Erickson pleased with season opening win

ASU' season opener has revealed some deficiencies, but tonight's 48-14 win over UC Davis left Sun Devil fans with a lot to be happy about looking forward to next weeks game against Missouri.

ASU outgained the Aggies 517 to 243 yards in the contest and led 41-0 at one point in the third quarter before UC Davis finally scored on a 48 yard run by Nick Aprile. As always in games like this you expect the favorite to come out on top, usually by a wide margin, but there are always corrections to be made, and coach Dennis Erickson knows his team must play better moving forward.

"I thought we played a lot more disciplined that we have," Erickson pointed out. "We had a few penalties but not very many. A couple turnovers, the one with Ross where he was screwing around with the ball when he was trying to run, and then we threw the interception.

"Those are things we really emphasize during camp, creating turnovers, not turning it over, and penalties. No stupid penalties, which we had one, one of our offensive lineman if you can believe that, he was trying to protect the running back and got a penalty for that, but I was pretty happy with that aspect of it."

The offense for the most part did its job, and the first two defensive units caused havoc and held the opposing offense scoreless. Still, expect to see a lot more from the Sun Devils next week as the offense, while explosive at times, looked very vanilla, as to be expected in a week one game against a D-II opponent.

"I thought on both sides, particularly the first groups, played pretty well," Erickson mentioned. "I thought defensively after the first drive or two they got a little bit, we played pretty good on defense, and they got a couple at the end. One on something I thought the whistle should've been blow, everyone kind of stopped. Again it's like it is.

"We know what it is. We came in with the idea that we're supposed to win the football game and we won the football game and had we played Missouri we might not have, so we'll find out next Saturday. We'll learn from this, we'll look at the tape tomorrow, and hopefully we'll learn some things then get ready to start preparation for them (Missouri)"

While the game was fairly clean from ASU's point of view, you never want to see your team turn the ball over against a lesser opponent like they did tonight against the Aggies, but coach Erickson wasn't worried, in fact, he was kind of comical about the whole thing.

"They're all concerns," Erickson said of the mistakes. "But it's not anything that can't be fixed. I thought our effort was good. You get things going and then you go for it on fourth down and you don't make it, then you finally trust the field goal kicker and he knocks a 50-yarder in. He's finally taking to my coaching. Things like that aren't anything I'm going to cut my wrist for. We've got to play better next week to have a chance to win that football game."

One of the major storylines coming into this season and this game has been Brock Osweiler taking over after starting the final two games of last season. Also of note has been the backup quarterback battle between true freshman Mike Bercovici and redshirt freshman Taylor Kelly, both of whom got some playing time tonight.

"I thought he did some really good things," Erickson said of Osweiler. "I'll have to look at it on tape. I thought he was very accurate for the most part. He threw the one interception that was a little behind our tight end, but I thought he handled the huddle extremely well, showed great leadership out there, moved the football down, and he did what he should've done in this football game basically.

"I thought they both had their moments. I thought Taylor (Kelly) did a pretty good job there when he came in. We didn't do a lot of things with him, we were basically trying to run the clock down and get out of there, but I thought they did some pretty good things. We'll look at that too."

Injuries haven't been kind to ASU this year, and in a game where the main goal is to come out healthy, the Sun Devils lost yet another player for the year, freshman safety Ezekiel Bishop.

"(Aderious) Simmons has got a sprained ankle and I don't know how long he'll be out," Erickson commented on the injury. "It's not a high ankle sprain so he could be back for this football game. Ezekiel (Bishop) has an ACL, so it looks like he'll be done for the year. The doctors have got to look at it again tomorrow, but it was a tough deal. It was on a kickoff cover and he was our fourth safety.

"I thought Kevin Ayers came in for not playing at all and did a pretty good job there. It's unfortunate, that's part of the game. You get tired of seeing it when you've been in this business as long as I have, those are the things that bother me more than anything, young guys that work their rear ends off then all of a sudden one play they're done for the year, but that's the game."

One a more positive note, the ASU return units looked absolutely amazing tonight. Between Jamal Miles (who totaled 188 all-purpose yards), Rashad Ross, and A.J. Pickens, the Sun Devil return game racked up 254 yards and set the Sun Devil offense up nicely…you know, when they weren't taking it to the house that is.

"Our return game has been good for a couple years, both punt return and kickoff return," Erickson declared. "We have some talent back there, some guys that can make it happen. The bottom line with things like that when you have guys blocking up front and they know who you got back behind, that if they do what they're supposed to do that you've got a chance to get a big play out of it, and that's what happened.

"Again the cover teams that we face are going to be a lot better, but we're pretty good there. Jamal is very special I think, with how he changes direction and things like that, make you a pretty good coach. That'll be big for us, hopefully we can win on special teams every week, and if we can then we've got a pretty good chance to win."


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