Lewis off to a fast start

Speed. It's something that can't be taught, can't come from the weight room, or even from watching film: you either have it or you don't, and freshman running back Deantre Lewis is blessed with an abundance of it.

One of four true freshmen getting playing time for the Sun Devils this season, Lewis has 278 rushing yards so far on just 29 carries, good for the best yards per carry average in the Pac-10 at 9.6. Double-digit yards per carry may have been the norm for players of his caliber in high school, but transferring that over to college ball is almost unheard of.

"Basically that's how it was in high school: getting double-digit yards per carry," Lewis pointed out, "but I didn't think I'd get it here in college, but hard work has paid off and I plan on working hard and getting better as the season goes on."

Throw in two 100-yard rushing games in his first four, and one 100-yard receiving game, Lewis is quickly making a name for himself, though many outside of the Pac-10 and Wisconsin haven't heard of him yet; it's only a matter of time.

"I thought I performed pretty well," Lewis critiqued his 2010 performance. "There's time for improvement, but basically it's me being patient on getting the carries and stuff like that. The more carries I get the more calm I get in the game, and it works for me visualizing before the play what happens."

Lewis will get the starting nod for the time being, and thus more carries, much to the dismay of the remaining teams on ASU's schedule. While his 9.6 yards per carry average probably won't last the entire year (though I won't completely rule it out yet), continue to expect big plays from the freshman.

"It is a really big deal," Lewis said of landing a starting role. "That's what I came up here to do and I knew it wasn't going to be easy, but coaches believed that I can do it, so I'm going to prove to them now I'm capable of doing it.

"It kind of surprised me because my mind set coming in wasn't to make big plays like that. I came to contribute to the team any way I can, but big plays came because of working hard in the offseason and it's paying off right now."

In order to keep his starting job Lewis must do the one thing that enabled him to get the position in the first place: hold on to the ball.

"That's our game plan for every week: ball security," Lewis mentioned. "We preach that everyday, every time we get in meetings. We're really working hard on it now, really securing the ball, five points of pressure, but it's going to work out.

"A lot of teams go for the strip now. In high school they don't really go for it, they try to hit you. Here they try to go for the strip and hit you so you have to protect it a little bit more."

Coinciding with Lewis' success has been the success of the ASU offense, which compiled 597 yards of offense against Oregon, in a loss no less. While the offense is all about getting the ball out quick and completing short passes, Lewis' game-breaking speed turns many of those short plays into long touchdowns.

"We have a lot of confidence now because we know what we can do, what we're capable of," Lewis said of the offense. "We just have to clean up the red-zone mistakes and stuff like that, and the outcome of the games will be different.

"We're a really good team. We have to pick up a couple mistakes. The turnovers killed us last game, or else the score could've been a different way the way the game ended, but we're a really good team, I think we're going to have an awesome year this year."


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