Getting to Know...Bo McNally

Sept. 18, 2009

STANFORD, Calif. - A fifth-year senior, Bo McNally has led the team in tackles each of the last two seasons and has emerged as one of the top safeties in the Pac-10 Conference. A two-time nominee for the Lott Trophy, McNally was listed as the fourth-best safety in the country by ESPN college football analyst Kirk Herbstreit.

With 27 career starts to his credit, McNally has been a fixture in Stanford's secondary since 2006. He has recorded eight career interceptions, including two for touchdown. He also scored another touchdown on a faked field goal last year at TCU.

His teammates recently selected Bo as their team captain for the second straight season, along with Erik Lorig and Toby Gerhart. recently caught up with Bo for a 1-on-1 interview about his career at Stanford, his goals for this season and his family background.

Entering your fifth and final year here at Stanford, you've witnessed a lot of change in the program over the years. What are you most excited for this season?
'The biggest and most recent change has been in the last two recruiting classes we've had. The talent we've got is just at another level. It's exciting to see that happen with the change in the coaching staff--even though it hasn't been an easy change--it's definitely been one for the better. I can definitely say from my freshman year to now, this team has undergone a complete transformation in terms of confidence, ability and knowledge of the game. Everything has taken a step up. I'm just really excited to see what we can do this season.'

You come from a traditional Stanford family as both of your parents attended Stanford, how much did their experience affect your decision to come here?
'A lot. Especially because I grew up as such a Stanford fan. When it came time for me to be recruited, I wasn't very highly recruited and I had to get my name out there somehow. I decided to come to Stanford football camp because it was the only school I really wanted to go to--it's the best school in the country and I've always been a fan. It was the one camp I decided to go to and Stanford was my one scholarship offer, so it worked out. I don't even know if I would have known about Stanford if my parents hadn't come here--so it was definitely a blessing that I came from a Stanford family.'

You played with your brother [Liam] in high school but how is it different to have him on the team here with you at Stanford?
'It's different here because we're playing against each other. He's on offense and I'm on defense. In high school, he was a freshman when I was a senior and we got to practice a little bit together but never got to take that many reps together. But now, I'm hitting him every day and we're having fun with it. It's been really great having a brother out here. It adds something for my family to have two of us out there. It's really exciting for everybody back home, it's been fun.'

Your grandfather, Dave McNally, pitched in the Major Leagues for the Baltimore Orioles, what have you learned from him about being successful at the next level?
'Well, he lived in Montana so I didn't get to see him that often but whenever I did see him he would always ask me about sports. He was a big proponent of hard work. He always said, 'Nothing replaces hard work.' That's something I've tried to live by. You can't sneak by without putting in the hard work.'

What makes Stanford Football unique?
'One of the biggest things is the way our team is together socially. There are no cliques, no outcasts. It's all one big family. That's something that drives guys here. It was something I was really excited about. There's no hazing, there's no `senior are better than freshman.' Freshman hang out with seniors, offensive guys hang out with defensive guys. I've had friends at other schools tell me that offensive and defensive guys never even see each other off the field. It's not like that here. It really adds a lot to the experience, a lot of positive things to the experience--playing on a football team where everyone is so tightly knit.'

'Another thing that makes us unique is the way we have fun. In terms of football, on the field, things have become so much more fun. With this coaching staff--it's hard, but it's fun. The way we say it is, 'Embrace the grind.' With our old coaching staff, things were negative and it was hard to have fun with it. But now, we lift each other up and make each other better.'

What's your favorite thing about being a Stanford student-athlete?
'My favorite thing--outside of being able to play football in the Pac-10, which is above and beyond the best part --is being around the other student-athletes that you only find at a place like Stanford. Winning the Director's Cup every year, Stanford gets the best athletes in every single sport , Olympic sports--everything. It's unique and it'll be really cool to tell my kids someday that I watched this Olympian play volleyball here, watched this famous swimmer compete here.'

Three words to describe yourself.
'Goofy. Determined. Happy.'

What would be the perfect ending to your career here?
'Rose Bowl -- nothing else. If last year was my senior year, I probably would have said a bowl game. But this year, that's not enough. I know we haven't done it yet in my career, but this year--I can feel it, something's different. We're ready for something big to happen.'

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