Threet seeks consistency

The Sun Devils' 4-5 record would suggest inconsistency, and ASU quarterback Steven Threet has manifested that trait as much as any player on the squad. After nine games the junior's passing efficiency stands at 135.62 as he completed over 62 percent of his passes for 17 touchdowns and 2,372 yards. On the other hand, he has also recorded 15 interceptions.

"We have thrown more interceptions than we would have liked. That's pretty obvious and factual," Erickson said. "(Threet) has improved a lot, but unfortunately with what we do offensively if you throw it in the wrong place then you are going to have some issues. He did that in the first half at USC, but he came back and played extremely well in the second half.

"He is getting better all the time. Once he has a year in the offense, I would say that about any quarterback in what we are doing. The second year is obviously going to be a heck of a lot better. I like where he's at and where he is right now as he moves forward with the last few games we play and next year."

"Too much up and down, I would say," Threet described his play thus far in 2010. "There have even been some good first half, bad second half, bad first half, good second half. Just too much up and down. I just need to play more consistent and help the team more."

One of the knocks on the Sun Devil signal caller is that he at times tries too hard to make a play even where there is no play to be had. In Threet's case, those errors result in interceptions or worse than that a pick that is returned for a score by the opposing defense like it did last Saturday in the 34-33 loss to USC.

"I can't put the team in that situation, any time you throw a pick six, the chances of winning the game are a lot less," Threet confessed. "It has to be corrected. I can't keep making that mistake.

"Yes, there are times that I could throw the ball away, but hindsight is usually 20-20. It's easier to make the decisions after the fact. Even me looking back on it, I question ‘hey maybe I should have thrown it away' but I have to work on that. Maybe even in practice, work on that a little bit more, and just get better in that aspect."

Erickson chalks up some of Threet's mistakes to the nature of the quarterback position.

"(Quarterbacks) are all very competitive and sometimes they try to make certain things happen when it's not there," Erickson stated. That's happened to him and hopefully he will learn from that and I think he will."

***

The one-point loss was naturally frustrating to the maroon and gold and when Erickson saw his quad on Sunday he described their collective mood as "somber." Nonetheless, he was confident in his team's ability to bounce back against the 7th ranked Stanford Cardinal whom Arizona State will host on Saturday evening.

"When you go on the road against a program like that and you have a chance to win the football game and don't it's disheartening," Erickson said of the defeat to the Trojans. "We had some chances and we fought back. We gave ourselves an opportunity at the end of the football game to win it. It's been the story of our year. We have had those opportunities a number of times. We haven't won one of those games and hopefully we can do that here shortly.

"They understand where we are at and what's left in our season. They have a lot of pride and good leadership. We have a great opportunity this week playing a top-10 team at home."

Threet knows that the team has to quickly put last week's loss in the rearview mirror.

"We can't sit and think about what could have been this past Saturday or earlier in year," Threet remarked. "We have a very good team coming in that is going to take all of our effort and all of our preparation.

"We are obviously a competitive bunch, we fight hard every day in practice and continue to improve, and prepare well and get ready to go on Saturday. We battle back from being down this week and were not able to make it happen, but we just have to move on and get ready to go for Stanford."

***

Punter Trevor Hankins was suspended for the USC contest due to violation of team rules. The Arizona's Republic's Doug Haller reported today that the senior was arrested by Scottsdale Police Thursday night because of ‘driving while impaired to the slightest degree.'

"I haven't decided yet," Erickson said in reply to Hankins; status. "I suspended him for one game. In saying that, there is a possibility he will be back, but I haven't talked to him."

Hankins' suspension forced placekicker Thomas Weber to assume the punting duties which undoubtedly contributed to the special teams' mishaps versus the Trojans. Weber averaged only 24.6 net yards a punt against USC and had one of his attempts blocked deep in ASU's territory, a play that was luckily negated by a Sun Devil interception in the ensuing play. Additionally, Weber had an extra point that blocked and returned for a two-point score and he missed a 42-yard field goal that would have regained the lead for ASU with just over a minute and a half remaining in the contest.

"We're talking about a guy who has been kicking here for four years," said Erickson of Weber who has converted over 58 percent of his field goal attempts in 2010. "Obviously, he is not having a good year. The situation we have is we are redshirting a kicker that we believe will be our kicker of the future. To take him out of it right now would be insane. We are going to stay with Thomas Weber and hopefully he makes some. He's disappointed and he's not going to blame anybody." Erickson was less forgiving about the blocked punt and PAT that took place in Los Angeles.

"It's ridiculous," Erickson stated. "It's about accountability. We kick the ball a lot of times in that game and blocked it perfectly every time. Then a guy isn't accountable on what he's supposed to do and he flat misses the guy. That's what happened at Wisconsin too. It's accountability to do your job all the time regardless if you are playing three plays or seventy plays. You have to be accountable every time the ball is snapped.

"Obviously, we didn't block it correctly. It wasn't any magic thing they did. Our guard went down and dropped his head and the guy came right over the top of him."

***

Many predicted Stanford to be contending for the league championship this year and with an 8-1 record the Cardinal are doing exactly that. Erickson is impressed with Stanford's well-roundness and their physicality on both sides of the ball, as well as with the play of their signal caller Andrew Luck.

"Their quarterback is the best in the country," Erickson noted. "Andrew Luck jumps out at you with the way he plays. (Stanford head coach) Jim Harbaugh said he was special from day one and he is exactly right. He's special. They redshirted him the one-year and he probably could have played. They had a plan for him and he is an exceptional player. The way they run the football and play-action pass is very consistent through every game. He has a lot of God-given talent. Their receivers are playing well and they are scoring points against everyone they play.

"They have played well against everyone. Oregon scored points on them, but they score points against everyone. They're a solid football team. They lose one game to Oregon in Eugene and no one has been close to them except USC. They have pretty much dominated every football game this year."

***

A few of ASU players weren't able to finish the USC game due to injuries, yet Erickson noted that all of them should be available for this week's game.

"James Brooks had a concussion in the second quarter," Erickson said. "Corey Adams continues to have stinger problems and he didn't play a lot in the second half. Gerald Munns had a hip pointer. Junior Onyeali had the same problem with his shoulder. He came back into play."

"It was a physical football game and we got banged up a little bit. I don't expect any of those guys to not play on Saturday."


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