COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- If there is one word that has been synonymous with Damontre Moore so far this season, it's "consistency."
It's a word that the Texas A&M junior defensive end himself has uttered many times. The same goes for coach Kevin Sumlin when referring to Moore.
The ability that the 6-foot-4, 250-pound defensive end has is unquestioned. Whether he can convert that ability into production week in and week out was the big question for the Rowlett (Texas) High School product. Before this season, he wasn't always consistent. Sumlin and the staff made Moore aware of that, hoping he could see that if he found the elusive consistency he could be a premier player.
While the Aggies are only three games into the season, it appears that Moore has heeded the message. He is tied for third in the nation in sacks (six) and tied for sixth nationally in tackles for loss (eight). He has recorded a sack in each of Texas A&M's first three ballgames.
"Damontre is really growing up," Sumlin said. "He’s been a guy who has always had talent. It gets back to -- and I’m going to keep using this word -- consistency. It’s probably our biggest challenge."
Sumlin and the staff challenged Moore, and one of the biggest differences they've seen is how much he has been on the field. He played for 61 snaps in the season opener and 55 in the second game of the season against SMU.
"He would have never done that last year," Sumlin said. "That’s strength and conditioning, but that’s also mental toughness, too. When you become a mature player, you understand that it’s not all about you."
Defensive coordinator Mark Snyder said he has seen Moore mature before his eyes.
"Damontre’s maturation process -- you can see it," Snyder said. "We do that effort tape and, shoot, Damontre is on there again twice and every other guy is on there once. That’s picked out by the staff. Damontre’s effort has been outstanding. We talked about what was needed and what kind of player he could become. If he would just trust in us and do what we ask him to do, good things will happen."
Moore admitted to not bringing a consistent effort daily in his first two seasons on campus. As a freshman, he backed up Von Miller, who is now with the NFL's Denver Broncos. Knowing that he had a star in front of him, Moore relaxed.
"I was a little complacent, especially my freshman year, I played behind Von," Moore said. "I figured he was in front of me and he got most of the work. I was just being immature and didn’t have my priorities straight."
That mentality has changed this year.
"When Coach Sumlin first got here, he was telling us how much time we have left and I’ve only got two years left," Moore said. "I slacked off enough as it is. Honestly, I just got tired of losing. I’m ready to win and my team is ready to win. We’re just ready to prove people wrong. I think it caused us all to concentrate more. Also, we are in a new league and a new system. All that played a key part in that."
Moore said he also talks to Miller on occasion and to Miller's parents, with whom he grew close through the years.
"I talk to (Von) every now and then when he has a free opportunity," Moore said. "I try not to bother him during the season. I talk to him every so often and I talk more so to his parents on a weekly basis.
"I use [Von’s success] as motivation every day. I’ve been talking to his mom and his dad and they’ve been telling me that they see some of his similar qualities in me, and we’ve gone through some of the same hardships. They are constantly reminding me, ‘This could be you. You could be better. Use this as your motivation and strive to achieve that goal.’ ”
After each game, the kudos and pats on the back have been plenty for Moore, who appears to be practicing what has been preached to him. But even after his latest performance against South Carolina State, when he recorded a team-high six tackles, three tackles for loss and a sack, he noted that it means nothing if he doesn't continue the performances.
"It's not how you start, it's how you finish," Moore said after the 70-14 win. "We'll see at the end of the year if I consistently went through [and did it]."