Langston Moore can't wait for the college football season to start. A former defensive lineman for South Carolina and three NFL teams, Moore enters his third year as the sideline reporter for the Gamecocks' radio network.
The 33-year-old James Island High School graduate is busy off the field, too. Among Moore's several business and charity ventures is Eat2win, a series of football camps aimed at reducing youth obesity. He also travels the country doing motivational speeches and tutoring high school and college lineman in the finer points of football.
Moore talked recently about the Gamecocks, his favorite sack, the importance of healthy eating habits and the influence of his late father, former Charleston radio personality Ken Moore.
Q: You played at South Carolina for Lou Holtz, and work closely with Steve Spurrier. How would you compare two of college football's most iconic coaches?
A: Not to say one way is better, but as a player, I was more accustomed to that old-school style of Coach Holtz. But Coach Spurrier is very smart as far as knowing when to press players and when not to; that's part of the genius with him. Both get great results. Coach Spurrier is competitive and compassionate and still getting results in the SEC. Coach Holtz's big thing was more about transformation with folks.
Q: What is the best advice Lou Holtz ever gave you?
A: There are tons of nuggets, but one of the best things was 'What's important now' or WIN as the acronym. You can use that for your life. It's a great way of not getting over-burdened with things that are not too important. A person who is able to hyper-focus is better able to be more successful at any task.
Q: What are the challenges you have trying to come up good questions for Steve Spurrier when he's on his way from the field to the locker room at halftime?
A: I try not to ask many dumb defensive questions. We all know Coach Spurrier is a great offensive guy, but sometimes I think I have a good defensive question. And then sometimes he gives me that look. But I don't take it personally. When I was a player, I had coaches that didn't want to talk to me so I know there are games when the last thing Coach Spurrier wants to see at halftime is a sweaty old 30-something defensive lineman trying to ask him questions. But he does a great job giving us some quick insight.
Q: Do you like the mix of you as a defensive-minded guy with two former quarterbacks, Todd Ellis and Tommy Suggs, up in the booth?
A: I love those guys. They have taught me so much about the game and the history of the game. And it's fun to watch Todd's maturation. When I was a player, Todd was the sideline reporter. Now to see Todd as the actual voice of the program, it's fun to see that and just to be part of the lineage of people who have done this job.
Q: Your late father, Ken, was in the radio business a long time. Has that helped with your career?
A: I spent a lot of time in control rooms with him as a kid. He had a great career in broadcasting, mostly in music radio. Preparation and professionalism were always part of it. I feel so fortunate to work in radio at the university I love and to be able to do it, not 20 years after I played, but relatively soon after I stopped playing. And it's special knowing my father went to journalism school at South Carolina.
Q: How did you come up with the Eat2Win concept?
A: It's a way to leverage interest in football with the need for better nutrition. Obesity, diabetes and a lot of preventive illnesses are such problems in South Carolina. We are ranked high in football but we also rank high in a lot of health issues. We talk to the kids about eating healthy, eating organic, food budgeting and we're trying to take small steps. This is close to me because when my father got sick, he was so big, he couldn't get on the heart transplant list. Bad eating habits will catch up to you eventually.
Q: When a former NFL player is talking, do kids listen?
A: Yes, and I have help. A lot of my former South Carolina teammates and I try to use our social capital to get kids involved with Eat2Win.
We think it's important that we're all from South Carolina. It means something to the kids when we say, "Here's Rod Wilson, and he's from Cross" or "Here's Travelle Wharton, and he's from Fountain Inn."
Q: And you have a kids' book coming soon?
A: It's called "Just the Chicken" and it's the brainchild of myself and Preston Thorne, who played at Summerville and with me at USC and teaches at Blythewood High School. We were able to include the Gamecock story and all the SEC mascots in the book and we're very excited about it.
Q: You had five sacks in the NFL during your five years with the Bengals, Cardinals and Lions. Which sack was your favorite?
A: I got a sack in the last NFL game I played in, the last game of the 2008 season. I was playing for Detroit and we were trying to avoid going 0-16, playing in Green Bay. We lost (31-21) but I sacked Aaron Rodgers and I almost had a couple of interceptions. I sacked Peyton Manning once, but that was in the preseason.
Follow Gene Sapakoff on Twitter @sapakoff.