By Angel Verdejo
Killeen Daily Herald
BELTON - Just think how good Caleb Moore will be once he learns everything about being a running back.
So far, so good for the true freshman who started his career at Mary Hardin-Baylor as a wide receiver.
Moore made the most of his first start - junior Darius Wilson was suspended against Texas Lutheran - finishing with the second-best single game rushing day in Crusader history.
Though new at the position, the Crusader coaches feel good letting him learn on the job.
"It's all about vision and seeing things, and the more you see, the more you react," UMHB head coach Pete Fredenburg said. "Then you study it the next day after and see it on video and then you walk through it. Just every time, he gets better and better."
Moore finished with 265 yards and three touchdowns on 24 carries in UMHB's 56-17 win over Texas Lutheran. The total trails only Jarvis Thrasher's 324-yard performance in 2007 against Mississippi College.
Named the American Southwest Conference Offensive Player of the Week, Moore has back-to-back games with more than 100 yards rushing.
In addition to Moore's rushing totals, Fredenburg also mentioned Moore's pass-catching ability - he's averaging 23.2 yards per catch on five catches - and him even having a knack for falling forward when he's tackled.
Moore got his chance when UMHB needed to find depth at tailback after junior Stephen Salinas went down due to injury.
"What I saw was people bouncing off of him … so I said, 'Geez, let's give that boy a chance," Fredenburg said.
UMHB pleased with changes to playoff pairing process
For part of the Crusaders' playoff history, first-round postseason matchups were just rematches from conference play.
Or there's Trinity University -
UMHB's first-round opponent four times from 2001-05 and again in 2007.
Geography and travel are factors in helping determine the 32-team Division III playoff bracket, though changes have slowly come.
"Guys deserve an opportunity. Nothing would make me sadder then when we had to turn around and play Hardin-Simmons," Fredenburg said of UMHB's first-round opponent in both 2004 and 2006. "It just seemed like it just wasn't fair for guys that invest so much and then don't get really any benefits from it."
UMHB faces the University of Redlands (Calif.) in the opening round Saturday, the first time these two will meet - the Crusaders have yet to face a team from California. Kickoff is set for noon at Tiger Field.
In helping spark change in the playoff matches and how they are determined, the American Football Coach Association's Division III committee - Fredenburg is the committee chair - put together a survey and sent it to 239 Division III coaches. The committee received roughly 75 percent back.
"We compiled them and there was a real concern about the way the selection process was being handled," Fredenburg said.
Unfamiliar foe means even longer hours for coaches
Playing a school for the first time meant a longer weekend than most for the Crusader coaching staff.
"Some of the guys stayed until 2:30, 3 (Monday) morning," Fredenburg said.
The coaches were back to work hours later breaking down film and scouting Redlands (8-1), which enters the playoffs for the first time since 2007 on a six-game winning streak. The Bulldogs are 0-5 in the postseason.
Redlands offensive coordinator Jim Good is a former coordinator at Texas Lutheran.
"We have a little knowledge of him and what he does. But they're different," Fredenburg said.
The Bulldogs run a spread offense built around quarterback Chad Hurst, who is also the team's leading rusher while only being sacked three times on the year. Hurst has run for 653 yards and 10 scores, and thrown for 1,907 yards and 17 touchdowns.
"He's not as good as Sed - thank God," Fredenburg said of Sed Harris, the dual-threat standout from East Texas Baptist. "Not quite that dynamic. He's just a shifty guy."