ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — Sherrone Moore’s tears streamed down his cheeks and expletives left his lips, passionately supporting suspended coach Jim Harbaugh, in an on-field postgame interview after No. 2 Michigan won its latest game to stay unbeaten.
That was the first time many people probably set eyes on Moore, or perhaps even heard of him as they tuned in to see college football’s soap opera unfold.
Moore is expected to stay in the spotlight.
Harbaugh’s three-game suspension, which he and the school have accepted after putting up a fight for nearly a week, puts Moore in charge the next two times the Wolverines play amid a sign-stealing scandal that has captivated attention for a month.
“All the craziness, all that stuff going on, it’s just brought us closer and closer together,” Moore said earlier this week.
The 37-year-old offensive coordinator will lead Michigan at Maryland on Saturday, when it will have a chance to become college football’s first program with 1,000 wins without Harbaugh permitted to be in the stadium.
Moore, a Kansas native, and former Oklahoma offensive lineman, will also fill in for Harbaugh next week at home against rival and third-ranked Ohio State with Big Ten and College Football Playoff implications.
“When you’re at the top, everybody is always trying to knock you down and you feel like we’ve always got a target on our backs which is great,” said Moore, wearing a “Michigan Vs. Everybody,” T-shirt. “We love it.”
A day before facing the Terrapins, linebackers coach Chris Partridge was fired in the latest wave of turmoil at Michigan. Athletic director Warde Manuel did not say why Partridge had been let go, citing employee privacy laws.
Harbaugh called the Wolverines “America’s team” for continuing to win under the cloud of the scandal.
“If America is with us, let’s go,” Moore said. “If not, tough.
“We’re just going to keep doing what we’re doing.”
Moore has made the most of an opportunity to be the team’s lone offensive coordinator after sharing the role with Matt Weiss, who was fired 10 months ago and is being investigated by the FBI and university police for allegedly accessing computer accounts belonging to other people.
Harbaugh hired Moore away from Central Michigan in 2018 and he coached tight ends for three seasons before leading the offensive line and adding play-calling duties, becoming a rising star in the coaching ranks.
“He’s very passionate,” Michigan defensive tackle Kenneth Grant said. “He’s very intelligent. He’s also a great leader, a players’ coach.”
Moore started his coaching career in 2009 as a graduate assistant at Louisville, where he was later promoted to coach tight ends.
As an offensive guard, he helped Oklahoma win Big 12 titles in 2006 and 2007 and played in BCS bowl games.
He is hoping to help the Wolverines block out distractions on the field in pursuit of a third straight Big Ten championship and their first national title since 1997.
He is also trying to reign in his language after apologizing to his mother and grandmother for shouting expletives in his postgame comments following last week’s win over then-No. 9 Penn State.
Moore is not, however, sorry for how much he loves the players, program and university to anyone who saw and heard what he said on TV.
“I think they saw that,” he said. “It’s real.”
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