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Doug: A letter to Mr. & Mrs. Sullivan

October 5, 2009

Mr. Sean Sullivan
Mrs. Dina Sullivan
Some home address
Los Gatos, CA

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Sullivan:

I wanted to take a minute and let you know you’ve done an outstanding job raising your son, Danny. Since I’m the sideline reporter for ASU football and a Phoenix sports-talk show host, I’ve met him on numerous occasions. I’ve also seen him in many situations where he’s not around you. As a parent, I know how you wonder and worry. I can tell you on plane flights and the practice field, he’s exactly the person you raised him to be.

When there are 28,006 empty seats, it’s easy to say ASU fans have no passion. I think attendance should be used as a judge of fan passion. I admit the lack of attendance is a joke. There are some fans with a deep love of ASU. I know at real football schools they get over 30,000 for pre-season scrimmages. I went to an ASU pre-season scrimmage with 2,000 passionate ASU fans. There aren’t many but please don’t judge all ASU fans by the empty seats.

Clearly, ASU has more “wanna be” fans who don’t go to games while claiming to be fans and “haters who pretend to be fans” than almost any school in the country. After listening to fans boo your son’s every move and chant “we want Brock,” it’s easy to question the intelligence of ASU fans as well. I realize it sounds like a majority of fans who are attacking your son. I think most of the boos were for the offense as a whole. I can find no fault with booing the offense. I’ve always said that if a college kid doesn’t want to hear the boos, they can go to a small college to avoid the spotlight. Once a kid chooses a BCS school, they are asking for a higher level of scrutiny.

I don’t want you to think I’m here sugar coating anything. Danny is not a great QB. He’s a guy that must have weapons around him to succeed. He’s not a playmaker. He relies on others to do their job and he’s not good enough to carry a team when others make mistakes. I’m not attacking your son’s abilities by giving you my unsolicited opinion. I think it’s fair to give you a frame of reference as you read this. I’m a fan of your son as a young man but he’s got a lot to prove as a QB.

I thought if I gave you some stats, you would be able to disagree on an intellectual plane with the ASU fans who boo your son while you’re watching the game.

Special teams were so bad that the average start to an ASU drive was the ASU 21. Six of those drives started inside the 20. The ASU offense isn’t good enough to recover from poor field position.

There were five offensive penalties forcing Danny to regain yardage that was already earned.

On Danny’s 58 attempts he was hit or pressured from the pocket on 16 of them.

Danny’s receivers dropped five passes but that wasn’t the half of it. On nine different passes a receiver ran a bad route that had no chance of success or actually ran the wrong route due to a poor read.

On three of the passes the snap was over Danny’s head or a ground ball back to him.

There was only one drive with no dropped passes, no bad snaps and no penalties. That drive resulted in a touchdown to open the second half.

There’s also a line you might hear from fans who want Brock to start because it’s time to start the future. Don’t worry. Those fans have no idea what they’re talking about. It shows their lack of knowledge of ASU football. ASU has a HS recruit coming from California that receives rave reviews from recruiting magazines. They have Brock who will be a sophomore. Szakacsy will be a junior. Of course, most ASU fans have no idea how good Steven Threet — who transferred from Michigan and will be a senior — has looked in practice. Threet will be a strong contender to start next year. The idea that anyone knows who the QB of the future is for the Devils has no idea what they’re talking about.

There are people in the stands that know football well enough not to attack your son. I’m not going to lie to you. Danny must play better. There are times when plays break down that a player has to make a play. Right now, Danny is just one more non-playmaker on an offense full of them. It’s just important for you to know that out of all the problems for ASU right now QB play is about the 12th biggest problem.

I hope this information helps you. I hope the next time you come to a game that you don’t automatically assume every fan is out to get your son. I promise you, there are knowledgeable passionate football fans at ASU. If the fans have made you bitter, don’t worry. There’s no way Dennis Erickson will be able to recruit kids to a half empty stadium that turns on its players.

I really believe the knowledgeable ASU fans will win out.


Doug Franz
Doug and Wolf co-host
Sports 620 KTAR