Bo Moos began his career at Arizona State as a redshirt freshman in 2007, and finished five years with the program in 2011, the length of Dennis Erickson’s tenure in Tempe. A late bloomer, Moos became a steady lineman for the Sun Devils, making 16 starts in 34 games.
Despite lacking the raw athleticism of former position players like Mike Pollak and Paul Fanaika, Moos (6′, 275) entered 2011 as a full-time starter for one of the Pac-12’s most highly anticipated defenses. He became a team captain and was a Pac-12 honorable mention all-conference choice. He collected 56 career tackles, including 8.5 for loss (30 yards), along with two career sacks and a pair of fumble recoveries.
I consider Bo to be the epitome of “one of the guys” and a team player. As he earned playing time, he quickly became a fan favorite in Tempe due to an infectious, personable way about him and a tough, blue collar work ethic.
DHD: You came out of Sheldon High School in Eugene, Oregon. Tell us about how you landed at ASU.
Bo Moos: I grew up in Eugene. When I was a senior, my father had been the Athletic Director at Oregon for twelve years. Although he had resigned from Oregon that November, he still had his position in the office in Eugene until May of the following year. I had actually tripped to Idaho when Coach Erickson was there.
I had actually tripped to Idaho when Coach Erickson was there.
So I had that connection with Oregon, and I pictured myself playing for them since I was young and growing up in Eugene. I remember sitting down with them. They had thoughts about me at fullback, but I was kind of a “tweener” at that point. I had played defensive end and fullback in high school, and had some interest from other schools as a fullback. But Oregon wasn’t sure if I could drop twenty pounds to be a big back or gain twenty to be a defensive tackle. The whole gray shirt thing was discussed but they never officially offered me.
I had actually tripped to Idaho when Dennis Erickson was there. I loved it and was probably headed to Idaho, and then Coach Erickson got the ASU job. He believed I was good enough to play at that level. He offered me a scholarship, and I called in my verbal commitment the following week.
That’s how things unfolded. I’m a Sun Devil, and will always be a Devil.
DHD: What do you attribute to outperforming what maybe many had expected of you. Also looking back, how would you describe yourself as a player?
When it came down to actual Division 1 offers, I had one, Arizona State.
When it came down to actual Division 1 offers, I had one, Arizona State.
Bo Moos: I had a chip on my shoulder from early on. At the end of the day when it came down to actual Division 1 offers, I had one, Arizona State.
It wasn’t easy those first couple years, but I knew that I wanted to play at the highest level and that I could. I really wanted to prove myself in the situation. I had to get bigger. I really had to learn technical tricks and tools in order to be successful. I was a defensive-minded player with a nose for the football, but that only gets you so far. For me it then became all about effort and instincts.
DHD: Let’s talk about the 2011 season.
There was a lot of positive attention around the program going in. Everything seemed aligned with returning talent, the right guys in the right roles. Brock led those final wins in 2010 and proved he had an X factor. But after starting so strong, things came apart. Have you been able to reconcile what happened?
Bo Moos: Let me start by saying that that’s a great group of guys. I’ll have life long friendships with the guys I played with. Dan Knapp most certainly.. Brock (Osweiller), Brock and I hit it off instantly when he enrolled in the spring of my freshman year. We were just at his wedding in the valley. Gerald Munns is a really close friend, James Brooks is one of my closest friends, Jamaar Jarrett as well. Also Aaron Pflugrad, I’ve known Aaron since I was a baby.
Regarding that 2011 season, there’s not a time when we get together that it doesn’t come up. There were very high expectations, and deservedly so. If you look at 2010, you see a team that consisted of a lot of those same guys. That year, you know we lost to Stanford on the last play. We had Oregon beat at home and were kicking their butts on defense, but we had seven turnovers on offense. We lose at Wisconsin by a point. We’re playing some very good teams neck in neck. So you look at 2010 and the momentum we had coming off that overtime win at Arizona with the blocked kicks. It was just unbelievable, and it sent us into the off-season with so much momentum.
We had a lot of top talent including guys like Vontaze Burfict whose proven himself at the next level. We had Omar Bolden who ended up not playing a single snap that season but still went third round in the Draft. We had James Brooks and Brandon Magee who’s obviously proven what he can do.
But setbacks started in the spring when we ended up losing Omar to an ASU career-ending injury. Then James had to leave the program for personal reasons. And then before our first game, Brandon rips his Achilles in camp. He was the vocal leader on defense, just a great leader and overall great dude. Losing him, it hurt a lot. So we had lots of shifting going on in our depth chart. We really weren’t sure if we had a guy who would be a 12-game starter at one of our end positions. We had to work with what we had at that time.
We had some big wins against Missouri and SC and started strong. But what happened in the month of November, I’ll never be able to explain it. Looking back, I don’t think we took as much ownership as we should have in just getting the job done.
Looking back, I don’t think we took as much ownership as we should have in just getting the job done.
Looking back, I don’t think we took as much ownership as we should have in just getting the job done, really doing everything it takes. We got beat many times in the 4th quarter.
After losing that game to U of A at home, it didn’t really matter who we played that next week (in 2011 Cal was ASU’s final game instead of the Territorial Cup). That took so much air out of us. As a senior, not being able to hold onto the Cup leading into graduation, it was the worst. We went from winning such a dramatic one in Tucson the year before. My best friend (James Brooks) blocks two kicks to win that game. It was the best experience I ever had as a football player going into the off-season. Then having it taken away from us at home in November, it really hurt.
DHD: I want to ask you about Will Sutton.
Looking back you made some very bold comments about what Will would become. And this was before he was anything like the Sutton we came to know. He had only started two games his sophomore year, then was ineligible the following year. Yet you were incredibly high on him during that time. What did you see early on that maybe others didn’t?
Bo Moos: Honestly, it was his mechanics. I know that sounds funky. In the beginning of our time at ASU, we were always together. Will and I were both “2’s” in 2009. He was a freshman, and I was a redshirt sophomore. He was my guy, my partner in crime, and I just really admired him as a player.
I point out his mechanics because I now teach Defensive Line (Moos is currently a grad assistant at Idaho under Coach Paul Petrino). I’m always preaching tips, tips, hits, turn your head when you flip them, all the intricacies that make you a better football player. That all came easy to Will because of his mechanics. He could just bend so well, he was like gelatin in the hips. In one-on-ones in practice, he would just dismantle people. His technique was that good. I knew he was going to be dominant.
Back then I was always the run stopper, and Will was always the pass rusher. But he matured to become great at stopping the run. He put those two things together and became explosive. What he did in 2012 and 2013, he’s one of the greatest Sun Devils of all time.
DHD: What was the toughest away-game atmosphere you played in?
Bo Moos: Whenever I get asked this question, I have to say my home town. I played at Georgia, you know 95,000 people. I played at Wisconsin, 87,000. And they were rowdy. But Autzen Stadium with 60,000 people, it’s not even close.
Up in the Northwest, they have nothing else going on. It’s so much louder, on a different level. You can here a pin drop when Oregon’s on offense. And then something squeaks, there’s a little air, and they just explode. You want to say that noise doesn’t get to you, but it does.
DHD: Speaking of a lower capacity stadium and yet, a difficult place to play, what are your thoughts on the changes that are underway at Sun Devil Stadium?
Bo Moos: When I first heard about it, I wasn’t really a fan of the decreased capacity. But as I’ve followed the developments, it’s growing on me. You know, it’s about time that the north end of the stadium got more life to it, just as far as a gathering place. And with the potential football facility out there, I’ve really become a fan. If we can sell that thing out, and with what’s happening with Coach Graham and the program I think we can, it really will be awesome. I’m excited to get down there in the future when it’s all said and done.
DHD: You had worked for the Pac-12 Networks for some time since graduating from ASU. Can you talk about that?
Bo Moos: I got that opportunity and knew I was going to go for it right around the time of my Pro Day. I had told my agent that I wasn’t going to pursue football at the next level because I didn’t want to be a practice squad guy living in four cities in two years and all that. I had always wanted to play college ball and finish on a high note. I did it, and I accomplished it with distinction. Here I was, 22 years-old living in downtown San Francisco taking part in launching a network.
Here I was, 22 years-old living in downtown San Francisco taking part in launching a network.
I was ready to do something new, and I wanted that to be television. I’ve always been extremely passionate about tv and film as my friends will tell you, and probably a lot of my academic advisers from ASU (laughing).
What better way to couple football and television than with the Pac-12 Networks. They were brand new, and I wanted to do everything I could to pursue that. I was very fortunate in that my dad had worked in the conference for a long time. [After 12 years at Oregon, Bill Moos became the AD at Washington State.]
I’ll never forget, I started August 3rd, 2012. We were basically building the studio. Our launch was at the end of the month, and it was thrilling beyond belief. Here I was, 22 years-old, living in downtown San Francisco and taking part in launching a network. I’m hanging with Ronny Lott, Curtis Conway and Rick Neuheisel, whom my dad had known for a long time. I grew to know Coach very well, had Thanksgiving at his place last November. It was exciting.
What came next?
Bo Moos: I had a blast at the Pac-12, but I had this football itch that was starting to overpower me. I was missing that thrill of playing. Then I’ll never forget it, my dear friend and teammate at ASU Gerald Munns called me from Europe where he was playing for the Cologne Falcons in the German Football League. He knew I was involved with the Pac-12 so he wanted my input as to whom he should go after because they were in need of a defensive tackle. And I’m thinking to myself, “Man, this is the time to speak.”
I packed up two huge suitcases. I met up with Munns in LA, we hopped on Air Berlin and we were off to Dusseldorf. So we’re playing in Germany [Bo started 15 games on the defensive line], and not long after our team needed a tight end/ defensive end. I knew just the guy, James Brooks.
Now I look back at it, and I basically spent my 23rd year on that continent with some of my best friends, playing football and traveling. I’m glad I decided to make a run at it because of how everything worked out.
DHD: A couple more questions on the Pac-12.
Any idea on who might be replacing Rick Neuheisel now that he’s headed to SEC Country?
Bo Moos: No idea. Coach got that great opportunity and had to take it. Everyone’s kind of sad that he’s moving on. Coach is a great guy, one of the better guys I’ve ever met. How he is on the air is exactly how he is in person. Yogi is a great friend and mentor.
Yogi is a great friend and mentor.
But they have other solid guys in place. Yogi (Roth) is a great friend and mentor. He was a young coach with Pete Carroll at SC, working as a GA in quality control then with the quarterbacks. He’s a great sole. He’s ambitious and passionate about everything, loves doing the documentary stuff. If he wasn’t in sports, whatever he’d be doing would be good. I’m happy to know him.
Mike Yam is like that great point guard. He knows exactly what to do. He knows the offense inside and out, what play to call, what pace to go. I saw how a professional sports anchor works behind the desk, and I really admire him for that.
It was a fun, energetic, and creative work force at the Pac-12.
DHD: So now here you are now, coaching under Paul Patrino at Idaho. Do you think you’ll pursue tv in the near future, or are you fully locked into coaching?
Bo Moos: Right now I’m fully invested in this program and the game. It is a perfect opportunity to learn under Coach Patrino and his staff. If I ever went back into tv or another area of athletics, I want to know more. I really don’t know if I’ll be a coach forever. This is just a great opportunity to gain more knowledge and re-experience that comradery that comes with the game.
I studied and learned so much on the defensive line at ASU, so I have a lot to share with that position group. I love being back in the football environment, the grind, putting a plan together, all those things.
(Football) is so intricate, so detailed and so vast.
(Football) is so intricate, so detailed and so vast.
DHD: To the casual football fan, talk about how much more there is to learn about the game even after you’ve been where you’ve been.
Bo Moos: It’s a science. It’s so complex and there’s so much that goes into strategic match-ups, formations and personal groupings, and this is just speaking from a defensive scouting perspective. Football is so intricate, so detailed and so vast. If you’re a head coach at the Division 1 level, you know your stuff.
I learned more in my first week in a staff room watching film than I did in five years as a player.
DHD: What should we know about the Vandals in 2015?
Bo Moos: I think we can be very solid. We’re in the Sun Belt, and there’s some teams on the rise. Coach is leading us through a turnaround. We’ve done a wonderful job of improving and being relentless about it. I’m seeing a lot more confidence in players, and we’ve become closer as a group. I’m really excited about this upcoming year.
DHD: So looking at your 2015 schedule, you play USC in week two before ASU plays them in week 4. See what I’m getting at?
Bo Moos: So you want us to rough ‘em up for you? I got it. We’ll see what we can do.
DHD: Bo, are you a DieHard Sun Devil?
Bo Moos: Yes.
DHD: Prove it.
Bo Moos: I became a man in Arizona, was fortunate to do what I love in front of 70,000 people on Saturdays in the fall. For that, I’m forever grateful and appreciative all other Sun Devils. So, am I a DHSD? Die Hard like John McClane baby!
Bo Moos has writing chops. After his senior year, he wrote a cool piece for House of Sparky about the team’s play makers and his observations of the program under Coach Graham just two weeks into the season. Another one worth checking out is his article about meeting teammate and member of his 2007 class, Omar Bolden for the first time.