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On and off the field with Bubba Moses
Itâ€™s turned out to be a thrilling October for University of Oklahoma tight end James â€śBubbaâ€ť Moses.
His team stumbled from the gate this season due to lack of offense and mistakes committed by a lineup loaded with rookies and second-year players. Through the first quarter of the season, all seemed lost when Mosesâ€™ favorite team lost two-thirds of its games and found itself near the bottom of its division.
But the youngsters improved, the scoring picked up, the teamâ€™s confidence soared, and the Houston Astros made a near-miraculous recovery to make the playoffs.
â€śIâ€™m very happy,â€ť Moses said with a wide smile. â€śThis put the Astros back on the map, Houston back on the map.â€ť
The graduate of North Shore High School in Houston was a baseball player who pitched and played first base and right field until tearing a rotator cuff during his sophomore year. Coaches steered him toward football after that, and before long, it became Mosesâ€™ new best and favorite sport.
Moses hopes his Sooners can emulate the Astros by turning a sluggish start into a strong finish. Relying on many newcomers and former reserve players, OU started 1-2 before gaining a psychological lift from its 43-21 home victory over Kansas State on Oct. 1. The senior tight end called that game â€śa big relief.â€ť
â€śWe went out and handled business as a team, as weâ€™re supposed to,â€ť he said after a Texas week practice. â€śIt built confidence and got us going for this upcoming game.â€ť
Moses brings much-needed experience to the Soonersâ€™ offense. The fifth-year senior entered OU-Texas weekend with 44 games played, and he started all but two games over the past two seasons. He has two conference championship rings, including one from 2004, when he made 17 catches for 151 yards and two touchdowns.
But on most downs, Moses is needed for his blocking ability. Heâ€™s an especially effective blocker in short-yardage situations.
OU fans can thank a pair of Jonathans for his arrival in Norman â€” high school and college teammate Jonathan Jackson, and, more importantly, former OU tight ends coach Jonathan Hayes.
â€śWhen he came to recruit me, I liked his presence,â€ť Moses recalled. â€śI liked how he carried himself, not only as a coach, but as a black male. It attracted me to come here.â€ť
Moses has even greater twofold respect for his father, James Moses Jr. As a mentor, the older Moses advised his son and pushed him to be better, but also gave him room to be himself and learn from his own mistakes.
On the field, Moses Jr. taught not only his son about football, but also his younger brother and Bubba Mosesâ€™ uncle, Albert Moses, who went on to play professionally for the Houston Oilers at linebacker.
â€śMy dad knew the game,â€ť Moses said proudly.
Dadâ€™s best advice: keep your nose clean.
â€śI talk to my dad before every game and after every game,â€ť Moses said. â€śHe just tells me what I can improve on, what to do when I block, even how I ran my routes. My dad has been the biggest factor on my life.â€ť
Moses said playing at OU is a great experience. The biggest challenge is blocking out the opposing team and its crowd, but he gets an adrenaline rush from the Sooner faithful at Owen Field.
â€śJust coming out and watching it,â€ť he said of the OU football experience. â€śGetting the crowd pumped up, the crowd pumping you up on big plays and stuff like that.â€ť
When Mosesâ€™ football-playing days come to an end, he sees himself going into either business or law enforcement. He is majoring in sociology/criminology, and getting into law school or joining the FBI are ideas that intrigue him.
On the other hand, his dad may soon open a furniture business in Houston, and he may follow that lead by joining the business or opening his own store.
â€śLike my mom always tells me, have a backup plan.â€ť
Seems like Moses is getting good advice from both sides of the table.