CFN’s early look at Arizona State

The overview starts here.

Of most interest to me is what they have to say about QB Rudy Carpenter. CFN likes him, but it’s qualified.

… Noticeably more confident and comfortable (and a little too cocky at times), he helped lead the Sun Devils to 10 wins, despite getting pressured relentlessly and sacked more than any quarterback in the country. Of course, he could help the situation by moving a little better in the pocket and making faster reads. At 6-2 and 202 pounds, he may not have a cannon, but he can make all the throws when there’s time to survey the field. A fiery competitor who’ll play through pain, his intensity can be both a blessing and a curse for the offense.

Strength: Carpenter. USC aside, no Pac-10 program has a more stable situation at quarterback than Arizona State. If Carpenter can tighten up the little things in his game and get an extra tick or two to throw, he’ll challenge for First Team All-Pac-10 honors.
Weakness: Consistency. Even after three years as the starter, Carpenter isn’t a finished product. He’s still prone to forcing passes or putting them up for grabs and needs to know when to dial down the intensity a notch or two.

Add to that this summary about the ASU offensive line (which was none too great on pass protection last year)…

Watch Out For… Arizona State to use more screens and simplified schemes to keep Carpenter on his feet. The offense will have to get creative to compensate for the rebuilt line, which will also mean quicker drops and forcing Carpenter to release the ball with a greater sense of urgency.
Strength: The guards. Fanaika and Lauvao are a couple of formidable building blocks who are experienced and capable of creating for running room for the Sun Devils’ stable of backs.
Weakness: The tackles. Potentially the weakest link on the team, Arizona State has had problems protecting the passer over the past few seasons. Now, it’ll try to improve with two new starters, one who played on the other side of the ball as a freshman. Watch your back, Rudy.
Outlook: The Sun Devils have tinkered with their offense in the offseason in an effort to reduce the number of hits Carpenter takes. That’s a sign the coaching staff has no confidence putting the offensive line in a conventional setting. The guards will be fine, but Pollak’s departure from the pivot will be felt, and the tackles will be liabilities against the league’s better pass rushers.

… and it seems fairly obvious what Georgia needs to do to be able to slow ASU down on offense.

Three factoids of note from ASU’s 2007 season:

  • 3-0 in games decided by four points or less
  • Sacks: Opponents 55 for 382 yards – Arizona State 29 for 214 yards
  • First quarter scoring: Opponents 128 – Arizona State 50


UPDATE: Last season’s starting tight end won’t return for 2008, according to this story. (h/t The Wizard of Odds)


Filed under Georgia Football, Media Punditry/Foibles, Pac-12 Football

8 responses to “CFN’s early look at Arizona State

  1. dean

    I can’t get over that sack difference. Is it me or is picking yourself up off the ground 55x’s a lot? And I thought Greene had it bad in ’03 when he got sacked like 40 something times.


  2. It’s not you. That’s a lot of knockdowns.

    I watched ASU play a couple of times last year. Carpenter tends to get rattled under pressure (see CFN’s reference to “consistency”). If Martinez can get a pass rush throughout the game with his front four, I think Georgia can handle these guys on offense.


  3. dean

    I watched their bowl game against Texas and Carpenter seemed more interested in talking junk than playing the game. I thought to myself then that this kid will never be the kind of leader a QB has to be to win championships. He’s got the tools from the neck down but north of that he’s got some work to do.
    If we are as deep as we look on paper on the D-line and they are as inconsistent on the O-line as most people say they are then getting pressure with our front four shouldn’t be a problem.
    I know this game is getting all kind of hype but in all honesty I don’t expect it to be close. I’m not just saying that as a UGA homer. I don’t see them matching up with our starters or subs. I’m not saying blow out (like their bowl game) but probably 2 TD’s and that’s with ASU scoring one late. 78 days and COUNTING!!


  4. HamDawg11

    I’m callin’ blowout. I think 20+ points is gonna happen. Our D will probably get at least one score and set up another.

    Poor Rudy…I almost feel sorry for him. Note that I said “ALMOST”. The UGA game will be a loooong day for Mr. Carpenter.


  5. I went back and looked at the 2007 ASU-USC game stats on ESPN to see how things went against a comparable defense.

    Carpenter’s numbers weren’t bad – 21/30, 240 yds, 1 TD, 0 INT – but there was this:

    USC’s defense overwhelmed Arizona State, sacking Rudy Carpenter six times and briefly knocking him out of the game with a cut lip. Defensive end Lawrence Jackson had four sacks, most in a game by a Trojans player since 1989.

    “They came to hit tonight,” Carpenter said. “I think tonight, we were overmatched.”

    ASU lost by 20.


  6. dean

    Someone should send Carpenter the highlights from the Sugar Bowl so he can see the beatin’ Brennen took. Or even the Florida game so he can watch the Heisman trophy winner pick his a$$ up off the ground 6x’s.
    Nah, he’ll probably get to see’em both in the film room leading up to the game. That should be enough to plant the seed.


  7. Hobnail_Boot

    But Dean, Tebow was hurt.


  8. Thomas Brown

    California and Oregon are both better than Arizona State, in the 1-team Pac-10 league.

    Arizona State’s SoS last season was Number 50 in the nation. UGA’s was Number 7.

    There is no way Arizona State matches their 10-win total last year because in fact, Arizona State beat no ranked team to end 10-3 with the Number 50 easiest schedule in the nation.

    Arizona State does have better attendance than most of the Pac-10, and the game is at 62,875 grass Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe Arizona. This Denis Erickson’s 2nd year. And, he returns the top QB, top RB, top 2 receivers, his punter, his kicker, and 3 of his top 4 tacklers.

    Arizona State has never beat an SEC team, ever.

    Losing the OL is a blessing for them, with only Notre Dame giving up more sacks last season than Arizona State.

    All Georgia has to do to win, is show up.