The moving process started nearly a year ago, but Byron Moore might just now be getting a chance to settle in at Tennessee.
The enormous expectations that were supposed to arrive with him last fall? There was a slight problem with the delivery.
The neighborhood in the secondary? It wasn't quite right either.
But with a season with the Vols under his belt, another round of offseason conditioning to get in the kind of shape he needs to be to contribute and new digs at safety, Moore might finally be home as spring football practice rolls along this morning at Haslam Field.
"It was tough just not starting right away, meeting my expectations," Moore, a junior, said. "I always set high expectations for myself and push myself to be the best, so that was difficult. But I just kept coming out to practice and working hard each day, perfecting my craft and getting better at my game. Just kept my head straight and kept chopping at the wood until I can get the playing time that I'm comfortable with.
"Now I feel I'm pretty much settled in at free safety."
Moore technically still can't focus exclusively on that role with the Vols currently designating their safeties as left and right during camp and having them learn both spots.
But simply having the chance to establish a more clearly defined role after struggling to compete for a job at cornerback and showing up 15 pounds overweight last summer appears to have energized Moore. And the first-team reps he's earned early in the spring have offered signs he could be ready to live up to the hype that accompanied his signing out of junior college.
"It takes awhile to find a home until he finds a comfortable place of how to work, get his body right, his speed," UT coach Derek Dooley said. "It took us a while to figure it out, too. But you know what, guys? it's hard your first year. I don't care how old you are. Your first year in
any program is hard. So, I'm glad he has three.
"He's now learning and he's picking up this stuff pretty good. He's an instinctive player and I'm hoping he continues that. We need him. We need him."
The need for help in the secondary isn't really anything new for the Vols, which is why they signed a handful of defensive backs which included Moore a year ago and added four more in the class they landed in February.
The number of bodies figures to promote some heated competition for playing time, which is obviously by design. And that battle will likely carry over into the fall when highly-touted safety LaDarrell McNeil completes his own move to campus to jump in the mix with returners like Brian Randolph and Brent Brewer, who is splitting time there and at linebacker.
And there's also another four-star recruit about a year removed from his own arrival who seems much more prepared for a challenge now.
"When I first got here, I was feeling it more at corner," Moore said. "Now, after going through all the adjustments and everything, I feel more comfortable back there at safety.
"I'm just trying to learn the new defense, pick up the concepts. Everybody in the secondary is just working hard, trying to work together and make sure that we all know what we've got on each different concept and how to play it, match different routes and stuff. I feel like I'm having a pretty good camp, but we just have to keep grinding, working hard and pushing toward our first game."
The Vols still have plenty of time before they will need to worry about playing one. But Moore shouldn't need to spend any of it looking for a home this time.