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2009 CFN Arizona State Preview |
2009 ASU Offense
2009 ASU Defense |
2009 ASU Depth
2008 ASU Preview |
2007 ASU Preview |
Head coach: Dennis Erickson
3rd year at ASU: 15-9
21st year overall: 163-75-1
Off. 20, Def. 24, ST 21
Lettermen Lost: 15
Best ASU Players
DE Dexter Davis, Sr.
2. DT Lawrence
3. LB Mike Nixon, Sr.
4. OT Shawn Lauvao, Sr.
5. CB Omar Bolden, Jr.
6. P/PK Thomas Weber, Jr.
Travis Goethel, Sr.
8. WR Chris McGaha, Sr.
9. WR Kyle
10. CB Terell Carr, Sr.
2009 Record: 0-0
9/12 OPEN DATE
9/19 UL Monroe
9/26 at Georgia
10/3 Oregon State
10/10 at Washington St
10/24 at Stanford
11/14 at Oregon
11/21 at UCLA
2008 Record: 5-6
Arizona W 30-13
9/6 Stanford W 41-17
9/13 UNLV L 23-20 OT
9/20 Georgia L 27-10
9/27 OPEN DATE
10/4 at California L 24-14
10/11 at USC L 28-0
10/18 OPEN DATE
10/25 Oregon L 54-20
11/1 at Oregon St L 27-25
11/8 at Wash. W 39-19
11/15 Wash St W
11/22 OPEN DATE
11/28 UCLA W 34-9
12/6 at Arizona
If it’s true that you should always go out on a high note, maybe Dennis
Erickson should have resigned after Year 1 in Tempe.
raising the bar with 10 wins in his first season with the program,
Erickson and the Sun Devils plummeted to a disappointing 5-7 campaign
that included a six-game losing streak, an inexcusable home loss to
UNLV, and a bowl-less postseason for the first time since 2003. Did
Arizona State overachieve in 2007 or underachieve in 2008?
there’s no doubt that Erickson and his staff have had a positive impact
on the program, especially in the area of recruiting, the Sun Devils
can’t afford another losing season; not after how they played last
season, failing to beat an FCS team with a winning record and regressing
unexpectedly on offense. To get back to the postseason, however,
Erickson will need to pull a few tricks from his sleeve and tap into his
extensive background of success as an offensive innovator.
defense, with Dexter Davis and Lawrence Guy, controlling the line, is
underrated and will be better than it’s been in the last few years. The
special teams should be solid overall, and they have Thomas Weber, one
of the nation’s premier kickers. So with everything solid, ground zero
for the fate of the 2009 team rests squarely with an offense that’s
breaking in a new quarterback, can’t run the ball, and has been hideous
in the trenches. If things don’t improve on that side of the ball, ASU
will again be scrambling for bowl eligibility in November.
where is Arizona State these days? It’s not the team that won 10 games
two years ago and looked ready to make USC sweat in the Pac-10. It
certainly shouldn’t be the team that won five games and went two months
without a victory during a humbling stretch a year ago. There’s too much
talent for that kind of a repeat. The Sun Devils are somewhere in
between, depending on the strides the offense can make between today and
the opener with Idaho State.
What to watch for on offense:
The competition at quarterback. Rudy Carpenter is gone, taking a streak
of 43 straight starts with him. Arizona State benefited from No. 12’s
toughness and durability…until now. Over the past few years, no one else
has gotten meaningful reps, putting the position in somewhat of a
precarious situation. Fifth-year senior Danny Sullivan is the
front-runner, having been the backup the last two seasons and coming off
a sharp spring. However, he still needs to close the deal. Sophomore
Samson Szakacsy is a much better athlete and an intriguing option as
elements of the zone-read option are installed. And true freshman Brock
Osweiler has already exceeded expectations in his first spring with the
What to watch
for on defense: Omar Bolden. In a season to be excited about the Sun
Devil, Bolden was one of the few disappointments. Following a Freshman
All-American debut, the corner slumped as a sophomore, lacking
consistency and allowing receivers to get behind him. The parts are in
place for this to be one of the stingiest Arizona State defenses in well
over a decade. However, the pass defense is susceptible to breakdowns,
the one pressing weakness on the unit. If, however, Bolden can tap into
his old form and lock down the other team’s best receiver, it’s going to
be awfully tough navigating this Devil D.
The team will be far better if
… the offensive line does an about-face from one of the worst two-year
stretches in school history. If Arizona State is going to turn things
around from last year, the offense has to do better than 100th
nationally in total production. And if the offense is going to improve,
the line absolutely, positively must give more time to the quarterbacks
and open some holes for the backs. There is talent at running back and
wide receiver, but you’ll never know it if it’s constantly being swarmed
by opposing tacklers.
Schedule: The season starts out nice and easy with Idaho State, a
week off and UL Monroe, but the layups are forgivable with a
trip to Georgia for the last game in September. ASU gets a nice
break with four conference road games with only one of them, at
Oregon, against a team that went to a bowl. There's only one
two-week road trip going to Oregon and UCLA in mid-November.
Before the trip to Eugene there are big home games against Cal
and USC which will likely make-or-break the Pac 10 season.
Getting Oregon State at home in the Pac 10 opener isn't bad.
Best Offensive Player:
Senior OL Shawn Lauvao. He’s not just the best offensive player in
Tempe, but he’s also one of the most important members of the unit.
After starting 21 games at guard, he’s making the move to left tackle in
an effort to solidify the program’s weakest link. Nasty at the point of
attack and quicker than most assume, he’s headed to a spot on the
All-Pac-10 squad in his final season of eligibility.
Best Defensive Player:
Senior DE Dexter Davis. Maybe he has to play outside linebacker on
Sundays, but for now, he’s a dynamite defensive end and one of the best
pure pass rushers in America. Davis enters the 2009 season with a thick
resume that includes 39 tackles for loss, 27.5 sacks, and eight forced
fumbles. If he’s not accounted for at all times, he has the burst and
finishing speed to blow up the other team’s gameplan.
player to a successful season:
Senior QB Danny Sullivan. Although no one is asking him to be Jake
Plummer in his final season of eligibility, he does have to bring some
stability to a position that loses four-year starter Rudy Carpenter. The
biggest problem in Tempe is the play of the offense, and Sullivan will
get his first chance in five years to light the fuse and maximize the
potential of a decent set of skill position players.
The season will be a
success if ... Arizona State has a winning year and
sneaks back into the bowl season. After slipping to 5-7 and enduring a
dreadful six-game losing streak in the middle of 2008, anything more
than seven wins would have to be labeled a success, especially
considering the deep problems facing the offense. If the Sun Devils can
play a 13th game, it’ll at least be able to stop the
game: Nov. 28 vs. Arizona. Plenty will be at stake when
the Wildcats visit on the final weekend of the regular season. Of
course, it’s a rivalry game, and the Sun Devils will have revenge on
their minds after getting swamped in Tucson, 31-10, in a game that kept
them out of the postseason. Plus, with ASU likely to hover around the
.500 mark all year, this might once again be the swing game for bowl
2008 Fun Stats:
- Arizona State
1st quarter score: 22 - Arizona State 2nd quarter score: 110
Rushing touchdowns: Opponents 12 - Arizona State 7
- 3rd down
conversion percentage: Opponents 38% (67-of-176) - Arizona State 29%