Da Boot Sports
By: Terrill J. Weil
Today's Q & A session is with former LSU wide receiver Tony Moss. Moss was a Tiger from 1985-1989. He was recruited by Head Coach Bill Arnsparger as a running back, but was asked to change positions and play wide receiver.
Moss saw the field occasionally during his redshirt freshmen and sophomore seasons, but became a full time starter in his final two years. His speed, great hands, and moves after a catch was an incredible thing to watch. He left LSU as the team's 3rd all-time leading receiver with 2,196 yards receiving on 132 catches and 16 touchdowns.
Q - What is your favorite food?
Tony - It's a combination of things. My mother is Philippine so I like some of her dishes, which is Lumpia and her fried rice is really great. Pepper steak was my favorite, especially when I was in college. I like Louisiana dishes. It's really a combination of things. I like food. It's all my favorite.
Q - What is your favorite movie?
Tony - That's a good question. Growing up and when I was in college it was The Predator. Now I'm into the Marvel movies. I enjoy watching them and I enjoy all their series.
Q - Who is your favorite actor?
Tony - I really don't have one. I have a few that I like, The Rock and Denzel Washington. I enjoy the kind of movies that they make. Action, crime, suspense.
Q - Who is your favorite music artist/group?
Tony - The older I've gotten I listen to modern gospel, Christian music. I like listening to Jazz and R&B music.
Q - Who is your favorite athlete?
Tony - Being a sports guy, I watch all sports. I watch a lot of golf, and of course football, basketball, and baseball. I'm all over. I Really don't have one favorite person. The Olympics are going on right now so I'm watching a lot of that.
Q - Which sports teams do you like to follow?
Tony - I'm a Saints and LSU Tiger fan. NBA, I like Golden State. Then as far as baseball, I'm a Yankees fan.
Q - I see that you have Bossier City as your home town. Is that where you were born and raised?
Tony - No sir. Actually I didn't move to Bossier until 1981. My father was in the Air Force so I traveled all over the world. I was born in the Philippines at Clark Air Force Base. Like I mentioned, my mother is Philippine. I'm half Philippine, half African American. My father is from Indianapolis, Indiana. Prior to moving to Louisiana I was in Germany for three and a half years until I got into high school. That's when we moved to Bossier City and I started attending Bossier High.
Q - At what age did you start playing organized sports?
Tony - I've been playing since around the age of seven. Before we moved to Germany, I was in Missouri at Whiteman Air Force Base and I started there. Prior to that I started playing sand lot, living room, and in the snow football with my older cousins in Indianapolis. That's when football started to become my first love.
Q - When you were a little boy what did you want to grow up to be?
Tony - It was always my dream to make it to the NFL and be a football player.
Q - When you were in high school at Bossier High, did you play multiple sports?
Tony - Yes. I played football, basketball, and baseball.
Q - Is there any personal or team accomplishments that you would like to mention?
Tony - I actually was All-City in all three sports. I made All-State in football and Honorable Mention All-State in basketball. We didn't win any kind of championships. In football I started my freshmen year and we went 0-10, 1-9, 2-8, and 4-6 my whole career at Bossier High.
I did have a good career carrying the ball. I broke the city/parish rushing record that was held for like 30 years back then. Since then its been broken several times. I started out as a running back, but then they moved me to quarterback to run the Veer for two years. Then after a coaching change I went back to running back to run out of the I-formation. I rushed for 1,500 yards my senior year.
Q - Tell us about your recruiting process?
Tony - Being my size, I was only 5'8" 160lbs, most colleges didn't see me as a tailback. They didn't rank us by stars back then, they called us Blue Chips. Picayune use to have their Blue Chip Top 12 in the State and I was listed in that. I think eight of us from that list went to LSU. A few were, myself, Tommy Hodson, Clint James, Jamie Bice, and Kenny Davidson.
I received a lot of letters. They started coming my junior year. I believe the first letter I ever received was from Arkansas. The smaller school were sending me a lot letters like Northwestern, Northeastern, and Tulane. The only SEC schools I got something from was Ole Miss, Mississippi State, and LSU.
Recruiters began to come watch me play during my senior year. LSU kept recruiting me throughout my entire senior year and was probably one of the larger schools who were recruiting me. Even after I committed to LSU a lot of the smaller in-State schools were trying to change my mind, telling me that I was going to be the small fish in a large pond at a big school and wouldn't get any playing time. Tulane recruited me hard. I got a lot of phone calls from them trying to get me to go to New Orleans.
Q - What made you choose LSU over all the other schools who recruited you?
Tony - Coach Arnsparger came to my house for a home visit. He told me that I had a good opportunity to go there and do what I do. He felt that I would be able to get on the playing field.
I went to visit LSU, loved the atmosphere, and loved the opportunity to play on national television. It was also a place where I could see myself continue to work on my goal of making it to the NFL.
Q - So how did the move from running back to wide receiver happen at LSU?
Tony - I went there and grinded and worked hard. Getting onto the field was my first goal. During my true freshmen year, we had Dalton Hilliard and some other great running backs. Then after that season, they recruited four more top running backs including Harvey Williams, Eddie Fuller, and Alvin Lee.
That's when they decided to ask me to move to receiver. They sat me down and basically told me what I needed to do to get on the field. Without much growth and at my size, they just didn't see me becoming big enough to become a fulltime running back. They felt that if worked hard enough at receiver that I could stay out on the field.
Q - Can you tell us about Head Coach Bill Arnsparger?
Tony - He was a great guy. With Coach Arnsparger you began to realize that college football was more of a business then just playing football. He would sit down with you and talk to you like a man. He really didn't micromanage but he wanted you to go out there and do what you're suppose to do. He let his coaches coach and he managed. He was pretty good at that.
As a coach, we got along really well. I think he really liked me. When I was still a running back during my redshirt year, I would run on the scout team all the time. Bill would always make me the goal line running back and have me jump over the top. I think he really liked that. He would always tell me. "Jump up there, get up in the air Tony." ... He just wanted to see me get jacked up I guess.... But we were good.
I remember when we had our last reunion, both he and his wife still knew me and still knew all our names. That was pretty impressive after the time they had been away combined with all the people they have met. He was a real good guy. I really enjoyed playing for him.
Q - How did you and the team handle the news that Arnsparger was leaving to become the AD at Florida and the hiring of Mike Archer as his replacement?
Tony - It was a big surprise, but the transition was so smooth. All we did was loose our head coach. Archer stepped in as the head coach, but our position coaches were all still there. It wasn't a big drastic change to me or anybody else. That 1987 team after Bill left was probably one of the best teams we ever had at LSU. We went 10-1-1. We shouldn't of tied with Ohio State and Tommy missed the Alabama game which we barely lost with Mickey at quarterback. That was a heck of a team. Great defense. Good players on both sides of the ball.
Q - Tell us a little about Coach Archer? There had to be a huge difference between he and Bill?
Tony - With Coach Archer things were a little more upbeat. The discipline was different with Coach Arnsparger. With Bill it was, do it this way or get out of the way... It was a NFL feeling because that's how he was coaching us.
With Archer because of the close age gap, we had a little more fun, but we still kept the mindset that we had to get the job done. We kind of dropped off during my senior year in 1989, not because our recruiting was getting bad, I think we just lacked a little bit of discipline and that contributed to the team's demise.
That 1989 senior class played a lot of football. A lot of those guys I was playing with, we all played since our freshmen year. We had a lot of wear and when we had injuries, our backups weren't able to play up to our level. Back when we all were freshmen and sophomores when we had to fill in, we didn't miss a beat. We were able to maintain that high level of play.
In '89 we didn't get blown out a lot. We were in a lot of close games, but you know how it goes, sometimes when you start losing it just snowballs.
Q - What were some of your favorite games and moments as a LSU Tiger?
Tony - I'll go year to year... My redshirt freshmen year in 1986 it was that Texas A&M game. It was the first game of the year and it was my first year of playing time. I remember how nervous I was getting on the field. I was a kick returner that season. Then playing in the Sugar Bowl and scoring my first touchdown at the end of the game against Nebraska.
The 1987 season was fun with several great games with us going 10-1-1.
In 1988 I became a starter and was able to contribute more instead of being a sub all the time like during my first two years. I feel like the Ole Miss game in '88 was my breakout game. The game slowed down and I began making plays.
The '88 Alabama game! Everyone remembers how big that one was in Tuscaloosa. The funny thing about that game was we traveled on Friday, so we had our walkthrough on Thursday. As we were practicing the two minute drill, I twisted my ankle on the last play.
When we took off to fly to Alabama, we weren't sure if I was going to be able to play. While the team went to the stadium to do a walkthrough, I stayed at the hotel and did treatment pretty much for 24 hours.
The day of the game, they tapped me up and the rest is history. I had a phenomenal game. Doc Anderson and Purdy
really worked me over that weekend.
I really enjoyed playing Tulane. I know the Tigers don't play them anymore like we use too every season for our last game. They were pretty good one year, I believe in 1987. We had a shoot out with them in New Orleans. That was fun. It was back and forth and the stadium was loud. We pulled it out in the final seconds, 41-36.
I was happy that I got to the point when I started making it into the record books and was able to leave my mark at LSU. It was great making first team All-SEC for two years in a row. I made preseason All-American one season and finished either on the second or third team. I'm happy with what I left with at LSU.
Q - After you left LSU, what was your draft process like?
Tony - After playing at LSU I got invited to two Senior Bowls. I played in the Japan Bowl and then I played in the East-West Shrine Bowl. I got drafted in the 4th round of the 1990 NFL Draft by the Chicago Bears. I ended up separating my shoulder in the preseason and got put on IR before being released. I ended up on the Minnesota Vikings practice squad during my rookie year.
I ended up back overseas to play for Barcelona in the World League. Like I said, football has taken me all over the world. I've played everywhere.
I ended up signing with Philadelphia the next season, but failed my physical because I began having a health issue with my left knee. After I got healthy, I played in the CFL. I played a season there before my right knee starting having issues.
I stopped playing football in 1995 because of the knee issues. In 2010 I ended up having a total knee replacement.
Another reason why I decided to stop playing was my son was 7 or 8 years old and was starting school and
starting to participate in sports. My oldest son was a good athlete. He ended up playing football at Northwestern.
I could have continued to keep on pushing, trying to make a team, traveling and bouncing around, but I was just ready to come back to Bossier, settle down, get married, and start the family life.
Q - Do you and your family live in Bossier City now?
Tony - Yes, we live in Bossier. I've been with the Kansas City Southern Rail Roads, in November will make 18 years. I've been an engineer for the last 10 years. The district I run is from Shreveport to Jackson, Mississippi.
Now I have a grandson that goes to Calvary High School. He's a freshmen. He's already getting looked at. I don't know what publication, but they made a list of the top freshmen of the class of 2025 in the State and he made the list. He plays receiver and safety. Looks like he has a chance of starting on the varsity as a free safety. It's been exciting to watch him grow up and see what he can do. I'm very proud of him.
Q - Is there anything you would like to tell the LSU fans?
Tony - I'm excited for this year. We need to put an asterisk next to last season. It was a crazy year with the pandemic. I think things are a lot better now that the kids are able to work more together. I know the team is going to bounce back. I think they can have a 10 win season. I know they are working hard and I wish the best to them.