Montana sophomore Bo Tully is rapidly building a name for himself on the football field, creating turnovers and filling up a stat sheet.
Of course, the strong safety already has quite a bit of name recognition at book stores and libraries.
The Spokane native's name is the inspiration for a recurring character created by well-known author and noted outdoor humorist Patrick McManus, a native of nearby Sandpoint, Idaho. McManus has written four mysteries starring Sheriff Bo Tully. The most recent one is called "The Huckleberry Murders."
The real-life Tully, who stands 6-foot-2 and weighs 195 pounds, was friends with a grandson of McManus during their elementary school years.
"I heard he liked the name and decided to use it," Tully said. "He sent me signed copies of the books with an inscription, ‘To the real Sheriff Bo Tully.' "
Tully, who has never met McManus, said he was 10 or 11 when was told about his name appearing on book covers.
"I read the first two and most of the third one," he said.
After being named the Greater Spokane League's Defensive Player of the Year during his senior season at Mead High School, Tully contributed nine tackles in 10 games as a true freshman in 2010. He has already been credited with 10 tackles and two forced fumbles after two games, and would have had an interception in the second quarter against Tennessee if not for a pass-interference call that negated the turnover.
"After watching the game film it was pretty questionable," said Tully, who was also incorrectly identified as the guilty party on that play instead of linebacker Caleb McSurdy. "It didn't look like it should be a penalty at all."
Q: I think "The Sherriff" would be a great nickname for you. What do you think?
A: I don't know. I don't know how I feel about it.
Q: What is something you were pleased about on defense against Cal Poly?
A: I think in the second half we played well. We stuck to our assignments really well.
Q: What is an area that you think the defense has the room for the most improvement after two games?
A: Consistency. Not giving up that one big play on a drive. Most of the time we're playing really good defense, but it's been one or two plays that has hurt us.
Q: As a strong safety, what are your responsibilities?
A: It switches up week to week, depending on coverage. We're also the quarterback of the defense. We're communicating to the outside linebacker and the corner on the outside. We're making sure everyone has the call and the correct one.
Q: What is something on Eastern Washington's offense that has caught your attention?
A: Definitely this year, after two games, it's that they're looking to pass a lot and they've done a good job of it. The quarterback is using all of his receivers and threats.
Q: What will be different about this week's game with Eastern Washington?
A: I think our defense is a little more experienced, but we should have a better idea of what they're about after seeing their QB and some of their offensive players before. Both sides are going to bring it though.
Q: Will this be a good litmus test for how the Grizzlies season will go?
A: Yeah, this is obviously a huge game. This will solidify that we can play with anybody, but it won't make or break our season. Nonetheless, this is a huge game.
Q: Even though this will be a home game for Montana, what are you thoughts on the Eagles' red-colored field?
A: As a Montana Grizzly, it's not something we like over here at all. Especially after last year.
Q: Who else recruited you?
Q: Why Montana?
A: Just because of the tradition here and the atmosphere. Because football is THE thing here. It's exciting that the whole community gets behind you and is supporting you.
Q: Former Gonzaga star Adam Morrison, a native of Glendive, also graduated from Mead High School. Although his graduating class was well before your class, did you ever watch him play when he was in high school?
A: I did, actually. My older brother is a year younger than Adam and he was on the team, so I did watch a lot of his games in high school. It was exciting.
Q: Which is a bigger: Montana football in Missoula, or Gonzaga basketball in Spokane.
A: Montana football. Gonzaga hoops is big, but I've never seen anything like how Griz fans are.
Q: Longtime Detroit Lions kicker Jason Hanson is also a graduate of Mead High School. Did he ever come by for spring or summer workouts?
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A: No, but if you look at the records in the weight room you'll see his name quite a bit.
Q: Jerry Holkins and Mike Krahulik, the creators behind Penny Arcade, a popular web-based comic about the world of online and role-playing gaming, are also graduates of Mead High School. Have you ever heard of Penny Arcade?
A: I have not.
Q: I assume you are the person behind the Twitter handle grizbtully. How often do you update it and what is the content like?
A: I don't tweet that often. I just check it from day to day. I just use it to follow other people and check out what they're saying.
Q: Who are you following on Twitter that you think more people should be following?
A: James Hardin. He's a basketball player on the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Q: Is there anyone on the Grizzlies that you follow on Twitter?
A: Trumaine Johnson, for sure. Brett Kirschner. He's pretty funny. Mike McCord. Different guys like that.
Q: You're one of five players from Spokane on Montana's roster. What is your favorite nickname for The Lilac City?
A: Spokompton is funny.
Q: Where would you recommend to eat in Spokane?
A: Dick's in downtown. Tomato Street is a good Italian place to eat.
Q: Longtime Q&A readers will remember I asked your teammate Beau Donaldson about celebrities and athletes with Bo (or Beau) as their first name. His knowledge of other people with that name was pretty limited. Do you know of any celebrities or athletes that share your first name?
A: I know Bo Jackson. He's a huge one. I don't know any others.
Q: Bo Pelini?
A: Definitely heard of him.
Q: He's Nebraska's football coach. Bo Duke?
A: Uhh ...
Q: Dukes of Hazzard.
A: That's what I thought.
Q: Bo Schembechler?
A: Is that a coach?
Q: Yes. He was a longtime coach at the University of Michigan.
A: Yeah, I remember when he passed away.
Q: And of course there's Bo, the Obama family dog.
A: Yeah, I remember hearing about that.
Q: Complete this sentence: The best safety currently in the NFL is ...
A: Ed Reed.
Q: You earned a 4.0 grade-point average in high school and were named to the Big Sky Conference's all-academic team last year as a freshman. What's your major and do you know what you would like to do after your football career is over?
A: I'm a business major. I'm looking at international business. Not too sure what I want to do with that after college though.
Q: What do you like to do in the offseason?
A: We have a boat, so in the past few years we've rented a cabin for a week. I like to go wake boarding and tubing. Priest Lake is one of my favorite lakes to go to.