ASU looking strong coming off of Week 6
ASU is now 5-1. I think a lot of people predicted a fast start for ASU, but to be half-way home and achieve that success means a little more than pre-season prognostications.
What a performance by the ASU defense. Again.
Utah needed a fake punt to keep a drive alive and a flea flicker to get the ball in the red zone. The defense gained five turnovers while only allowing 14 points.
The tackling was terrible a few weeks ago against Mizzou and the Devils still won. Other than that game, there has been zero opponents who have scored more than two touchdowns. Think about the strength of a team that is 5-1 and opponents can only manage to score two TDs.
Coach Bray has lost Omar Bolden, Brandon Magee and Junior Onyeali. Osahon Irabor missed the last 35 minutes against Utah. Will Sutton was cramping during the game. Despite these injuries and issues, Bray is coaching one of the top 20 defenses in the country. If healthy, this defense would be in the top five in the nation.
The coaching against Utah was phenomenal on the offensive side too. Mazzone realized that Utah was selling out to stop the run and everything was open behind the linebackers. Mike Willie and Gerrell Robinson had a field day on posts, square-ins and quick slants. How many times do you see an offensive coordinator continually knock his head against a wall thinking something will break? Mazzone reacted, adjusted and dominated.
I also loved watching Mike Willie and Gerrell Robinson for their accomplishments when compared to their production this season. Robinson has been an excellent blocking receiver in the Mazzone offense but he’s never been a consistent possession receiver; many a game Robinson has put good passes on the ground. Not Saturday.
Willie hasn’t been solid on his route running. You can tell when Osweiler has been just a hair off on his throws to him because Willie isn’t quite in the right spot, but not on Saturday. From my sideline vantage point, I saw one bad route from Willie the whole game. He was a force against Utah. I love seeing players who struggle show what they can do.
The negatives for ASU against Utah were the same as the week before. Slow starts. ASU still needs to learn that champions don’t “rise” to the occasion. A champion is up for every occasion. Oregon State and Utah are completely inferior teams to ASU, yet the beginning of each game wouldn’t make you so sure of that. The only thing holding down ASU is themselves. At 5-1, it’s not that big of a problem.
Worry about Oregon later, boys and celebrate the journey so far.