Irabor not content with his performance

Although there were few positives to take away from the 17-14 loss to Illinois, the improved performance of the Sun Devil defense was certainly one of them. Giving up 135 passing yards to the Illinois offense was a vast improvement from the 319 yards allowed the previous week against Missouri. Cornerback Osahon Irabor was of the standouts of that group last Saturday in Champaign.

"I feel like we have to get better as a defense but we improved," cornerback Osahon Irabor said. "We kind of started slow against Illinois but as the game went out we kind of got our swagger back and made some good plays so I thought we improved."

Irabor played in all 12 games last season, and had a career high performance against Illinois with nine tackles. Despite his solid performance, the sophomore does not consider the game the best he's played wearing maroon and gold.

"Definitely not," Irabor admitted. "You can always get better and I still made some mistakes and I still have some things to clean up but I was just happy to make plays when my teams needed me to."

The sophomore appeared to be targeted by the Fighting Illini offense throughout the contest, which may have contributed to his high number of tackles, but it was a test that Irabor passed with flying colors.

"This last week I was on the run set side," Irabor commented. "So my job was to be playing the run game so I just had to do that but I felt like I did well."

The Sun Devils suffered a heartbreaking loss but adversity is part of the game and in the coming days it will become clear how resilient the unit is. This week they will prepare to enter the most important part of their season, Pac-12 play starting with USC but Irabor is certain his teammates have their minds right.

"I think we have definitely put it behind us to an extent," Irabor began. "But we're trying to have it in the back of our heads going forward for motivation. We know this is a big week, it's the start of the Pac-12 season, its going to be at home and there's going to be a big crowd so we're going to be jacked up to play. We're going to do our best and hopefully get the win."

Coaches can only say so much to motivate their players to move forward and focus on their next opponent but in the end it's the interaction between teammates that keeps the groups spirits lifted and motivated for what lies ahead and in this instance, it's the USC Trojans.

"Everyone knows what its about," Irabor said. "Its SC! Everyone wants to play SC and its going to be a big game, its on TV and everyone has their families coming so we don't have to say much to get pumped up for USC."

The Trojans are equipped with one of the conferences best wide receivers with Robert Woods who collected eight receptions for 82 yards and a touchdown last weekend against Syracuse but Irabor and the rest of the cornerbacks unit is prepared for the challenge.

"He's a good receiver," admitted Irabor. "He's a quality receiver we just have to lock in and do our job. We're not too worried about it, we think we're pretty good and can play with anyone but we've got some schemes going so we'll be alright."

The last time the maroon and gold prevailed over the Trojans was over a decade ago in 1999 with a 26-15 victory at the Coliseum but the 2011 Sun Devils aren't concerned with that footnote and will look to re-write history.

"We're not looking too much into that because its one game," Irabor commented on USC's steak. "It's the next game on the schedule, that's how we're looking at it. We're not thinking about the past, this is the present. Our motto has been ‘It's time' this whole season, so maybe its time to beat SC."

It may only be the first game of Pac-12 play, but many ASU fans and media insiders believe that the result of Saturday's matchup could greatly influence their 2011 final record. Irabor does acknowledge the importance of a win against USC but has his own opinion whether this contest will indeed shape the current campaign.

"I disagree completely," Irabor said. "Coach Erickson always preaches us to take it one game at a time and that's exactly what we do every week. This is just one game, we'll worry about the next games after we play USC but right now we're focused on USC and we have to get a result in that game so we'll see what happens."


Sun Devil Source Top Stories