Friday, September 22, 2006
Boulder Trip Recap
I realize I didn't recap last week's defensively dominating victory against Colorado. First of all, I'm sorry. It is my blogospheric duty to rep ASU in all arenas(85281, mofo's!), and I have failed- but not as bad as the CU offense. Man, do they suck. Rumor has it the TBS game of the week got a 10-share, a ludicrious TV rating considering that it had to go up against the Bowden Bowl, UF-UT, and USC-Nebraska in the schedule. For those of you who watched more competitive games, the sea of maroon and gold in the northwest corner of Folsom Field was most impressive. I've heard estimates of anywhere between 5,000 and 10,000 Sun Devils in attendance, which is some serious Sparky muscle for a school that is 952 miles away from home.
As for the actual game, things are a bit fuzzy thanks to some tailgating and those shots at breakfast. Quarterback Rudy Carpenter was less than impressive throwing the ball but we're Sun Devils, and we're spoiled. The top two excuses listed are 1) a minor thumb injury (oh God, not another last year) and 2) the wind. I can't speak about Carp's digit, but the wind was mighty enough to bat down every pass I threw in the parking lot, even though I was still making Heapish/Milleresque one-handed catches with a brewsky in my other hand. Games of flip-cup and beer pong were cancelled due to conditions, and it takes nothing short of the breath of God to cancel a drinking game at an ASU party. WR's Mike Jones, Nate Kimbrough, and Chris McGaha were everything advertised; even though nobody had outstanding stats, the ball was spread around really well and they made good catches with minimal (if any) drops. Zach Miller made a great TD catch right in front of the ASU sections that made everyone think NFL draft with a heap (no pun intended) of melancholy. But the running game-oh, the running game- made me a believer. Colorado fans concurred (before the game) that their team's strength was in their run defense- this showed, especially from stud LB Thaddeus Washington, but the 1-2 punch of Keegan Herring and Ryan Torain wore them down. I'll repeat that, as I feel it bears repeating. ASU wore another team down. The backs were running between the tackles, around the ends, and catching passes in the flats and over the middle. Yay! The Devils aren't one dimensional anymore! Speaking of added dimensions...
DEFENSE!!!! D at last, D at last, thank God almighty, we have D at last! I'm giddy with excitement (obviously) as if Terrell Suggs had eleven clones with five years of eligibility apiece. The secondary was winning one-on-one battles against receivers, the linebackers were making plays, everyone was blitzing effectively, and there were a ton of run stopping plays by the d-line that rotated NINE players throughout the night with no noticible drop-off in play. I was really excited before the game to finally see Tranell Morant play along the line for the first time, but defensive coordinator Bill Miller was rotating players so much that I never saw him on the field (photographic evidence proved he played).
It had to be expected for Rudy Carpenter to have a bad game sooner or later. In many years passed, the Devils would have found a way to lose this game considering the poor QB play, but the running game and the D bailed the passing game out for a change. Hopefully Cqrp can learn from his mistakes and rebound with a solid day at Berkeley this Saturday, because we'll need the offense running on all cylinders to comete with Marshawn Lynch and company. Here are a few more unrelated thoughts on last wek's game.
Terry Richardson has pulled his head out of his ass nicely to be a major contributor on special teams, both as a kick and punt returner. He truly is one of the best in the nation.
Mobile quarterbacks haven't proved to be much of a problem for the Devil D. There is definitely improved speed on the ends with a healthy Kyle Caldwell and Dexter Davis, a freshman who is ahead of the learning curve.
Koetter has been using he roll-out in many situations, and I think it fits the personnel ASU has on offense. Carp is definitely mobile enough to add this threat, but I'm specifically talking about the Hell Hogs. Most of them are of the sleek, mobile lineman mold, so pulling lends itself to their collective agility and quikness. I'm still not so sre about being able to run it up the middle on 4th and one, though.
The running back situation seems to have shaken itself out, with Keegan Herring and Ryan Torain getting the bulk of the snaps. I don't think anyone in the ASU camp has any problems with this decision, nor would they if Dmitri Nance and Shaun DeWitty been the go-to guys. The Devils have some serious depth at tailback (finally), and have seemingly recovered from the truckload of injuries/thuggery that plagued the team just a few years ago.
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