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August 27, 2010Being underrated is nothing new to Bo Moos.
Growing up in the football-rich landscape of Eugene, Ore., the Arizona State junior defensive tackle always had his sights set on playing in his own backyard.
"I thought I was going to be a Duck," Moos said of his aspirations to play for Oregon. "I wanted to be a Duck growing up, definitely."
And Moos had more at stake spurring his desire to attend the hometown school than most local hopefuls. Moos' father, Bill Moos, was the athletic director at Oregon for 12 years.
It made the snub that much tougher to swallow.
"I was kind of heartbroken because [Oregon] didn't offer me," Moos said. "I think them not offering me led to a lot of other schools not offering me. They said, 'Oh, well his dad is the [athletic director] there and they won't even offer him.'"
One coach, though, did think highly of Moos. When the then high school senior took a recruiting trip to Idaho in 2006, it was then-Vandals coach Dennis Erickson who told Moos he felt the defensive tackle had the skills to play at the Division-I level.
"Coach [Erickson] was at [Idaho], and he was surprised I didn't have more offers," Moos recalled. "Thankfully he showed up late in the recruiting process. That was a huge. I'm a Sun Devil now, through and through."
It's been a slow process, but Moos is beginning to show consistent glimpses of the potential his head coach saw in the lightly recruited player four years ago.
"Bo has been a great player for us," Erickson said. "He's very solid against the run and he doesn't make mistakes. He holds the point real well and he makes plays."
Moos, currently on the second unit backing up senior Saia Falahola, is a load to block with his 300 pounds supported by a 6-foot frame that keeps him low to the ground, prime real-estate leverage for a defensive lineman.
Though he put up pedestrian numbers in 2009 -- four tackles in eight games played -- Erickson said Moos' contributions can't be measured solely in the stat sheets.
"More than anything, he kind of opens up space for those linebackers to play," Erickson said. "He holds the point and lets the linebackers run to the ball and make plays. He's been in the program four years now, and he's one of the guys that's gotten bigger and stronger."
Moos said he entered spring practice practice back in April with a renewed energy, anxious to strengthen his contribution along the defensive front. With recent injuries to defensive tackles Corey Adams and William Sutton, Moos' presence at the position is more of a necessity than ever.
It's a charge he's not taking lightly. In addition to opening up space for ASU's speedy linebacker corps, Moos said he is looking to diversify his game in other ways.
"My main thing is to be able to establish myself in the pass rush game," he said. "I want to show that I am able to surprise people on that side of things. That's going to be big for me. These first two games for me are going to be big, just going out there and trying to make plays."
Deep at QB
While Erickson may have lost some sleep during camp with the decision of which quarterback in front of him, the overall depth at the position is allowing the 63-year-old coach to rest easy.
Erickson had high praise for the stable of quarterbacks on the ASU roster, saying that, collectively, the ASU signal-callers "might be as good as I've ever had."
"We have three older guys that can play, they can all play," Erickson said. "I'd be confident putting any of those kids in."
Erickson also sees a bright young prospect at the position.
"[Freshman] Taylor Kelly, to me, has a huge future," the coach said. "From what I've seen and what I saw on tape and even backed up more by what he's done in a short period of time."
Sophomore defensive tackle Corey Adams missed Thursday's practice and will have what Erickson said is likely a torn meniscus scoped on Friday.
"The doctors are scoping him tomorrow and they think it could be like a two-week deal," Erickson said.
Junior offensive tackle Dan Knapp also missed practice with a sore throat.