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Dennis Erickson under fire and deservedly so

Is this the beginning of the end for Dennis Erickson at
Arizona State?

No, it’s not. The groundwork was laid when the coach
followed up a 10-3 debut with seasons of five, four and
six wins.

That is not the way to get the job done, and if it weren’t
for a bad economy there is a decent chance Erickson would
have been looking for a new job already. But, he still
wears maroon and gold, and for the first time since his
inaugural season is guiding a Sun Devils squad filled with
expectations.

While normally a good thing, being a preseason favorite to
win the Pac-12 South brings pressure not seen in a while,
a feeling that if the Sun Devils don’t compete for the
Rose Bowl or, at least, make it back to the postseason the
head coach will surely be out of a job.

One of Erickson’s former players, receiver Kerry Taylor,
thinks the 64-year-old coach’s days in Tempe are numbered.

Just did an interview about the problems of ASU football and why Dennis Erickson is NOT the right man for the job.less than a minute ago via Echofon Favorite Retweet Reply

I want ASU to win Pac12 Championships, all us ASU fans do. But in order for that to happen we need a new Head Coach. That’s all I’m saying.less than a minute ago via Echofon Favorite Retweet Reply

As a University of Arizona fan, few things make me happier
than to see a Sun Devils program in disarray. I’m
naturally still bitter about the
traveshamockery loss last December, and I
don’t fully buy into the idea of ‘Sun Devils: Pac-12 South
favorites.

However, Taylor’s tweets were rather puzzling.
Taylor, from all accounts, never seemed to have an issue
with Erickson during his four years in Tempe. Choosing to
go to the school and play for Erickson, Taylor isn’t a
player who had the misfortune of a coaching change during
his playing days. He signed to play for Erickson, and play
for Erickson he did.

Furthermore, it is not as if Taylor should feel like his
talents were wasted on the field. His last season was his
best, as he tallied a team-best 54 catches for a team-leading 699 yards and three touchdowns. Sure, bad
quarterback play didn’t help things, but Taylor wasn’t
exactly a top recruit whose chance at the NFL was ruined
by what happened to him in college. Quite the contrary, he
was a decent recruit who had a decent career. The reason
he was not selected in the NFL Draft has nothing to do
with how he was used at ASU, rather it was due to the fact
that he’s a short receiver who is not exceptionally fast.

Maybe, though, Taylor is upset about how his career
finished up. Going from 10 wins in his freshman season to
15 over his final three campaigns, the losing and lack of
positive national exposure surely got to the player. That
seems to be the issue at hand; for some reason he does not
think Erickson will ever get things going in Tempe.

As a biased Wildcats fan I can’t say I really disagree.
The only success Erickson has had was with Dirk Koetter’s
players, and the last three seasons have been derailed by
the very things that tend to plague Dennis Erickson
squads: mistakes.

Whether it is penalties, dropped balls, turnovers or
missed assignments, Erickson’s teams seem to self-destruct
on a semi-weekly basis. They’ve still won some games, of
course, because the roster is talented, but they’ve never
been so talented to where they can survive the
self-inflicted wounds. Erickson’s Miami teams, where he
made a name for himself, were. The ASU Sun Devils,
unfortunately (depending on your perspective), are not.
That is not likely to change for Arizona State any time
soon.

And that is probably what caused Taylor to speak out.

A four-year player, Taylor would love for nothing more
than to see the entire country “Fear the Fork,” and while
his method of speaking out is debatable, the fact that he
did speaks volumes of how he really feels. While many
would question him speaking out and saying these things,
you’d be hard pressed to find people who really, truly,
disagree with what he said.

While Taylor’s remarks won’t cause Erickson to lose his
job, they do add to the growing frustration with the
coach’s inability to turn things around in Tempe. Should
the high expectations go unmet, again, chances are good
Taylor will get his wish.