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Oklahoma State football: Tracy Moore walking fine line between leader and knucklehead

OSU FOOTBALL — Wide receiver Tracy Moore has more than shown he's capable of being a leader on the field. What remains to be seen is how he can carry himself off the field.
BY GINA MIZELL, Staff Writer, Published: September 14, 2012

Monken said he understands Moore's desire to go out and have fun as a football player in a small college town. But if Moore wants to be viewed as a complete leader, then he needs to tweak his personal life.

“If you want to be something different, then you've got to change,” Monken said. “That's all of us. That's not just him. So if he really wants to be that, then show it. The guys will respond.

“The first part to leading is you've got to be a good player…Now it's like, ‘What else can I do that they really think I'm all there? That I'm not part-time there?'”

Moore has been trying to make those changes during the past two-plus weeks.

He said he's spent the majority of his free time playing video games with teammates or chatting on the porch with his neighbors. He attempted to ignore the hate mail he received on Twitter, then got emotional during the Cowboys' pregame prayer ring at Arizona.

“I busted out a couple tears,” Moore said. “Because I didn't know if I was ever going to get to play in another stadium again or anything like that. I didn't know what was going to happen. It was definitely a wake-up call, and it hurts to watch.”

Gundy said he has not put any additional restrictions on Moore, other than the team-wide curfews on Thursday and Friday nights on game weeks. Moore needs to make the choice to stay out of situations that could get him in trouble, Gundy said, and realize the next incident will likely have serious repercussions.

“A lot of people don't agree with that, but that's just the way we do it around here,” Gundy said. “He has to make good decisions.”

Gundy and Monken both said they ultimately believe Moore is a good person, stressing that he wouldn't still be part of the program if he wasn't. But they also recognize he still has a lot of room to grow.

“Does he qualify in a lot of areas that we as parents would want him to? No,” Gundy said. “Does he qualify to help us lead out here on the football field? Yes. That doesn't make him a well-rounded leader.

“Hopefully, that'll help him in the long run in the other areas, but he should help us out here leading our football team.”

Moore knows the only way he'll prove he can be relied on for the rest of the season is by staying out of trouble and staying on the field. Perhaps, along the way, he'll develop into one of the Cowboys' leaders, both statistically and in the locker room.

And he hopes that by the end of his OSU career, he has repaired his reputation.

“I feel like this season is going to help my image a lot,” Moore said. “Just taking it game by game, staying out of trouble and playing hard. Staying at home and playing those video games.”