He played for Woody Hayes and learned to coach under Bo Schembechler. How could he not be Tom Coughlin's choice as the Jaguars' new defensive coordinator?
"That's football. That's the direction we have to go in," Coughlin said of the physical style of football that is Moeller's background.
"I like the way he was brought up in the game. That was the way the game was meant to be played. He's a football guy. That's what I like," Coughlin added.
Moeller, the former head coach at the University of Michigan, was presented to the media today as the Jaguars' third and newest defensive coordinator. Immediately, the question was: What style of defense will you play?
Come on, did anyone really have to ask? He played for Woody; coached for Bo.
"I do want to stop the run, yes," Moeller said with a smile.
Under Dom Capers the past two seasons, the Jaguars had become the latest convert to the zone-blitz style of defense. In 1999, it was a highly successful conversion. This past season, sacks decreased, points-allowed increased and, just as alarmingly, so did rushing yards allowed.
That's especially bad news in professional football's grunt division. If you can't stop the run, you're not going to fare well in a division that boasts Eddie George, Corey Dillon, Jerome Bettis and Jamal Lewis.
Moeller confessed to nothing if he didn't include everything. He talked of press coverage and incorporating the zone-blitz into his scheme; of playing two-deep coverage, but getting the strong safety up to support against the run.
In short, he gave nothing away, but his background in the game reveals all. First and foremost, the Jaguars are going to stop the run; be physical at the point of attack.
Moeller, 60, who was the interim head coach for seven games in Detroit last season, is known as a high-energy, no-nonsense and inspirational coach who demands that his players be fundamentally sound and tough.
"The key in drafting is just like recruiting: Who wants to play this game?" Moeller said.
"You have to enjoy what you're doing. I get that self-satisfaction. I just enjoy the pure-coaching aspect of it. I like the association with the player. Can you get him motivated?" he added.
Coughlin had also interviewed Jaguars defensive line coach John Pease for the defensive coordinator job, and former Redskins and Jets defensive coordinator Mike Nolan. Moeller, however, was Coughlin's pick from the start. The only hurdle that had to be cleared was an assurance from the Lions that they would make good on the $3 million owed Moeller, who was fired by new Lions President Matt Millen on Jan. 24.
"I want to maintain the discipline of our defensive scheme. Does that mean the percentages of zone-blitz will be maintained? That will be determined, but Gary has to learn our terminology," Coughlin said.
Moeller will be working within the framework of the defensive scheme Capers established in his two seasons as coordinator, but, clearly, Moeller will re-tool that scheme. "I have to fit a system to the personnel," he said.
This is his first pro coordinator's job, which he had set as a goal after having been fired at Michigan following the 1994 season. Then, Moeller was discharged as a result of an off-the-field intoxication incident that is the only black mark on an otherwise stellar coaching record that includes a 4-1 New Year's Day bowl record while at Michigan.
"When I went into professional ball, I wanted to be a coordinator. It's the one thing I wanted to do for a number of years," said Moeller, who might've become the offensive coordinator in Cincinnati had he been available when Bengals coach Dick LeBeau was hiring.
Moeller is a "film room" fanatic and admits he'd rather look at film than read a book, but places attitude above everything else. "Your ability to bring those players together is the number one thing," he said.
"I think we've got some good players; probably a little lighter than some teams up front," Moeller said of the Jaguars' defensive personnel. "I just hope we have enough leadership. I've never been associated with a good team that didn't have leadership."
With forceful personalities such as Coughlin and Moeller, and backgrounds that include Bill Parcells, Hayes and Schembechler, the sideline leadership should be plenty strong enough.