Monday, December 31, 2007
Sullivan better than Carpenter? HELL NO
You've got to be kidding me. People are jumping ship on Carpenter after a couple of bad outings and are calling for backup Danny Sullivan to compete for the starting job when spring camp begins in March. Arrogant? Yes. Erratic and unconventional? Guilty. But Sullivan is NOT better than Carpenter, and to declare him so after a good stint of mop up duty in awfully harsh.
Danny Sullivan had moderate success during mop-up duty in the Holiday bowl. He went 7-14 for 118 yards with a pick and a score, which is ok but not job promotion good. Besides, Texas had softened their coverage, playing a bit of umbrella/prevent passing defense, which we all know doesn't work. In other action this season, he stepped in to the UCLA game and turned a nearly locked-up game into a nail biter by fumbling the ball away to the Bruin defense. That fumble was no fluke, if you watch tape on Sullivan he (just guessing here) probably fumbled in more than half of his career appearances. As previously noted on this site, the ball won't give you cancer, Danny.
Paying little mind to the Holiday Bowl, Carpenter is 21-10 as ASU's starter and is on track to break school records in career games won, passing touchdowns, and passing yards. He is taking entirely too much blame for ASU's three losses, when in fact he should be given credit for carrying the offense after losing one of the Pac-10's top running backs in Ryan Torain and surviving that abysmal pass blocking.
Rudy Carpenter is one of the top quarterbacks in the Pac-10, a conference known for producing top-notch quarterbacks. Based on returning starters for 2008, it's hard to say he won't be an all-conference selection heading into next season. It's probably still too early for Jake locker, and don't try to sell me that Tuitama lemon. Ok, maybe Longshore, but is that something you want to gamble away by putting your faith in a backup with zero starts and fewer that 40 career passing attempts over two years?
Carpenter is definitely a polarizing figure, and another quarterback competition/controversy could prove detrimental to team unity, especially this early in Erickson's tenure. A promising 2006 team never got a chance after the Sam Keller switcheroo incident finishing a very meh 7-6, and the suggestion of Carpenter splitting practice reps with Sullivan would likely lead the Sun Devils down the same path. those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. You don't lose your job going into your senior season. An ASU coach tried that once, and it blew up in his face eventually costing him his job. The suggestion is ludicrous, and Rudy has proven himself on the field. He gives his all on every play and he's a fiery competitor that should be leading ASU in the Pac-10 title hunt next season.
Sullivan better than Carpenter? HELL YES
Danny Sullivan stepped in to the Holiday Bowl against Texas' starting defense and marched the Sun Devils down the field for two scores, throwing 7-14 for 118 yards including going 5-5 on his first drive. He's had some serious butterfingers his entire collegiate career but he showed all of us on Thursday that he's capable of running this team. He obviously possesses a stronger arm that Carpenter, and he's able to throw the ball with zip in addition to airing it out on the long bombs. Sullivan appeared to have better field vision (being taller helps), and for someone with so little game experience he did a good job of making his progressions and reads without locking on to a single receiver, something Carpenter is guilty of doing every so often. Despite being bigger, Sullivan isn't the concrete-footed sloth we're used to seeing in the maroon and gold pocket. (see Walter, Andrew and Keller, Sam) In fact, he looked far more elusive than the smaller Carpenter. Remember how early on in the season Carpenter's mobility was supposed to be a strength? My how times change.
The most important and noticeable difference between Carpenter and Sullivan in the Holiday Bowl is that Sullivan seems to be able to lead receivers on passing routes, which is what Erickson/Olson's offense is designed to do. If you look at the delicious 41-9 Fiesta Bowl massacre of Notre Dame, Erickson's Oregon State team burned the Irish secondary with catch and runs by Chad Johnson and TJ Hooshmazoo. Carpenter's receivers always seem to be leaping, diving, and contorting themselves to make spectacular catches where they immediately fall to the ground or out of bounds. As a former hockey goalie, I was taught that the spectacular saves you see on NHL 2Night were the result of the goaltender being out of position, not because of some sort of freakish skill. If he were in position, the save would have been made in lackluster fashion, the puck would have been covered, and a faceoff would have ensued. Dominick Hasek was the exception, but any goalie coach will tell you to never watch Hasek for technique. Where was I? Oh yes, leading the receivers. Chris McGaha is an incredible athlete- he won a slam dunk contest in high school- his athletic ability would be on some serious display if he was able to catch and run rather than snare all of Rudy's over/underthrown balls. Kyle Williams has Shaun MacDonald explosiveness (not hands, obviously) and pre-injury Brandon Smith (remember him?) was garnering comparisons to Chad Johnson in fall camp. Hard to say what Mike Jones can do since he usually runs out routes, but you don't play Pac-10 football and baseball by being a slouch. All four of these guys return next season, along with athletic Kerry Taylor and Nate Kimbrough. It would be nice to take advantage of them.
And finally, I'm not hanging out with the players but Carpenter seems like a locker room cancer and his rumored smack talking coupled with the sideline tirades are embarrassing our school. I hate to say it, but he looks like a budding Mike Stoops. The offensive line hasn't been great this year, but not everyone responds well to being called out in front of 71,000 people. There's a reasonable possibility that the pass blocking wasn't that great on purpose. Despite the negative attention another QB controversy would bring to ASU, it's time for an open competition under center.
Saturday, December 15, 2007
I fucking love love love Ty Abbott. He rebounds like a starving man fighting for a buffet ticket and he chucks threes with reckless abandon. He's a little fella too, straight scrappy. Plays tough defense, and isn't afraid to use his body. Marques Johnson pointed out that Abbott "hip-checked" a Muskateer while scrambling for a loose ball. James Harden is getting a lot of the attention this season, but Ty is my boy early on. He has a lot of Jason Braxton/Alton Mason in him, and if you know who either of those guys are I'll give you a shiny nickel because you, sir, are a true fan. Nineteen points is a prett good total for somebody who's "that other local guy" among this year's freshmen.
I was going to post a pic of Scrappy Doo, but Abbott is more like the chickenhawk. Besides, I never liked Scrappy anyway and the chickenhawk is a badass.
The one-three-one defense! Xavier is a tremendously talented team, at least physically, and the 1-3-1 gave them fits for most of the day. ASU has enough hustle and raw speed on defense that using this cover package can negate obvious physical mismatches, but no one is saying we're going to roll UCLA, Arizona, or the rest of the conference; ASU got a ton of bounces and had a staggering field goal percentage today. Add to that, Xavier looks like they went out to Mill Avenue last night. Maybe it's because it's right after finals and maybe it's jet lag, but I kept waiting for them to turn it on and they simply couldn't.
Good job on not rushing the court. Way to act like you've been there before.
That's right, two posts in one day after months of silence. I do what I can. I'll gladly accept auditions for a second contributor to the blog, preferably one that lives in/near Tempe and can actually watch/go to the basketball games. Just email me something that includes 1) a story about ASU athletics and 2) an anecdote about something stupid you and your friends did while under the influence- we're obviously running a tight ship here. Zap them to me via the intertubes at houseofheat of the gmail variety.
Holiday Bowl Warm up
I've never cared too much for Texas, and growing up in Oklahoma I didn't find too many folks who did. They weren't the hated archrival that they are today; in the 1980's the Horns were in a relative slump and Oklahoma was contending for the National Championship every season. Our bitter rival was Nebraska, as more often than not the winner of that game would play against Miami in the Orange Bowl with major title implications. Texas wasn't even a conference game in those days, as they were still the overlords of the old SWC. Obviously times have changed, but I still have loyalties to the Sooners. This game will be a lot of fun for me, even though I'll be watching it from my couch.
We're not just playing the University of Texas- we're playing the whole state, which happens to be a republic. Despite a number of quality football programs in the Lone Star state, the people of Texas unite around the Longhorns the same way they do with the Cowboys. This game will be very special for the eight Native Texans on the ASU roster.
# Name: Hometown (high school)
1 Mike Jones: Sugarland, TX (Fort Bend Austin)
20 Jonathan Clark: Arlington, TX (Seguin)
23 Chris Baloney: Houston, TX (Langham Creek)
31 Dmitri Nance: Euless, TX (Trinity)
46 Jeff Bereuter: Irving, TX (MacArthur)
48 Chad Lindsey: Houston, TX (Cypress Ridge)
71 Saia Falahola: Euless, TX (Trinity)
78 Julius Orieukwu: Houston, TX (Bellaire)
Leading up to big games against USC, Coach Kush was notorious for motivating the Sun Devil players who were California natives by taunting them during practice for never having been recruited by the Trojans. Dennis Erickson may or may not employ this strategy, but there ought to be at least some sort of chip applied to the shoulders of each of the aforementioned Texans.
Dmitri Nance received no recruiting attention from the Horns having split backfield time in his junior year, and he took it upon himself to recruit the Sun Devils leading up to his breakout senior year where he finished second all-time in single season yards in Texas 5A high school football history. Number one, of course, is Texas alum Cedric Benson.
Mike Jones was on Texas' radar but wasn't exactly a priority for Mack Brown's staff. From a 2003 Scout.com article:
Texas ATH Michael Jones has had good December trips to Oklahoma St and Arizona St. Missouri is set for this weekend. But if Texas comes calling, those trips won't matter much.The offer never came but Jones isn't exactly ho-humming around Tempe, he's busy catching game-winning passes against U of A.
Sugar Land Austin (TX) WR/ATH Michael Jones says he'll commit to the Texas Longhorns if they come through with an offer. "They haven't talked to me about offering," says Jones. "But they've told me to keep them in mind. If they offered, I'd commit.
Who? MIKE JONES!
Heeeeey Pardner! For the rest of you who will be watching the Holiday Bowl on tv like me, take solace: Brent Musberger will be calling the game. Sure, we'll have to deal with him calling us "Wildcats" every so often (as he did during the 2005 Insight Bowl), not to mention the constant polestroking of Texas from the powerhouse Big XII sponsored by Dr. Pepper Jackaroooot, but there's one thing that will soothe the pain: the Brent Musberger Drinking game. Win or lose, you'll drink more booze.
If you're going to the game, the shirt shown above is available in maroon at Hornhater.com. The website, which is affiliated with no single school in particular, also accepts special orders on other colors (ahem, GOLD) so get cracking and be sure to get a batch in time for the trip to San Diego.
The Pacific Life Holiday Bowl
Thursday, December 27
8 pm EST on espn
Thursday, December 06, 2007
All is right with the world...AGAIN
Three in a row. Seven of the last nine. UA's bowlless streak is nine and counting while ASU will go to their fourth straight. 364 more days of knowing we're better than them. So what if we're not going to the BCS. Unless you're in the title game, big freaking whoop (there's also several million dollars at stake, but I digress). A tilt with Texas in the Holiday Bowl is nothing to sneeze at, especially since one important fact seems to be overlooked: ASU is co- Pac-10 Champions!
I'm not as butt hurt as most seem to be about the snub, but the only solace I can take is that even though ASU got the shaft, Missouri got the double-ended multi-pronged gas-powered behemoth of a shaft, having beaten two BCS participants in Kansas and Illinois yet still sit on the outside looking inward. ASU controlled it's own destiny and lost it's two biggest challenges against Oregon and USC. Tough titty, but a two-loss team shouldn't be in the BCS anyway. If it's any consolation the Holiday Bowl has been labeled by the talking heads as on of the best non-BCS matchups.
The silver lining in all of this: look who still has a job!
A fun tidbit to think about before your focus shifts to Texas: when was the last time anyone rushed the field after defeating U of A at home?
EDIT: Best joke I heard all weekend- How do you keep a wildcat from masturbating?
A: paint his junk maroon and gold and he won't be able to beat it for years.