When hurdler Jordan Moore transferred into the LSU track and field program from TCU a little more than a year ago, Dennis Shaver knew exactly what his team was getting.
Shaver, who heavily recruited Moore as one of the nation’s top prep hurdlers in 2012, also knew he was going to have to be patient considering the Atlanta native had completed his third football season at TCU just days earlier.
It was going to take time because Moore hadn’t done much track-specific training, even though he swept the Big 12 indoor and outdoor hurdles titles for the Horned Frogs as a redshirt freshman in 2014.
The problem? The 6-foot-3, 227-pound Moore was too bulked-up and closer to being a wide receiver than being one of the nation’s top hurdlers.
“I had to drop about 10 pounds and trim down some,” Moore said this week. “I needed to lose a little of the bulk to help with my explosiveness. Coach Shaver used to tell me that I was ‘freakishly strong.’ ”
“It was a great football weight,” Shaver said, “but he was a little overweight (for track).”
For that reason, Shaver had Moore take it easy with his initial indoor training sessions and gradually increased the volume of his workouts when the outdoor season began in March.
“I didn’t know what to expect,” Moore said. “It was a pretty big adjustment for me just because of the simple fact that I had just played in a bowl game. I pretty much had to change my whole life in a matter of a few days.”
Things eventually worked out well when Moore finished fourth at the SEC indoor championships in the 60-meter hurdles, then placed third in the 110 hurdles at the league’s outdoor meet.
Later, he advanced to the semifinals of the NCAA outdoor championships and became the school’s No. 2 all-time performer in the 110 hurdles with a time of 13.47 seconds.
Now fully dedicated to his second sport, Moore, who still thinks about returning to football at some point, spent the entire fall training for track.
The time put in is already paying off for third-ranked LSU, which will compete Friday and Saturday at the SEC championships in Fayetteville, Arkansas.
The meet will be a tuneup for Shaver’s team as it looks to get a little better position for what it hopes is a team title run at the NCAA meet in two weeks.
This weekend, Moore will be one of the favorites to take the 60 hurdles title with a seasonal best of 7.69 seconds — which has him tied for second in the nation and SEC after recording a best of 7.80 last season.
Like his outdoor time, his indoor time this season ranks him only behind former LSU All-American Barrett Nugent, who has a time of 7.55, on the school’s all-time performance list.
Obviously, he’s well ahead of where he was at this time a year ago.
“Jordan had been in football and they typically taper down at the end of the season, where track is doing some high-volume work in January,” Shaver said. “That’s where injuries happen. He’s such a great competitor, he wanted to go hard from the start. But we held him back a little so he wouldn’t get injured.”
“My expectations were high, but I had to make the adjustment — mentally and physically,” Moore said. “But coach Shaver worked with me a lot training-wise and tapered things down a little for me.”
While the plan worked to perfection, there was no holding back when practice started in September and his training in the fall was extremely beneficial for his junior season, Shaver said.
“Jordan has come a long way, and the main thing is this year he’s turning in consistent performances at a high level,” he said.
“I’m prepared for it,” Moore said of possibly adding an SEC title to the one he won in the Big 12. “I’m not going to put the cart before the horse, but I’m in the best shape I can be preparation-wise.”
Follow Sheldon Mickles on Twitter, @MicklesAdvocate.