Thursday, August 02, 2007
The mainstream gets some love
Even though the mainstream media gets a lot of flack here in the blogosphere, the Valley outlets have been on the ball and done some impressive stuff. In addition to everything mentioned yesterday, Dan Zeiger of the East Valley Tribune does a preview of fall camp and addresses the top 10 questions facing the Sun Devil program. I was actually very taken by this quip of original thought from the first question, addressing the transition from Koetter to Erickson:
Something to watch — though, if it emerges, it will likely not be during the preseason — is how the Sun Devils respond to their coach’s let-players-be-players philosophy. Although Erickson preaches accountability, could ASU choke on the freedoms he gives?It lends itself to the preconceived notions that Erickson runs a thug program and that trouble brews out of his jetwash after he leaves a particular program, but the point is very valid. I could make the argument that one of the reasons my Fall '98 g.p.a. was a robust 0.67 was that I had too much free time to swill Killian's at the Vine and (theoretically) do bong hits on the roof of my house until 5 am. Just sayin'.
Over at the big paper, Jeff Metcalfe does an excellent job (as usual) of previewing some of the newer faces that will be big-time contributors this year including both newcomers and guys who have worked their way up the depth chart. He also pens a short piece on the coaching change and notes that Omar Bolden, the potential savior of the #2 corner position, will be allowed to practice. Per the same article I'm also stunned to find that the nephew of the O.G. Rudy is an ASU baseball recruit.
I don't know if it's the coaching change bringing new life to the program or that everybody really hated Koetter for being a jerk to the media, but even the local radio shows are getting on the Sun Devil bandwagon more than usual. KTAR has archived interviews with both Rudy Carpenter and Coach Erickson, and XTRA 910 has an additional hour-long interview with Carp (it's in 4 different parts). For the record I think XTRA's Bickley and Jurecki are twits and KTAR's Doug and Wolf are even worse, but it's nice to hear directly from the guys that are putting the work in to make things better on Saturdays this fall.
Coach E (can we start calling him Eazy-E?) is charismatic and easy to like, but I feel like I'm being set up for a letdown- the more I admire him, the more I know he's going to break my heart even worse, like retiring and leaving us on double-secret probation. Oh well, a smarter feller than myself once said, "tis better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all." Just get ASU to the BCS, that's all I ask. You can get more of Eazy's charm and wit by watching the video of Pac-10 Media day. After the link, click on "archived video"underneath Sparky and the site may require a brief and free registration.
Rudy comes off... like Koetter I guess- not to be insulting, but he's very cerebral and calculated. He sounds like he's coming to grips with who he is and who he needs to be as the leader of this team. He has a fragile psyche reliant upon confidence, which it sounds like he has regained after working with Eazy-E all spring and summer and attending the Manning Passing Academy as an instructor, where NFL scouts told him he has one of the most accurate balls in college today. He said he also really valued being able to pick Peyton Manning's brain at every available opportunity. That confidence will have time to solidify thanks to the home-heavy and soft early season schedule. What will be important is how he rebounds after a bad game or a loss. The playbook will be easier for players to grasp (I'm looking at you, wide receivers) since there's only one for the entire season- apparently Koetter used a different one for each week depending on the opponent.
Erickson's offense allows Carpenter to be more instinctive and quick-thinking as a quarterback rather than over-scheming and removing that intuitiveness that makes good quarterbacks great. Carp's also extremely happy that Offensive Coordinator Rich Olson isn't trying to change his throwing mechanics. He says he wants to “go back to how I was, how Jake [Plummer]was- just playing football.”
The interviews aren't all nuts and bolts. Rudy joked that he and the receivers have been working on end zone celebrations and that new kicker Thomas Weber needs to get ready to kick 35-yard extra points. On the upcoming season, he's looking forward to redeeming himself after last year's piss-poor performance against Cal and the Thanksgiving game against USC is circled on everyone's calendar, although they are all aware of the importance of the in-state rivalry.
“The biggest game for me every year is always UofA” Carpenter added, but after speaking of the emergence of the running game as a strength, he made the quote of the week: “I might not have a lot of TD passes this year but I’ll probably have about 5 or 6 against UofA.” Yippee!
See, the mainstream isn't so bad. I'm a total linkwhore for Everyday Should Be Saturday, but their site is down right now since they have server issues. Do you think espn ever has that problem? I think not. Eh, fuck that shit. On a final note, I have a new must-read-daily fanboy crush on another blog, Kissing Suzy Kolber. It takes "crude" to an artistic level and it's good enough that it actually makes me care about the NFL and fantasy football. Their pop-culture references make me look like a boorish 50-something golf-playing husband and they host a weekly reader's mock draft that's fucking spectacular. Pothead Simpsons fans really make the best journalists, after all.