether he’ll have an impact this year or next year, but right now it looks like he may be a contributor for us this year.”

As for Shawn Moore’s new position group, he has had to adopt an offensive lineman’s mentality in terms of teaching run blocking. Moore’s biggest asset, however, is what he brings to the passing game, particularly in terms of route running and coverage recognition.

The goal is for the numbers produced in Virginia’s spring game – when tight end Jake McGee finished with 81 yards receiving, often lining up in the slot and off the line of scrimmage – to become the norm. Moore was moved to the tight ends in order to get them more involved in the offense. Last year, tight ends Paul Freedman and Colter Phillips combined for just 14 catches all season.

Moore expects Freedman, Phillips, McGee and even junior Jeremiah Mathis to all see the field this year, and claims to have no pecking order at this point since they’re “interchangeable.” But having seniors like Freedman and Phillips has helped make his experiment with the tight ends “an easy transition because they bring a lot to the table already with the experience factor that they have.”

“One of the reasons I moved over, I would love for these guys to be an integral part of the offense,” Moore said.

Mark Giannotto is a Montgomery County native who covers high school sports for The Washington Post. He previously covered Virginia and Virginia Tech football for five years.


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