Arizona State 2011

Arizona State (2010 Statistics)

The Sun Devils play on a grass field at Sun Devil Stadium (seats 71,706)

  • Dennis Erickson is in his 5th season as the head coach of Arizona State.  Last year they finished 6-6, which was a positive because at least it wasn’t a losing record like the previous two seasons (4-8 last year, 5-7 in 2009).  Erickson is obviously hoping his team can perform more like they did in his first season with ASU when they had a 10-3 record… and some are predicting the Sun Devils to win the newly formed Pac-12 South.
  • Why might they struggle?  They have to replace quite a few starters from last year, including unexpected ones such as cornerback Omar Bolden who tore his ACL in April and Senior defensive end James Brooks who has given up football, perhaps to focus on his hip-hop career? At least he’s staying in school (on scholarship) and finishing his education.  And they lose their top returning receiver in T.J. Simpson who also tore his ACL during the spring.  Quarterback Steven Threet (who began his career at Michigan) has retired due to a concussion issue.
  • Why they could have a great turnaround from last year?  Their offense was completely inexperienced in 2010 with new running backs, wide receivers and a new quarterback.  Furthermore, they had to replace three starters on the offensive line.  In contrast, this year, the top rushers all return, there is plenty of experience at receiver and the offensive line is in great shape.  They have almost the entire 2-deep back on the O-line and this will be critical for forming the basis of their offense, especially with a new quarterback.  But luckily the quarterback isn’t completely new…
  • Threet thrived in the ASU offense last year and led his team to a national ranking of 15th in passing offense.  However, there are even higher expectations for Junior QB Brock Osweiler.  He won two games

    QB Brock Osweiler

    for the Sun Devils last year coming in for an injured Threet.  Statistically he has been criticized, but he hardly had a chance to prove himself last year.  And his 55 attempts in 2009 barely count as three different quarterbacks were used that year in an attempt to replace Rudy Carpenter, whose 43 consecutive starts are an FBS record.  Accuracy has been a concern for this team, especially with the TD-INT ration Threet had last year (18-16), but Osweiler didn’t throw any interceptions in 2010.  His completion percentage was below 60, but those numbers are hard to judge for a reliever.

  • The defense struggled last year in defending against the pass, mostly because the area hardest hit by departures was defensive back.  Their rushing defense was great and finished ranked #1 in the Pac-10 and 16th in the nation.  This year the problem is the opposite.  The defensive line is the one hardest hit by departures and they essentially have just one starter returning. The defensive backs take a hit with the ACL injury to Bolden (see above), but overall they are more experienced.  The best news for this defense is that the linebacker unit returns the team’s top two tacklers from 2010.
  • Some have said that the Sun Devils’ schedule is relatively manageable and should help them succeed.  However, I think non-conference opponents Illinois and Missouri will both be challenging as well as Pac-12 games against USC, Utah, Oregon, Arizona and Cal.