The Hawaii football team’s best interior lineman on defense described a childhood with a Yogi-ism.
"I was always big when I was little," defensive lineman Moses Samia said.
He inhaled so much food his mother once nicknamed him "Vacuum."
"I ate everything," Samia said.
He also is big now that he is big — 295 pounds of energy, quick-jab hands and a drive fueled by … happiness?
"I’m a happy guy," said Samia, who is 6 feet 1. "I love every day. Growing up, I just wanted to play sports."
He was a three-sport letter winner at Saint Louis School. He excelled in baseball, the sport of his grandfather, the first Moses Samia.
He chose UH and football, after a knee problem proved to be too cumbersome for a catcher.
Defensive coordinator Thom Kaumeyer said Samia is a good fit in the Warriors’ newly implemented multiple schemes. At nose tackle or defensive tackle, Samia has the power, quickness and hand strength to fight off grasping blockers.
"Moses is a good, tough player," head coach Norm Chow said.
Chow then turned to Samia and asked: "What else should I say about you?"
"I’m handsome," Samia offered.
Chow said: "Let’s just say he’s a good, tough player."
Samia is the youngest of four. The age gaps are 5, 7 and 9 years.
"The youngest in a Samoan family does everything," said Samia, whose blood also is a cocktail of Hawaiian and German. "When I was a little kid, I used to do grown-man’s work. I cleaned the house, raked the yard, cut the leaves and cut the trees. I used to do everything. I guess my parents were teaching me morals as a kid."
Samia joked that the other family members "picked on" him, forcing him to find an outlet. That turned out to be football.
"That was a way to let out my aggression legally," he said, smiling.
But Samia also said the sport is an equalizer.
"Football is a humbling game," Samia said "That’s what I like about football. It keeps me humble."
Unlike most kids, Samia said he did not have any sports idols.
He had a replica Junior Seau football jersey that he wore on Halloween nights.
"People would say, ‘Oh, you’re a football player,’" Samia recalled. "Back then I didn’t look like Junior Seau. I looked like an O-lineman."
He added: "My parents were my heroes. My dad was always there for me. My mom was the rock of the family."
Past his bedtime, Samia would sneak into the living room while his parents and siblings watched movies such as "The Godfather" and "Scarface."
"I like the old-school movies," Samia said. "I’m a big fan of action movies."
Now, he is regarded as an action figure for the Warriors.
"I’m just a guy who tries to do whatever he can to help the team," Samia said.
He said he learned by being an understudy to Vaughn Meatoga and Kaniela Tuipulotu last year.
"I saw their work ethic," he said.
This past offseason, Samia trained under former Warrior defensive lineman Matt Elam. Elam teaches SAMBO, a Russian martial art that emphasizes deep-breathing techniques as part of training.
"After practice, stretching and breathing exercises are very important," Samia said. "Those techniques work on the field."