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Arizona State Preview 2006 - Offense
Arizona State Sundevils
Posted Aug 8, 2006

Arizona State Sun Devils Preview 2006 - ASU Offense

What you need to know ... It'll be a major disappointment if this isn't one of the nation's five most productive attacks with the addition of coordinator Roy Wittke to work with the quarterbacks. The passing game will be deadly Rudy Carpenter able put up All-America numbers with a speedy receiving corps to work with an a huge, experienced line to play behind. The running game won't be neglected with Keegan Herring and Shaun DeWitty sure to combine for around 1,500 yards. Zach Miller is one of the nation's best tight ends leading a sleek, fast group of receivers who'll all get plenty of work.

Returning Leaders
Passing: Rudy Carpenter
156-228, 2,273 yds, 17 TD, 2 INT
Rushing: Keegan Herring
158 carries, 870 yds, 6 TD
Receiving: Rudy Burgess
59 catches, 655 yds, 4 TD

Star of the offense: Sophomore QB Rudy Carpenter
Player that has to step up and become a star: Junior C Mike Pollak
Unsung star on the rise: Sophomore RB Shaun DeWitty
Best pro prospect:
Junior TE Zach Miller
Top three all-star candidates: 1) Miller, 2) Carpenter, 3) WR Rudy Burgess
Strength of the offense: Passing game, experience
Weakness of the offense:
Proven stability on the line

For the moment, the Sun Devils have the best quarterback situation in America. However, this obviously changed in a big, huge way with Sam Keller transferring to Nebraska after a controversial quarterback derby. Rudy Carpenter isn't an explosive passer like Keller and he doesn't have the same arm, but he finished last year as the nation's most efficient passer. Either one could start and put up monster numbers. If you combined the production from the quarterbacks, the two completed 311 of 492 passes (63%) for 4,438 yards and 37 touchdowns with 11 interceptions. The number three spot is shaky with Derek Shaw transferring meaning walk-on Brett Boon is the emergency man.

The key to the unit: Rudy Carpenter has to be sharp right off the bat to prevent any sort of second guessing about the quarterback controversy.
Quarterback Rating: 8

Projected Starter
- Rudy Carpenter, Soph. - 156-228, 68%, 2,273 yds, 17 TD, 2 INT, 1 rushing touchdown
Carpenter stepped in when Sam Keller went down and turned out to be even better finishing the season as the nation's most efficient passer with a rating of 175.01. In his six appearances he threw for 300 yards three times and 400 yards twice highlighted by a brilliant 467-yard, four touchdown day against Rutgers In the Insight Bowl. He doesn't have the arm of Keller and isn't nearly the same pro prospect, but he's deadly accurate and he never, ever, makes mistakes. He's as tough as they come able to take big hit after big hit and keep popping up.

Top Backups
- Sam Keller, Sr. - 155-264, 58%, 2,165 yds, 20 TD, 9 INT, 1 rushing touchdown
Keller was supposed to be the starter up until late this summer, lost the job, and then transferred to Nebraska. He was on the way to an All-America caliber 2006 season with two 400-yard games and two 300-yard games in his first six outings along with four touchdown passes in each of his first four games, and then he got hurt against Stanford and missed the second half of the year with a thumb injury. He's a big 6-4, 240-pound bomber with a live arm and a self-confidence and swagger that's both a help and a hindrance. For example, his attitude helped ASU bomb away against USC on the way to a halftime lead, but he pressed too much when things started going south and finished with five interceptions and a loss.
- Brett Boon, RFr.
The former walk-on ran the scout team last season and will be the clear number three man. He's a small 6-1 and 174 pounds, but he's athletic and has a good arm.

Running Backs
New running back coach John Wrenn has some good pieces to work with. Keegan Herring is a speed back who turned into the team's biggest weapon in the backfield last season, but he'll be pushed hard for the starting job by big Shaun DeWitty. Preston Jones is a productive number three back who'll slowly be phased out once true freshmen Rodney Glass and Dimitri Nance and JUCO transfer Ryan Torain get their feet wet. Glass is the one to get excited about with his next-level speed. The situation is so strong that do-it-all star Rudy Burgess, who finished second on the team in rushing, can spend all his time at receiver and cornerback.
The key to the unit: Get the backs a bit more involved in the passing game and hope Shaun DeWitty is as good as he was this spring.
Running Back Rating: 8

Projected Starters
- Keegan Herring, Soph. - 158 carries, 870 yds, 5.5 ypc, 6 TD, 3 catches, 4 yds
Herring came from out of nowhere to lead the team in rushing as a true freshman ripping off three 100-yard game including a 197-yard effort against Northwestern. He bulked up a bit but is still a very fast, shifty back with home run hitting speed. He hasn't been used as a receiver, but he has the potential to be a dangerous all-around back if he can get the ball in his hands on the move.

Top Backups
- Shaun DeWitty, Soph. - 6 carries, 24 yds, 4.0 ypc
The star of spring ball, the 6-2, 216-pound sophomore is a serious threat to win the starting job come fall. He brings far more power than Keegan Herring with enough speed to bust off big runs if he gets a little bit of room to move. His emergence has allowed the coaching staff to play around with the backfield since he has more than proven to be a capable number two back.
- Preston Jones, Jr. - 39 carries, 187 yds, 4.8 ypc, 2 TD, 1 catch, 3 yds
The walk-on turned into a fast option as last season went on finishing third on the team in rushing. He has enough experience and talent to get a few carries here and there, but he's not the type of back you want to revolve the ground attack around.
- Rodney Glass, Fr.
Really, really, really fast. The superstar California high school sprinter will bring some big-time wheels to the corps when he arrives this fall. He's only 5-10 and 175 pounds, but he's too fast to keep off the field.

While it's sort of a hodge-podge of talents and options, it'll be among the nation's most productive corps even after losing top deep threat Derek Hagan. Zach Miller is the start of the show returning for what should be an All-America season. Jamaal Lewis, an NFL caliber tight end, will move to outside receiver, Terry Richardson will hopefully be back in the mix after being suspended for spring ball, Rudy Burgess will be the main inside target after spending last year at running back and receiver and this spring at cornerback, and inexperienced Mike Jones appearing to be one of the rising stars of the group. It'll be a better corps at the end of the season once speedy Brandon Smith and Nate Kimbrough get their feet wet.
The key to the unit: Consistency. There are plenty of passes to go around and a superstar in tight end Zach Miller to work around.
Receiver Rating: 8.5

Projected Starters
- Rudy Burgess, Jr. - 59 catches, 655 yds, 11.1 ypc, 4 TD, 145 carries, 644 yds, 4.4 ypc, 6 TD
Burgess is the jack-of-all-trades for the Sun Devils finishing last year as the team's second leading rusher and second leading receiver. He also spent time working out at corner before moving back to the offense. He has next-level speed and cutting ability, but he didn't hit as many home runs as he probably should've considering all his skills. He's a dangerous inside receiver who can be deadly when he gets the ball on the run.

- Mike Jones, Soph - 4 catches, 22 yds
Jones took advantage of the opportunities he got this spring and grew into one of the favorite targets. He's 6-3 and 200 pounds with the size to play inside and enough speed to be dangerous on the outside X position. Along with being a potentially game-breaking receiver, he's also a star outfield for the baseball team.

- H-Back Brent Miller, Jr. - 7 catches, 111 yards, 15.9 ypc, 2 TD
Miller will be used as a hybrid of tight end and fullback. The older brother of tight end Zach Miller will need a little time in the position needing to grow into a blocker, but he's a solid receiver who should become more a weapon as the season goes on.

- Tight end Zach Miller, Jr. - 38 catches, 476 yds, 12.5 ypc, 4 TD
One of the nation's best tight ends, the 6-5, 258-pound junior is a Todd Heap clone who'll set every record for ASU tight ends before his time is done. He gets the headlines for his receiving skills, but he's one of the nation's best blocking tight ends and a possible top 15 pick if he chooses to come out next season. He makes plays like a wide receiver with soft, reliable hands.

Top Backups
- Terry Richardson, Sr. - 37 catches, 495 yds, 13.4 ypc, 5 TD
"T-Rich" is one of the nation's best kick and punt returners and now will do more for the offense once he gets back in the team's good graces. He was suspended from spring ball for violating an unspecified team rule, but he'll be back this fall as the team's most experienced and versatile receiver.
- Jamaal Lewis, Sr. - 23 catches, 446 yds, 19.4 ypc, 5 TD
Lewis is one of the nation's most dangerous receiving tight ends, and now he'll move to the X to be one of the biggest outside receivers in college football. He's 6-4 and 230 pounds with the speed and hands to be a dangerous receiver now that he doesn't have to spend as much time blocking. He'll play tight end at the next level.
- Nate Kimbrough, Soph. - 7 catches, 76 yds, 10.9 ypc, 1 TD
A key reserve going into the season. the 6-1 sophomore can play any of the receiver positions fitting in best on the inside. He's a sleek, speedy threat with big play potential.
- Brandon Smith, RFr.
One of the team's fastest players, the 6-1, 192--pound Smith is a perfect fit to do plenty of damage on the outside. He'll play a big role early on.

- Tight end Andrew Pettes, Soph.
The 262-pound sophomore might have a hard time seeing playing time behind Zach Miller and with Jamaal Lewis able to move over from wide receiver if needed, but he's a big target who should grow into a more physical blocker.
- H-Back Dane Guthrie, Soph.
The 274-pound sophomore is a much, much bigger option at H-Back than Brent Miller. The transfer from Florida is athletic enough to be used as a tight end and big enough to become a punishing blocker for the ground game.

Offensive Linemen
The line spent last year fighting through injuries but returns experienced, versatile, talented, and very, very big. Tackle Andrew Carnahan is one of the toughest and most experienced linemen in the Pac 10 leading a massive group with everyone coming in at 300 pounds or more with a little too much beef at some spots. Inconsistency in the starting lineup, no mobility among the quarterbacks, and 493 pass attempts can be attributed to the 36 sacks, but it would be nice if the number dipped under 30.
The key to the unit: Everyone has to stay healthy and the experience has to come through with a consistent season.
Offensive Line Rating: 8

Projected Starters
- OT Brandon Rodd, Jr.
Rodd has gotten into better shape and should be quicker in pass protection. He made the successful recovery from a torn ACL to be a rock all season long after making the move from guard to tackle.
- OG Stephen Berg, Sr.
The only question is his health after battling injuries for the last two seasons. The 6-5, 309-pound junior has been a regular starter who has emerged as a decent all-around blocker, but a leg injury kept him down two years ago and a shoulder problem kept him out of spring ball this season.
- C Mike Pollak, Jr.
The new starter to the mix, the 300-pound junior has seen more than his share of time as a reserve and part-time starter. He's bigger and stronger with the bulk to become a better run blocker.
- OG Zach Krula, Sr.
Krula filled out his 6-7 frame in a big way over the last year going form a thin, athletic 289 pounds to a 339-pound monster. He missed most of last year with an ankle injury and will be back by this fall.
- OT Andrew Carnahan, Sr.
The star of the line, the 6-8, 300-pound senior is a reliable veteran with 33 career starts. He's not the most consistent pass blocker around, but he's as tough as they come and has been good enough to earn All-Pac 10 honors over the last two seasons at right tackle.

Top Backups
- OG Robert Gustavis, Jr.
Ready to step into the starting role if needed, the 6-4, 312-pound junior saw all the time at right guard last year when Zach Krula went down. He got bigger this off-season and should be more physical as both a guard and center.
- OG Leo Talavou, Soph.
The 6-4, 371-pound sophomore is one of the nation's biggest linemen. He has seen a little bit of time and can play either guard spot.
- C Thomas Altieri, RFr.
One of the nation's top center recruits a few years ago, the 294-pound-pound redshirt freshman will push Mike Pollak hard for the starting job.

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