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In 2002 Moses reported to his first collegiate training camp at a rather twiggy 210 pounds and discovered that he had no idea how to play the run. In high school, teams had run away from him, so taking on pulling guards was a new experience. His mind-set, Moses says, was, "I'm a basketball player, I'm not here to run into some 300-pound guy."
Meanwhile, Stinchcomb had taken a personal interest in the freshman. "He was all over me every day," Moses recalls, wincing at the memory. "I was so glad when he left."
The senior admired the small man's pluck, even as he took pleasure in pile-driving him on a daily basis. "He hated to lose," says Stinchcomb, a second-round draft pick of the New Orleans Saints in 2003. "A lot of guys in that situation would just back down, and that's to his credit."
Moses redshirted during his freshman year, then played his sole season of college hoops, getting a total of six minutes in three games. When Harrick resigned at the end of that season amid an NCAA investigation into academic fraud, Moses took it as a sign that he should concentrate on a single sport.
He got a handful of snaps as a redshirt freshmen--mostly on passing downs: The coaches still didn't trust him against the run. He began the next season as a reserve and ended it as the starter in the Outback Bowl. It was during this time, according to defensive line coach Jon Fabris, that Moses evolved "from a pass rusher into a defensive end."
It all starts with speed, says Fabris. "And Quentin has great speed--great get-off." Once a tackle fears a pass rusher's speed, the coach explains, "he'll start doing things that aren't sound. He'll open his hips too soon. His weight will be too far back." When a hog is "bailing," backpedaling at the snap, "that's when you go from speed to power." That's when Moses knows to go with a bull rush. Some of best pass rushers haven't been the strongest guys, says Fabris, "but they've understood leverage."
Moses understands leverage, just as he grasped that it would be smart to emulate the work ethic of David Pollack, who was a year ahead of him at Georgia and is now with the Cincinnati Bengals. What he lacked in height, the 6'2" Pollack made up for in intensity--an intensity that rubbed off on Moses, who says, "All the years I played with him, game or practice, I never saw him lose two battles in a row."
When Pollack left after the 2004 season, there was no real expectation at Georgia that he could be replaced. But Moses stunned the SEC with 11 1/2 sacks and 20 1/2 tackles for loss in '05. He thought hard about entering the NFL draft, but four factors made the decision easier: 1) The '06 draft was rich in big-name defensive ends; 2) the NFL's draft advisory board projected him as a third-round pick (he now sits at No. 4 on ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper's list of top 25 seniors); 3) he knew he needed another season of polishing: "I missed [making] so many plays," he says. "I could be stronger, faster, quicker"; and 4) Claudette wanted him to stay and get his degree (in recreation and leisure studies).
So Moses came back for another season of tutoring from Fabris ("Complacency is the foundation of failure!"); for another year of Claudette phoning him on Sundays to ensure he will attend services at the New Grove Baptist Church; for another year, Bulldogs fans hope, of finishing atop the SEC.
He still loves basketball, but he doesn't play much these days. It bothers him to see how his skills have eroded, but he's too busy preparing for a career in the sport he has grown to love; too caught up in the latest phase of a journey that brings to mind the Rolling Stones lyric: