Munns looking to provide a spark

The Arizona State football team has suffered three consecutive losses due to their inconsistencies and lack of discipline but coaching staff has decided to end their leniency. Head Coach Dennis Erickson announced yesterday that linebacker Vontaze Burfict would not start Saturdays match up against the Washington Huskies and in his place will be senior, Gerald Munns.

Munns started his career as a Sun Devil in 2006 playing in all 13 games as a true freshman. In 2008, Munns withdrew from school and left the maroon and gold jersey behind for personal reasons but is now back and better than ever and looking forward to getting on the field this Saturday.

"I was just informed on Monday," Munns commented. "I don't know exactly what happened but linebacker coach Trent (Bray) came up and let me know that I got the nod this week. I'm definitely excited for the opportunity, we've got a big challenge ahead of us with Washington, Jake Locker and everything so I just have to do my job and worry about executing my assignments and provide a spark for my team whenever I get the opportunity."

The Sun Devils will travel to Seattle this weekend to the University of Washington for their second of three consecutive road games. The Huskies are coming off a last second win against no.18 USC with a standout performance by quarterback Jake Locker who threw for over 300-yards and rushed for nearly 100.

"We definitely have to get gain tackling, we have to swing with the ball as a defense," Munns stated. " Every week we say that but you really have to stress it against a guy like Jake Locker and anytime he breaks the pocket we have to make sure we're covering all of the assignments.

"You don't want to give up a big play when you've shut everything down for five seconds and then he breaks the pocket and there's a 60-yard touchdown. We've seen that before and we've seen it happen against other teams this year so we definitely have to contain him. They also have a talented back and a good running game that we're going to have to stay locked to."

Although Locker presents a hefty task for the maroon and gold defense, the rest of the Huskies offense is nothing short of talented.

"They have a talented back and some receivers that are some weapons as well," Munns commented. "We know that they have a great offensive coordinator that is going to try to scheme us and they're going to put is in tough situations so we have to respond and stay true to our assignments."

Despite the fact that Burfict has proven the inability to control his emotions on the field, the sophomore linebackers performance shows that he is still one of the most valuable assets to the maroon and gold defense. Nonetheless, the Arizona State coaching staff has made it clear they will not tolerate the mishaps any longer. Although the circumstances of Munns gaining the starting job are somewhat undesirable, he plans to take full advantage of the opportunity, knowing that this may be his chance to make a statement.

"I thought Vontaze has played pretty well this year," Munns admitted. "I thought he had an excellent game versus Oregon, probably one of the best games I've seen him play. He was on top of the ball, making plays in the back, it was good to see and for the most part I think we shut down Oregon's running game compared to teams that they've played this year, last year and the year before.

"It's definitely an exciting task to get in there and get the job and be able to prove yourself once again. Sometimes coming off the bench its hard to catch fire, you have to get out there and sometimes at linebacker you diagnose plays a little bit slower if you're not in there seeing the flow of the game. So it's definitely nice to be able to get in there and get quite a bit of reps."

Munns confessed that it is sometimes difficult for players to control emotions when playing such a physical game. For some it is more difficult than others but the senior linebacker did have some words of advice for his fellow teammate.

"Sometimes its just hard to understand when you have to turn off that switch," Munns admitted. "As football players for six seconds you're supposed to be an animal and then the next 26 seconds you're supposed to be completely calm and sometimes that's hard for guys. I've had issues with that, everybody has.

"For him, he has to know that he is a target and that the refs and other teams are out there looking to get into conflict with him. I would just tell him that he can't let the extra curricular stuff get in the way of his performance."

As the Sun Devils approach their sixth matchup, the pressure is mounting to regain control of their season. For weeks the maroon and gold have attempted to correct their reoccurring mistakes, with little success. As they head to Washington with a 2-3 record, Munns and his teammates desperately need to turn the corner and return to Tempe with a win.

"No doubt," Munns said. "Any of those three games we lost were winnable football games. A couple breaks here or there or a couple less mistakes on both sides of the ball that we correct, we could be 4-1 or 5-0, whatever it is, we have to put the past behind us and start progressing. For the most part, we have but there was a little bit of a setback last week on defense as far as the first half goes. We accept that and we're looking to move forward and take steps in the right direction each week."

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