ASU looks forward to next year after big win
TEMPE- Arizona State may not have made it to a bowl game, but winning the Territorial Cup in Tucson served as a consolation.
How fitting that in a season where extra points doomed the Sun Devils, two blocked extra points proved to be the difference in beating Arizona.
“That’s one of the bigger wins I been involved in,” said ASU head coach Dennis Erickson. “Because of how the season went and how the game went. I don’t know that I’ve been in a game like that in all of the years I been coaching where the emotions were up and down, back and forth.”
One of the heroes for ASU was kicker Thomas Weber. Weber, who went five for five in field goals, started the game with a 52-yarder. In a first half dominated by defense, Weber provided the offensive spark for the Sun Devils.
Winning the Duel in the Desert gave ASU a positive note to end on, but Erickson is less than satisfied.
“We made progress but didn’t win enough games,” he said. “Our goal every year is to play for the Pac-10 Championship, we didn’t do that. Go to a bowl, didn’t do that. And beat Arizona, which we did do.
“I guess one out of three isn’t very good unless you’re playing Major League Baseball.”
ASU, who had the smallest senior class in the Pac-10, will look to build on the momentum as they have many players returning next year.
“I really like where [the program’s] at. It’s taken probably a little bit longer than I thought,” said Erickson. “I believe next year will be a great year for us. We just got a lot of work to do. But we have a lot of the parts coming back in the puzzle, and that’s the key.
“Our players know where they’re at and what they’ve got to do. They also have got to learn from some of the mistakes we made during the year that may have had an influence on us losing football games.”
Erickson also points to the offense, specifically the offensive line and the running game, as areas of improvement this year.
ASU’s staff will shift their focus to recruiting as signing day approaches in February. Erickson views the linebacker and defensive tackle spots as positions that need to be filled over the next two years.
One position that may be up for grabs next season will be the quarterback spot. Both Brock Osweiler and Steven Threet showed they can be productive, efficient playmakers.
“We’re going to let it go through spring football and then make a decision. I want to make it after spring football but as far as I’m concerned, it’s a tossup right now,” said Erickson.
Listen to Dennis Erickson on with Doug and Wolf