Florida’s Meyer had hand in Appalachian success
BOONE, N.C. (AP) - Jerry Moore was struggling at Appalachian State in 2003 and concerned his job was in jeopardy when the football junkie kept watching Utah pile up points late at night on Saturdays with this spread offense perfected by Urban Meyer.
Moore, in his mid 60s and firmly entrenched with the I-formation from his time working under Tom Osborne, decided to make a dramatic change.
Seven years later, after three national championships, a monumental upset of Michigan and six straight Southern Conference titles, Moore’s Mountaineers (9-1) are ranked No. 2 in both Football Championship Subdivision polls and an offensive juggernaut.
Moore and Meyer have become friends, but Moore chuckled this week when he thought back to when he decided to embrace a foreign offense of no-huddle, shotgun snaps, multiple receivers and mobile quarterbacks.
“My whole background was I-formation. We were always under the center,” Moore said. “When I saw what they were doing, it was a great combination for what I liked as far as running the ball and throwing the ball.”
Moore also went to West Virginia to talk to then-coach Rich Rodriguez’s staff about the offense. After only modest success in his first year using it in 2004 _ 6-5 with no playoff berth and no ensuing contract extension _ Moore finally ran into Meyer at an offseason banquet.
“I said, ‘I know everybody asks you about (quarterback Alex) Smith, but I want to know about your right guard. Urban kind of smiled and I knew I may have hit a key note right there with him.”
“When he went to Florida I said, ‘Oh man, this is perfect,’” Moore said. “I’ve been down there the three previous years. I think our relationship has grown pretty significantly. We were together at the ESPY awards.”
And soon Moore’s offense starting clicking in ways he never could have imagined.