December 18, 2008

Taking his time

Wednesday, Georgia quarterback Matthew Stafford faced the media to once again discuss his potential jump to the NFL. Thursday, Knowshon Moreno took his turn.

Albeit to a smaller contingent of scribes, the Bulldogs' star running back engaged listeners for a 10-minute interview following Thursday's special team's practice at the Woodruff Practice Facility.

No, Moreno hasn't made up his mind.

But for the first time in recent weeks, the redshirt sophomore offered some thoughts on exactly what he'll be thinking about before he makes his final decision.

"It's definitely a tough decision for anyone. It's really a big jump so right I'm just trying to have fun. I really love being here," Moreno said. "I love just being in a college town, being with these players every day and just having a time. I'd definitely miss that camaraderie."

Like Stafford, the idea that he hasn't accomplished all of his team goals still weighs on his mind. Would it be a factor in his return?

"It could be. We wanted to win the national championship and go to the big game. Obviously we didn't have a chance to do that but definitely coming back and doing that would be awesome," Moreno said. "But I think it really just comes down to what you want to do personally. It's just your gut feeling. You think of a number of things, but it's a tough decision."

Moreno insists his gut isn't telling him to lean either way. And although he knows many fans might not believe him, he insists that he doesn't know and won't even begin making a final decision until sometime after the bowl.

Like teammates Stafford, Asher Allen and Reshad Jones, Moreno recently submitted his papers to the NFL's advisory board for evaluation.

Most draft experts project Moreno to be one of the first running backs taken, a sure-fire first-round pick.

Moreno knows what the experts are saying but said he's not going to rely solely on the opinions of "outsiders" to make up his mind.

Although he has yet to do so, Moreno plans on doing his own personal research.

"When the time comes I'll definitely talk to people who have been in the league, who have been through this whole thing already but I haven't talked to anyone yet," he said. "But I plan on talking to somebody, just to get the feel."

One thing Moreno has learned is that deciding whether or not to turn pro is much different than deciding what college to attend.

"That's definitely different thing. You can't control where you go," he said. "It's a different aspect. This (college) is a business also but obviously it's a little different."

Moreno laughed that backups Richard Samuel and Caleb King wouldn't be the first to know of his decision.

"No, no, no," Moreno said. "But I'm pretty sure they'll know when I decide."

Whatever the decision, Moreno said he's got confidence in the pair to build on what they accomplished in 2008.

He also scoffed at the notion that Samuel and King are not ready to take on an expanded role in the Bulldog backfield.

"Overall I think they did a great job getting in there and making some big runs. I mean, Richard getting in there and being so young, it was definitely good to get that first year under their belt just to get that experience out there," Moreno said. "Next year, I think we'll have a great backfield, and with the line coming back it will be awesome."

Moreno said Samuel has a chance to be something special.

"He really got a handle on things pretty quick, actually faster than I did," Moreno said. "It was impressive that he learned it so quick."

As for King, Moreno said all the redshirt freshman needs is a chance to get into a groove.

Although he played sparingly following the loss to Florida, King still figured as the second-leading rusher behind Moreno with 61 carries for 247 yards.

"(Caleb) has been in there and done some great things for us," Moreno said. "Any back, if you get in that little groove you can get in a comfort zone. I think both do a great job with that. You could see that in a couple of game he got in where he was able to get into a little groove."

But will Moreno be there as well? Stay tuned.

Barring something unforeseen, Moreno is expected to take right up until the Jan. 15 deadline to apply for the 2009 NFL Draft.

One factor to consider: The short life expectancy of a running back in the NFL.

"That will be a factor," Moreno said. "This is a really tough position to play, but that's part of the game. I've just got to make the decision that's best for me."

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