When Arizona State’s captains take the field for the coin flip before Saturday’s home game against Oregon, senior receiver Moey Mutz will be among them as the coaching staff’s pick as single-game captain.
It’s been a long road to earning that level of respect from his coaches. When he earned a spot on the roster after walk-on tryouts in the summer of 2001, his future wasn’t exactly bright.
"I didn’t even know who Moey Mutz was. Moey was one of those guys who came for walk-on tryouts where there’s 40 guys out there and you don’t know any of them," ASU coach Dirk Koetter said. "Moey has worked his way up to be one of our most valuable guys. He knows all three positions at wide receiver. He has been a clutch performer on third downs throughout the last couple of years."
Mutz earned a scholarship in the spring of 2004, joining a group of former ASU walk-ons to win scholarships that includes NFL first-round picks Adam Archuleta and Levi Jones.
He rewarded coaches for the school money by grabbing 35 passes for 438 yards and a touchdown as a junior. He had a career-high five catches against both Stanford and Washington State.
Quarterback Sam Keller, who said that Mutz once intercepted him three times in a high school game, credits Mutz’s success to his ability to get open by finding holes in defenses.
That showed in the Sun Devils’ 38-28 loss to Southern California last Saturday. Mutz didn’t have a catch in the first three quarters, then came up with three huge grabs in the final eight minutes. Two of his catches resulted in first downs on the Sun Devils’ only scoring drive of the second half.
Despite his clutch catches, Mutz didn’t expect to be selected to serve as this week’s single-game captain.
"I was actually kind of surprised because it usually goes to someone who has a big game the week before," Mutz said. "I was just doing what I could. Sam got me the ball and I just did my thing . . . It’s just an honor to take that responsibility (as captain) after coming from where I came from."
After presiding over a consistent unit through the season’s first three games, senior Grayling Love will find himself leading a third different starting offensive line in as many weeks on Saturday.
Due to Andrew Carnahan’s injured thumb, the Sun Devils will have to either start Chaz White at right tackle or move Love to tackle and start Mike Pollak at center. If he knew Thursday what position he’d be playing Saturday, Love wasn’t saying.
"It’s still up in the air," Love said. "It all depends on what Coach sees in film today. I’m ready to go to either position to help the team.
"You have people who have an opportunity now. You don’t like to see (injuries) happen, but you have to be ready for it. It’ll only help our depth in the long run."
ASU linebacker Dale Robinson said he wasn’t worried about a letdown stemming from the loss to USC.
"Oregon doesn’t care that we just played USC or how close it was," he said. "That’s a big motivating factor for us."