Even after a textbook performance in his first college start, Bo Moos is haunted.
He doesn't worry about ghosts, ghouls or goblins though. Teammate Saia Falahola's lingering presence on the depth chart behind him is enough to keep Moos scared out of his mind.
"It's liberating how I played and knowing I have this opportunity, but at the same time I can't go to sleep because I got a guy right now who is behind me who is a legitimate monster," Moos said. "He's a monster. He knows I'm a monster, we know that about each other.
"This whole situation hasn't even budged our friendship. Saia is a great dude and he's one of my best friends out here and I think it's making us both better is what it's doing. I've noticed we've really been pushing each other these last few weeks and that's great."
Moos, a 6-foot, 297 pound junior defensive tackle, played sparsely in his first two seasons in Tempe, recording just four tackles in eight games last season.
"I just think that they expected more out of me," Moos said. "I thought I was playing at a level where I deserved some time but when that happens you just got to try to take it to the next level. And I'm just trying to take it to the next level and go all out every play."
Talent and depth perhaps limited his opportunities until this season, when the academic ineligibility of Will Sutton and injuries to Corey Adams and Toa Tuitea led to more quality practice reps.
Moos took advantage of the situation, ascending to the first-team after a solid reserve showing in the team's first three games.
Ironically enough, his first start came Saturday against Oregon, where Moos' father was the school's athletic director through 2007, when Moos was a senior at Sheldon High School in Eugene.
Despite that relationship, and second-team all-state status, Moos wasn't offered a scholarship by the Ducks and instead ended up in Tempe. That experience left Moos especially pleased with his performance Saturday.
"That was the best game I've ever played man," said Moos, who had three tackles and helped keep Oregon's potent run game in check. "And I can't use that as an excuse because I've got to bring that out every week. It was huge to play that way against the Ducks but I've got to put it behind me now and be focused on what's ahead. I've got to keep bringing my best every day."
Sun Devil coach Dennis Erickson felt he would be getting a solid team guy in Moos when he recruited him out of high school, but admitted to not knowing he'd progress as much as he has.
"He's emerged as a really good player," Erickson said. "Again, he's developed. Two years ago I don't know that I would have saw this but because of his work ethic and the things he's done and how hard he plays he's become a real good football player for us."
Coming off two close losses in a row, in which the Sun Devils perhaps outplayed their competition only to fall short has left Moos and his teammates feeling a wide range of emotions.
"It's frustrating because we want to win," Moos said. "We want to win, so we're not going to accept losses. We look at it as an obvious improvement from last year. We just need to make adjustments in certain areas and get better.
"(Confidence is) very high. Really high. We're confident. We felt like as a defense we played really well on Saturday. We showed that to the country I think as well. Our confidence is still really high, we've got to keep it high. We know the talent we have and we know what we're capable of doing so we've just got to apply certain things in certain areas and go get some wins."
Knapp ahead of schedule
After suffering a MCL sprain in his knee during the first quarter Saturday, junior offensive tackle Dan Knapp wasn't expected to practice until later in the week. Instead, he worked in with the second-team at times Tuesday at his left tackle position, behind red shirt freshman Evan Finkenberg, who moved over from right guard.
"We think he has a chance (to play)," Erickson said of Knapp. "He did more than I thought he was going into practice. He wants to play badly. To me it's a confidence factor with him also. We've got some things done now so Thursday he should be pretty good."
Senior offensive guard Jon Hargis worked in some football-specific drills Tuesday for the first-time since suffering a torn knee ligament during ASU's spring practice schedule and could be close to a return according to his coach.
"We don't really have an idea but we kind of think in the next couple of weeks he'll be ready to go," Erickson said. "He did some football 1-on-1 stuff today. We'll just see how that goes but I think he'll play the last half of the season."