During the hiatus between Moos's stints as Oregon athletic director, and the gig he now holds -- athletic director at his alma mater, Washington State -- Moos raised beef on his ranch in Valleyford, Wash. He also raised a big side of beef in his son, 6-foot-3, 240-pound tight end Ben Moos. It was the younger Moos who was the subject of Baldwin's first trip back to the eastern side of the state of Washington since coming down to Berkeley from his post as head coach at Eastern Washington.
Baldwin had meatball pasta. Two plates' full.
"It was a nice spread," Ben Moos said. "He was loving it."
After two hours, all parties were fairly satisfied.
"Me and my dad are pretty talkative people, and it was just building that relationship and getting a fundamental understanding of who coach Baldwin is, and I can confidently say that both me and my dad, after two and a half hours, and my mom, we're all very, very impressed," Ben Moos said.
Baldwin and the new staff under head coach Justin Wilcox came on board just over a week after Dennis Erickson retired from his post as Utah offensive coordinator. When the younger Moos decided to de-commit, it took about 20 minutes for Baldwin to get in touch.
"When I first got in contact with him, it was probably 20 minutes after I announced my decommitment from Utah," he said. "He was saying that he knew who I was when he was up at Eastern, but always knew that I was a Pac-12 kind of guy, so he never really approached me."
It was the retirement of Erickson, and the hiring of former Cal quarterback -- and Eastern Washington OC -- Troy Taylor as the Utes' new playcaller, that prompted Ben Moos's decommitment.
"A big reason was Dennis Erickson -- he and my family have a very long connection," he said. "My dad played for his dad at Washington State, and my brother played for him at Arizona State. He was a big reason why, and I thought that the utilization of the tight end in their offense was awesome, lots of 12 personnel sets. Obviously, after the bowl game, they got rid of coach [Aaron] Roderick, and coach Erickson decided to retire, and they brought in the new OC, Troy Taylor, who was an Eastern guy. They're switching it up to five wide [receivers], so I kind of decided that the utilization would go down, so I wouldn't really be as pivotal a pice in the offense as I would like to be."
Bill Moos, having been a Pac-12 lifer, safe for a five-year sojourn as the AD at Montana, is more than familiar with not only Cal, but with the principals involved.
"He is, I would say, a little bit more informed about Cal than I am, just because he's been a part of the Pac-12 for a long time. He knows what coach Wilcox is all about," Ben Moos said. "I think the majority of the meeting was just getting to know each other, and laying out their plans for me, and all that stuff. Coach Baldwin just got down there, so he doesn't have a whole lot of information, pertaining to the University, at this point, because he's being educated while I am. It was more building that foundation for a relationship at this point."
While the concrete of that relationship is being poured -- Ben Moos will visit Cal this weekend for his final official -- the land was graded long ago. Bill Moos was the Athletic Director at Oregon while Wilcox played cornerback for the Ducks, and during that time, the two families formed a bond, starting with Wilcox's mother, Bucky, and Kendra Moos.
"My dad knows Justin's dad, from way back when he was at Oregon, because Justin and his brother Josh both played there while he was there," Ben Moos said. "I think around that time is when my mom got to know Bucky, and their friendship grew throughout the years."
Now, Ben Moos, the youngest of five children in the Moos herd, will trip to Berkeley to form some relationships of his own, tripping with commits Chase Garbers and Michael Saffell, as well as three-star lineman Poutasi Poutasi -- as the tight end mused, "the perfect people."
"One thing that is far and beyond the most important thing for me in this entire process, in terms of deciding where I want to further my academic and athletic careers, is the people I'll be around for the next four to five years of my life," Ben Moos said. "This weekend, that's something that I'm really going to be looking for, just how approachable the coaches are, how easy it is to converse with them and I guess, a good way to put it, shoot the [crap], I guess, with the guys, get a feel for them, and the players, as well."
Ben Moos will also get to re-connect with old friend Evan Weaver, also a native of eastern Washington.
"[Weaver is] one of my closest buddies," Ben Moos said. "We go way back. I think I'm going to try and have him be my host, so that'll be nice, having him take me around and show me what it's like."
Since the new staff engaged Ben Moos, he's chatted quite a bit with Weaver to see just what the Bears are all about, both on the field and off.
"Every time I've talked with him, since he got down there -- I got to spend some time with him in person, over winter break -- he loves it," Ben Moos said. "He loves the atmosphere around Cal, and when Sonny [Dykes] was let go, he was kind of worried, as a player would be, and what he said was that his first interaction with coach Wilcox and all those guys was nothing but awesome, and he was really excited for what they were preaching to the guys who were down there, already."
While Weaver was able to communicate the vibe in the locker room, Baldwin gave Moos some more concrete details about the coaching alignment, particularly who's going to coach the tight ends.
"What he was telling me was just that they're planning on trying to find a running backs or a tight ends coach," Ben Moos said. "They're really searching for a running backs coach at this point. If they do bring in a running backs coach, then coach Baldwin will be coaching tight ends, and if they end up bringing in a tight ends coach, then Baldwin will coach running backs."