TEMPE, Ariz. — Will Sutton does not have a weight problem.
His problem, he said, is the constant double-teaming he’s facing each and every week. That and that alone is why his numbers are down from a year ago.
“People think it’s my weight (he’s listed at 305 pounds), but they don’t understand that teams are gunning for me now,” he said after practice Wednesday. “It’s a lot harder to make plays now when you’ve got double-teams. Even on some double-teams, I’m still in the backfield, it’s just they’re running away. They’re running power away, pulling the guard, blocking back, chopping me. It’s a little tougher.”
Last season, Sutton became ASU’s 18th Consensus All-American after he posted 23.5 tackles for loss, 63 total tackles and 13.0 sacks.
This season, he’s been credited with 0.5 tackles for loss and nine total tackles. He does not have a sack.
“I’m doing my job,” said Sutton, the reigning Pac-12 Pat Tillman Defensive Player of the Year. “Nobody is running through my gap. I’m still getting pressure on the pass. I’m still doing my job. It’s just people look at it as he’s not making plays, so let’s find something, pick something negative, but I’m not even listening to it. I’m just going out here, working every day.
“I don’t get frustrated at all. I know when I look at the film the next day I did my start, so it’s not frustrating at all.”
Also not frustrated is ASU head coach Todd Graham, who has seen the schemes teams employ to contain Sutton change.
“Almost most of the time,” he said when asked how often Sutton faces a double-team. “What I mean by that is whether they’re sliding to him and doubling with the center or the guard, or they’ll put a back on him and chip him, but in all the pass plays he’s been extremely active.”
Sutton gained nearly 20 pounds in the offseason, trying to shed the label of “undersized defensive tackle.” The added weight, however, was described as “bad weight” by one NFL scout. Sutton disagreed.
“(I’m) just as fast; probably not faster, but just as fast (as last season), he said. “Stronger though; a lot stronger. That’s a good thing.”
The one weighty issue Sutton is concerned with is the weight he feels on his shoulders to get his team back in the win column Saturday against USC.
“This controls who’s ahead in the South,” he said. “This game is going to be real big.”