Trojans view Sun Devils as cheap shot artists

Sep 21, 2011, 3:57 PM | Updated: 5:12 pm

Arizona State has not beaten USC in its last 11 tries, but with Pac-12 South supremacy on the line Saturday you better believe they’ll be extra motivated to get a win at Sun Devil Stadium.

Does that mean they’ll be more willing to play dirty? The Trojans think so.

According to Mark Saxon of ESPN.com, Lane Kiffin has his offense absorbing cheap shots and after-the-whistle hits during practice this week.

Most of the Trojans are familiar with the ASU defense — dented by injuries, but still talented and feisty — and its playmaking linebacker, Vontaze Burfict. The Trojans view Burfict as the ringleader of a unit of cheap-shot artists. How do we know this? Well, mainly because USC is making no effort to hide it.

Vontaze Burfict is the leader of an ASU defense that likes to prod its opponents into reaction penalties.
“We have clips of these guys just mauling guys after the play,” offensive lineman Matt Kalil said. “I think the big thing is for the young guys. They’re over there getting hit after plays and they may try to fight the other guy, but they don’t realize we’re doing that in preparation. If they hit you, just walk away.”

ASU — and Burfict — have had their fair share of issues with personal foul penalties, with flags being thrown for all sorts of different reasons.

However, to hear that a team is trying to work that into their gameplan is, well, interesting.

On the flip side, it could prove to be advantageous to the Sun Devils. USC seems ready to react — and maybe even retaliate — and some players may enter the game looking for trouble, especially when it comes to Burfict.

Like some other elite linebackers, he often inhabits that hazy area between controlled violence and mayhem. He’s a YouTube sensation, but an occasional liability to his own team because of his tendency to go off script.

To USC, he’s the focal point of the Trojans’ blocking schemes as well as the object of their hostility. Burfict, contacted through an ASU spokesman, declined to be interviewed for this story.

“If I see him standing around, I’ll drill him,” Kalil said. “I drilled him a couple times last year, so I’m sure he’ll be looking for me to get a little revenge.”

Preparing for late hits and cheap shots is one thing, but expecting them? That could lead to trouble, though for which team we can’t be sure.

Penguin Air

Arizona State Football

A Arizona State Sun Devils pylon with a football during the NCAAF game against the USC Trojans at S...
Arizona Sports

Pac-12 Conference to begin negotiations for next media rights agreements

The Pac-12 Board of Directors met on Tuesday and authorized the conference to immediately begin negotiations for new media rights agreements.
18 hours ago
(AP Photo/Ralph Freso)...
Arizona Sports

Pac-12 exploring all expansion options with USC, UCLA heading to Big Ten

The Pac-12 is looking into expansion following the decisions from USC and UCLA on Thursday to head to the Big Ten as early as 2024.
5 days ago
Basketballs are rolled off the court during the NCAAB game at McKale Center on January 03, 2022 in ...
Arizona Sports

Arizona ‘extremely disappointed’ in USC, UCLA leaving Pac-12 for Big Ten

The Arizona Wildcats broke their silence Friday regarding USC's and UCLA's plans to leave the Pac-12 for the Big Ten as early as 2024.
5 days ago
UCLA plays Oregon during a Pac-12 NCAA college football game at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif., ...
Arizona Sports

UCLA, USC to leave Pac-12 for Big Ten in 2024

UCLA and USC will be leaving the Pac-12 for the Big Ten, beginning in the 2024-25 season, the two schools confirmed on Thursday evening.
6 days ago
Defensive back Jordan Clark #1 of the Arizona State Sun Devils celebrates with the Territorial Cup ...
Nikash Nath

Kyle Soelle, Jordan Clark ready to lead new faces for ASU football

ASU junior CB Jordan Clark and senior captain LB Kyle Soelle are expected to lead a Sun Devils defensive that'll have many new faces in 2022.
12 days ago
Arizona State Sun Devils offensive lineman LaDarius Henderson (77) lines up during the college foot...
Nikash Nath

Arizona State OL LaDarius Henderson talks new culture amid low expectations

OL LaDarius Henderson has been with ASU since 2019 and is no stranger to experiencing personnel and cultural changes within the program.
21 days ago
Trojans view Sun Devils as cheap shot artists