Monday, December 31, 2007

 

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.

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Comments:
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