SYRACUSE, N.Y. — One of Adonis Ameen-Moore’s favorite things to do as a kid was ride his bike around his Denver neighborhood.
Ameen-Moore, a Syracuse senior running back, picked the hobby back up this past summer, and said it helped him shed 30 pounds to once again become a factor in a deep Orange backfield.
“I’m from Colorado so I’ve always been a big bicycle guy,” Ameen-Moore said.
“I just rode my bike around the neighborhood and things like that and that was actually a big help for me.”
— Adonis Ameen-Moore
Ameen-Moore ran for a career-high 106 yards on nine carries in last Saturday’s 40-3 victory against Central Michigan. He is the leading rusher for the 2-0 Orange, who play host to Maryland (2-1) at 12:30 p.m. ET Saturday at the Carrier Dome.
Ameen-Moore said he dropped from 260 pounds at the beginning of SU spring ball to 230 at the start of regular season practice on Aug. 1.
“It wasn’t easy for me in the beginning and it really went on into the summer, that’s when it really started to come off more,” said Ameen-Moore, who has tallied team highs of 19 carries and 132 yards to go with a touchdown. “The summer time is what helped me a lot, we had a little more free time and I could actually focus on it a little bit more.”
Ameen-Moore, averaging 6.6 yards per carry, said he changed his eating habits and balanced his meals as opposed to starving for much of the day, which would lead to binge eating at night.
In addition to his bike rides around Syracuse, Ameen-Moore said he logged plenty of hours running and using the stair-master and elliptical machines.
Second-year running backs coach DeAndre Smith said he challenged Ameen-Moore to drop the weight.
“To his credit, he got that down and of course I started to have more confidence in him,” Smith said. “It’s good when you put something out in front of a young man, he accepts the challenge and then he starts to see the results from that.”
Ameen-Moore added: “I was not going to be able to play running back and excel at that weight. Coach [Smith] wanted me at 230 [pounds] and if I wanted to play, that was something I had to prove to him. I was able to do it and I told him I wanted to be a big contributor to this team.”
Ameen-Moore found a role as a sophomore in 2012 as the goal-line back. He showed flashes late in the year when given more playing time and finished the season with 111 yards and five touchdowns on 30 carries.
Last season, Ameen-Moore carried the ball just five times for 26 yards. He was shifted to fullback at the start of the year in a crowded backfield that included Jerome Smith, Prince-Tyson Gulley and promising freshmen George Morris II and Devante MacFarlane.
“When I got here, I really think he was a little defeated,” Smith said. “I think he was discouraged and to be quite honest, there wasn’t really a way at that time to get five guys on the football field. What I saw is, once Jerome [Smith] decided to pursue a professional career, [Ameen-Moore] really took it on upon himself to take advantage of the opportunity.”
Ameen-Moore will again be part of a committee that includes Gulley, Morris II, MacFarlane and freshman Ervin Phillips, who ran the ball nine times for 57 yards in last Saturday’s victory.
But Smith said he doesn’t expect to see Ameen-Moore get lost in the shuffle.
“We got to use him up,” Smith said. “I only got one season with him so I want to try to ride him as long as I can.”
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