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Green: A UofA fan’s take on ASU

OK, first off, let me just admit that I am fairly biased
when I judge anything ASU. As a University of Arizona
graduate, the mere thought of Maroon and Gold makes me
want to, well, throw up. Of course, living in Phoenix and
working for KTAR, the flagship station of the Sun Devils,
means at the very least I have to pay attention to what
goes on over in Tempe. Which is exactly what I did
Saturday night.

The Devils opened their season against Idaho State and,
after a slow start, finally got their act together and
made sure the scoreboard appeared as it should when a Pac
10 squad takes on a team as bad as the Bengals: 50-3.

Now, as much as I would have loved to see the Sun Devils
lose, I knew the chances of that happening were about the
same as the Diamondbacks’Eric Byrnes actually being worth
his contract but still, a Wildcat could dream.

But instead the defense, which figures to be the Sun
Devils’ strength this year, stepped up and dominated a
helpless Bengals offense.

Senior linebacker Mike Nixon picked off three passes,
returning one for a touchdown, and the rest of the defense
allowed a measly four first downs and 37 total yards. That
would be called domination. It would also be called taking
advantage of a cupcake opponent.

Biased or not, you can’t argue that this was not expected.
And it wasn’t all great for ASU Saturday night. I’m not
trying to make you Sun Devil fans feel bad – oh wait,
maybe I am – but the offense certainly had its fair share
of struggles.

Senior Danny Sullivan wasn’t good or bad; he was solid.
His numbers would have looked much better if his receivers
could have just caught the ball, but instead more than one
touchdown pass fell disappointingly to the turf.

The running game was solid all night, but not spectacular.

And, depending on how you look at it, freshman Brock
Osweiler coming in during the third quarter and later
throwing a touchdown pass could be a great thing for the
team or, really, be one of the worst things that could
happen.

We all know that most Devils fans want Osweiler to be the
team’s QB. The true freshman has a ton of potential – even
I can’t deny that – and there is a general feeling that
the team’s ceiling with Sullivan running the show just
isn’t that high.

From what I’ve heard and read, even in a win, people are
now calling for the freshman to take over. While he may
end up being a great QB and the future of the program, is
that really fair to Sullivan, who has patiently waited for
his turn and done things the right way while doing so? USC
may be going with a freshman QB, but come on now, the
talent around Matt Barkley is far superior to what is
running out of the tunnel at Sun Devil Stadium.

Sullivan was under pressure for much of the night, as it
doesn’t seem the offensive line has gotten much better
from last season’s train wreck. Combine that with
receivers who can’t hold onto the ball and you have a
recipe for disaster for any QB, let alone a freshman.

Oh, and the Sun Devils committed 8 penalties for 67 yards,
something that surely will not make Dennis Erickson a
happy coach.

Really, after one week, the Sun Devils are where they want
to be when it comes to their record. They get a week off
before a game Louisiana Monroe (which they need to win)
and then head to Georgia to take on the Bulldogs. While a
2-1 record after three games is the likely scenario for
ASU, if they don’t improve in many areas it could be
another long season in Tempe.

Which would be fine with me.