Virginia Tech punter Peter Moore, who earned third-team All-ACC honors as a freshman this fall after starring at Calvert Hall, grew up in Davidsonville, Md., as a fan of Ravens punter Sam Koch … and is now working on developing a “golf bag” of punts like Koch.
Moore leads the ACC in yards per punt (45.1). He is tied for the lead in punts of 50-plus yards (23). He has the second-longest punt among ACC punters this year (68 yards, behind 69-yard boot Porter Wilson had for Duke). He is tied for third in the ACC in punts inside the opponents’ 20-yard line (22). Moore was named to The Athletic’s Freshman All-America team earlier this month.
Moore grew up a Red Sox fan because his father is from Boston, but he is a Ravens fan because his grandfather had season tickets to the Ravens and got him invested in the team. Moore started as a soccer player but gave football a try in seventh grade when a friend’s team needed a kicker.
Koch, 39, has been the Ravens’ punter since 2006, playing in 253 of the Ravens’ 254 regular-season games since breaking into the NFL. He is considered an innovator in the punting game, giving Moore someone to look up to as a young punter.
“He’s the best in maybe NFL history at getting the ball away from the returner, forcing fair catches, creating rotations on the ball where the returner almost runs out of the way or muffs the ball or anything like that,” Moore said on Glenn Clark Radio Dec. 15. “So that’s something I’ve been watching — different ways he drops the ball and what kind of rotation he can get from that, just stuff I’ve played around with a little bit.”
Koch’s variety of punts has been referred to as a “golf bag,” meaning Koch has a lot of different ways to contain returners.
Moore is looking to add a few clubs to his golf bag in the coming years.
“It’s something that I’ve been working on,” Moore said. “I have a few different things that I’ve been working on recently the last few weeks that I’ve been adding in that I think can be really, really good to use against … any returner in general. I’m working on it. I think in the next few years I can have a pretty complete golf bag, I guess you could say.”
Moore has been at Virginia Tech for two years, but he only played in one game during the COVID-19-impacted 2020 season, so he’s still considered a freshman. Prior to that, he punted and kicked at Calvert Hall, where his father, Andrew, is a teacher. As a senior, he averaged 43 yards per punt, pinned opponents inside their 20-yard line 17 times, made 10 of 12 field goals and had 30 touchbacks.
Moore chose to attend Virginia Tech because he thought he’d have a chance to play early, which turned out to be the case with four-year Hokies punter Oscar Bradburn graduating after the 2020 season. He also was intrigued by playing in front of 65,000-plus fans at Lane Stadium in one of the premier conferences in the country.
Longtime Virginia Tech head coach Frank Beamer went 238-121-2 from 1987-2015, turning the Hokies into one of the most consistent programs in the country. Justin Fuente succeeded Beamer, going 43-31 from 2016-2021. He was fired with two games remaining this year. The Hokies split their final their final two games but beat Virginia, 29-24, Nov. 27 to clinch a bowl appearance. They’ll face Maryland in the Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium Dec. 29.
New head coach Brent Pry was hired in late November, but interim coach J.C. Price will handle the bowl game. Moore is proud of how his team was able to navigate all the changes throughout the past several weeks.
“It was definitely tough for all of us just staying focused and avoiding the distraction of what was going on and the uncertainty of what was to come,” Moore said. “In those situations you just have to think, ‘What is the common goal here? What are we trying to achieve? Why would we let something like that get in the way of what the team is trying to achieve?’ That was kind of the mindset. It worked out well. We finished strong with winning at Virginia.”
Because of that win, Moore has to chance to face a program with which he is very familiar. The Terps also went 6-6 and clinched a bowl appearance by final their final game of the year. It’ll be Maryland’s first bowl game since 2016.
“I hopped on the phone with a bunch of my friends who play at Maryland and go to Maryland immediately when we found out because I was just pumped up about it,” Moore said. “I’ve grown up watching Maryland football for a while now. I love Maryland. It was one of my top schools, but it didn’t work out in recruiting and now I’m glad we get a chance to play them this year. It’s awesome.”
For more from Moore, listen to the full interview here:
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Virginia Tech Athletics