It’s coming. And ASU knows it’s coming.
“If I’m USC or if I’m whoever we play down the road I’m going to look at what Illinois did to us and I’m sure as heck going to do it,” said head coach Dennis Erickson.
He’s referring to the blitz.
Illinois last week blitzed ASU more than the Sun Devils had seen in their previous two games. The Illini were also able to bring pressure with just a four-man rush, resulting in six sacks of Brock Osweiler.
“A lot of mental mistakes, probably more than anything; and then some technique things,” explained Erickson, who also put some of the blame on his quarterback.
“We didn’t get rid of the football,” he added. “In our offense, you’ve got to get rid of the football. That’s just part of it. There were times where the ball should’ve been out and it wasn’t out and we held it and got sacked. It wasn’t all the offensive line, believe me.”
“Everyone thinks it’s the o-line but it’s everything,” according to center Garth Gerhart. “It’s a combination of running backs, o-linemen not picking the wrong guy, receivers running the wrong routes. We just have to improve as a whole offense.”
Regardless of why it happened, Gerhart didn’t like seeing Osweiler hit and knocked around as much as he was.
“It’s rough on you as an offensive lineman because you’re seeing your man back there getting hurt and that’s who you want to protect. That’s your goal is to not get him hit. We didn’t do a very good job of that. We need to improve on that.”
Osweiler, who had only been sacked once heading into the Illinois game, called it a learning experience.
“All you can do is look back at the game tape in those pressure situations and say, ‘What could I have done better in this situation if anything?’ Hopefully those mistakes don’t happen again. You’ve just got to move on and get better from it.”
Erickson believes Osweiler will get better.
“He saw some different things that he hasn’t actually seen live. Next time he’ll react to it. He like all of them you get better the more you play, the more experience you get.”