The running back position was hotly contested this past off-season for the Hurricanes. Returning starter Frank Gore and sophomore Tyrone Moss were battling for the starting job, although it was clear that they would end up splitting the tailback duties.
Thus, it doesn’t really matter who the starter will be, as both men will see significant playing time this season, assuming they are both healthy.
That being said, I am going to make my case for why Tyrone Moss should be the Hurricanes’ starter. Now this column is not trying to say that Gore is not a capable player, because I think he is a tremendously talented athlete who will help the Hurricanes. However, I will argue reasons why I think Moss would be better suited to start and Gore to be a change of pace off the bench.
The first reason is durability. While Gore is immensely talented, his body is not capable of taking the pounding that comes with being the starting running back each week. In addition, Gore has now had two season-ending knee injuries, and that is a point of concern. Despite what some people are claiming, it is nearly impossible to come back from major knee injuries and be the same player he was before getting hurt. Gore has had two major knee injuries, making his task even tougher because he now has two bad knees. If you don’t believe my point about knee injuries, just ask Jamal Anderson, Garrison Hearst, Terrell Davis and Robert Edwards about coming back from a serious knee injury. While all of these guys tried to come back, ultimately, they were never the same players. I believe that while Gore may try to come back and show he is 100 percent, he will never truly be completely healthy again.
On the other hand, Moss has not had injury problems. He was healthy for every game last season, and when given the opportunity to play, Moss played very well. As a matter of fact, Moss rushed the ball 107 times last season, which was more than Gore has done in the past two seasons.
Maybe I am the only one who noticed, but Gore was not breaking tackles last season like he was his freshman year, when he was completely healthy. I saw the first guy to make contact with Gore knock him down quite often, while the Gore of old would have had those potential tacklers bounce off of him and left them in his dust.
People say that Gore has more experience than Moss, but if you think about that statement, is it really true? Moss played in 11 games last season, averaging almost five yards a carry. Gore only played in five games last season, and none the year before. Gore has not played a full season since his freshman campaign three years ago. So, the experience of Moss versus Gore is pretty much a wash.
Overall, these are two talented players in the backfield for the Hurricanes, but I have to take Moss over Gore because of Gore’s injury-riddled past and the fact that I can’t trust a running back with two bad knees to take the pounding that will be administered throughout the season. Either way, best of luck to both guys and to the Hurricanes this upcoming season.
Darren Grossman can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.