Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Enemy Line - Sun Devil Went Down to GA

Almost time to rosin up the bow...

In my never-ending quest to be half the rockstar that David Hale is...I decided to copy his correspondence with the enemy idea. My hope is that it would turn out better than when I tried to emulate his interviewing skills at the Coach Richt Meet and Greet. I wasn't surprised when a chicken didn't return my email. It is afterall, inherent in their name. I got a little frustrated last week with the razorbacks...then realized they're probably not quite used to this new internet thingie.

But Justin at PitchforkNation was kind enough to return the email, even despite the fact that real bloggers like PWD and Catfish&Cornbread had brought them up to speed on all things Dawg. However, in return I was able to get Justin to graciously agree to bring a true freshman placekicker and several beers from Gordon Biersch. You know, since they ran out prematurely last year in Tempe.

We'll take any advantage we can get, right?

We've read where ASU has sold their 6500 allotment of tickets to Saturday's out of conference matchup between the Sun Devils and the Bulldogs. Can Dawg fans expect to host more Sun Devil fans outside of the stadium?

I don't think so. The economic downturn hit some Sun Devil fans pretty hard, so many had to cancel their travel plans altogether. However, the ASU allotment of tickets did go quickly and we'll be there in full force looking for a 3rd straight victory AND for revenge for the whooping your guys put on us at Sun Devil Stadium.

It looks like the injury bug has been running rampant in the ASU locker room as well. Who are the Sun Devils missing the most? And what's the latest on kicker Thomas Weber's injury? Does it look like he'll make the trip? If not, how much will ASU miss his leg?

I'm merging my answer for these two questions because as soon as the Sun Devils began to get healthy at the right part of the year, the blow of losing Thomas Weber for 5-6 weeks set us right back. Weber, of course, was the 2007 Groza winner as a true freshman and has been easily the best kicker this program has seen in decades. He's not just a kicker; he's one of the most dangerous offensive and special teams weapons this team has considering that his range on FG's is outstanding, he booms kickoffs through the end zone and admirably handles our punting. It's a tough pill to swallow to have to miss our kicker...something I never thought I'd ever say.

The Devils offensive line, like usual, is banged up. Thomas Altieri will play again at center and I think he's a major step back from Garth Gerhart, the 1st stringer. However, everyone else seems to be getting healthier; having Lawrence Guy back on the defensive line and Shelly Lyons healthy for depth at LB makes this nasty defense even more intimidating.

Our DC is looking to placate fans who are disgruntled with a defense that is bending and breaking, hesitant to cover passes or tackle... What can we expect to see out of Coach Dennis Erickson's offense this year? Is there a specific playmaker that could use a generous dose of ExLax with his pregame meal?

We haven't seen a lot, honestly. DE hasn't opened up the playbook enough so far in games against Idaho State and Louisiana-Monroe to give us a real look at what this offense might be able to do. However, despite putting up 88 points in two games, I still have my doubts about this team's ability to move the ball.

The unit is still led by senior Danny Sullivan, who despite being in the system for 3+ years still looks uncertain of his skills. Dimitri Nance emerged as the Devils' clear #1 at running back against the Warhawks but, as you know, running backs are only as good as the line they run behind. That could create a problem on Saturday. Kerry Taylor is back healthy at WR and his presence only adds to a sick group of receivers...Taylor, Chris McGaha and Kyle Williams are all dynamic playmakers who can make things happen very long as they actually catch the ball.

It looks like the 2-0 record ASU is bringing has come rather easily. Has Erickson used the first two games to get some snaps for players buried on the depth chart?

It has. No one ever disputed the fact that the Bengals and Warhawks weren't quality opponents. However, it has been nice to see the depth this team sports, especially at running back. The Devils boast guys like Nance, freshman Cameron Marshall and dynamic sophomore Ryan Bass in the backfield and Nance and Marshall have both received significant carries so far, despite the fact that neither have really been remarkably impressive nor stepped forward to grab the starting job.

Along the defensive line, this team is stacked. The Devils are without James Brooks this weekend for the 3rd game of a 3 game suspension, but Dean DeLeone has stepped in admirably for him. Lawrence Guy will be back in full force on Saturday but Saia Falahola performed very nicely in his absence and provides nice depth there as well.

Then comes that nagging question at quarterback. Fans have been clamoring for months to see highly touted freshman QB Brock Osweiler get meaningful snaps since, in my opinion, he's clearly the most refined and most talented signal caller the Sun Devils have. However, Sullivan has "seniority" and clearly beat out current 3rd stringer Samson Szakacsy (who has a noodle for an arm but great wheels) for the starting job. Sullivan has looked OK in his first two games but I wouldn't be surprised to see him get the hook if he struggles on Saturday. On the flip side, if you put in Osweiler and he performs poorly under this kind of pressure, you don't get that kind of confidence back. It's a double edged sword here for Arizona State.

Lastly, please give the lovely waitresses at The Library our best. And we hope Gordon Biersch was finally able to replenish their beer supply. Tempe = awesome.

The Library says hi to you, though I'm not the biggest fan of that place. I'm more of a The Big Bang kind of guy. However, Gordon Biersch does have some of the best beer in the world...Marzen flows in my bloodstream.

Tempe is awesome but I can't wait to get down to Athens on Saturday and experience all the SEC has to offer. To your readers: if you see a short guy with curly hair wandering around with a Sun Devil jersey on, rope me into your tailgate. I promise, I'm a nice guy!

So there you have it, straight from the Devil's mouth. Look for Justin Saturday, give him a cold one and when he asks - "Granny does your dog bite?" Your reply:

Especially 'tween the hedges Son.

September 20th, 2008
Outside Sun Devil Stadium
Go Dawgs!

1 comment:

Silver Dawg said...

I plan to be a great host for the Sun Devils. Will invite them for a drink or munchies after the game at the tails-gate. And, will give them the most heart-felt good-bye I can---

"Bless your hearts".