Jeremiah Moon appears to be making a rather seamless transition from outside linebacker to rush end, and he’s getting help from the players he’s competing with for playing time.
“Of course,” Moon said. “Cece (Jefferson), Jachai (Polite), they’ve been doing it for a while. They’ve been a big help. They’re selfless players and they’re always there for me with whatever I need.”
Moon, Jefferson and Polite are manning a hybrid position in the 3-4 defense — a combination end/outside linebacker. Moon got the OLB side of things pretty much covered having started four games at the position last season. Now, it’s a matter of putting his hand on the ground and picking up the end side of the position.
“Last year, I played off the ball, so coming down on the line is a lot different, but I think I like it better,” Moon said. “I’m able to use my length a little bit more, set the edge and come off the edge more. That’s been the biggest transition.”
To help prepare himself for his new position, where at times he will be lining up against 300-pound offensive tackles, Moon went to work in Nick Savage’s strength and conditioning program in the offseason, packing on almost 20 pounds of muscle. He’s now at 239 pounds, with the plan to be at 242 for the start of the season.
“Coach Savage has been a big help,” he said. “I’ve gained maybe 17 pounds over these six months. He’s just done a great job motivating everybody and getting everybody into shape for this upcoming season. He’s been a big part of it.”
When he wasn’t lifting and running this summer, Moon was working with Jefferson and Polite. The emphasis was on getting off the line quick and using his hands to keep offensive tackles and tight ends from getting into his body.
“That’s been the biggest transition part that I’ve had to learn when it comes to playing the end,” he said. “All throughout summer workouts, I’ve been working with Jachai, Cece. They’ve helped me a lot with using my hands.”
Now that camp has started, Moon is getting hands-on coaching from defensive line coach Sal Sunseri and defensive coordinator Todd Grantham, who made the decision to move Moon to rush end.
“He’s with Coach Grantham most of the time,” Sunseri said. “Todd has done a great job with him. When I watch him play, the kid takes a lot of pride in his effort, being a playmaker, making sure he carries out his assignments.
“Jeremiah has done a heck of a job developing into a pretty dang good football player. He works extremely hard, he has good length, he’s explosive, he’s doing some very, very good things.
“Going through Coach Savage’s program, he’s become stronger, he’s becoming more powerful and he’s a more confident football player right now.”
Moon is still in the early stages of learning his new position, at least the end half of it. So far, the transition has gone smoothly, with Moon seemingly getting more comfortable with each rep, each practice.
“It’s a lot different, but Coach Grantham makes it understandable,” Moon said. “We’ll figure it out.”