Devils in the details

Ex-ASU player Kyle Caldwell breaks downs ASU's 35-20 win over Oregon State

The Arizona State Sun Devils had not beaten the Oregon State Beavers in over three years. On Saturday night it looked as if they were going to continue that trend and hand the Beavers their first win of the season with a very shaky start to the game. Solid play on the defense and with some well set up plays on offense, the Sun Devils were able to fight back showing good character after trailing 13-0 early in the 2nd Quarter.

Some questions I keep hearing from everyone thus far... Do the white helmets scramble the brain of our quarterback? Do they impair vision and ability to decipher the good guys from the bad? Do we play up and down to the level of our opponent? Does the color scheme affect our mindset?

No, of course not and the uniforms didn't look half bad stepping away from a traditional presence at home. (I'd prefer if they were never worn again) but nonetheless the Devils got win against a team that has beat them up the last couple of years.

The issues were actually quite simple and if anything it looked like the Devils may have stepped away from some key techniques early on and got ahead of themselves.

Talking about the offense

Did the slow turnover fest of a 1st quarter leave you scratching your head a little bit? Maybe you were watching a flash back from two weeks ago? I know I found myself a little dumbfounded however I also knew that we would see some fireworks in that 2nd quarter and sure enough the offense took off scoring 21 points and erasing an early deficit going up 21-13 at half. A subpar performance from Brock Osweiler meant someone was going to half to step up and the "speedster" did just that. Jamal Miles took over the game with his skills. Rushing, receiving and returning Miles was able to rack up 249 yards of total offense and score the first touchdown on a punt return since 2005. Cameron Marshall also did a great job securing the end of the game with his late pair of scores. Collectively it was what I would call an "off night" for the offense going 1 for 10 on third downs, turning the ball over four times and totaling only 367 yards. Time to grade the film!

Quarterback Grade: C-

A low grade but honestly it could be lower and I am sure Brock would grade himself this way as well.

It seems so far this year we have seen a couple different visions of our QB. The stud in the first two games who couldn't miss a dime and was always releasing perfectly and a guy who likes to sometimes hold the ball a bit too long and star down receivers on plays which have led to turnovers. On almost all of Osweiler's interceptions he was just staring down the targeted WR and thus the defense was really able to key making well timed interceptions.

After watching the first quarter fumble on his scramble it was obvious he didn't secure the ball that well and if he is going to continue to try and extend drives with his legs by leaving the pocket he better hold that ball with two hands on contact being that he is 6'8 and most guys are going to get their helmet right in his cradle.

Other than the turnovers I thought Brock played a solid game and will come back strong this week. I am excited to watch him on the road and see him tested by a good Utah defense. Offensive Line Grade: C+

I thought this was an average night from the Offensive line compared to the previous week against USC. Kody Kobensky did a nice job coming in early for an injured Garth Gerhart. Kody's snaps were good and with more experience and playing time he will do well with his future. The group played with a lot of energy and although it was not a great performance we wanted it was still enough to help the Sun Devils win. The O-Line gave up four sacks and only managed 109 yards of rushing. They set the bar high last week and thus we expect more. Utah will give this group a good test!

Running Backs Grade: C

Cameron Marshall played well still looking a bit banged up on that ankle of his. He scored two late TDs and rushed for 80 yards on 14 carries. The thing I want to see for him is his pass blocking skills improve. He has the body to just stone guys and when he figures out how to get his hips on the rusher he will be nearly complete. The speed of Miles and Middlebrooks is so fun to watch out of the backfield and when those guys get the ball in space it is something scary because of their cutback ability. They both tend to carry the ball out away from their body at times because of the style of their running which hopefully doesn't ever come back to hurt them in the fumble category. High and tight baby! Hold on to that football! Wide Receivers Grade: C+

Most of the receiving stats came from Jamal Miles out of the backfield this week but it was still a decent showing from this position group. Gerell Robinson caught a wide open touchdown and A.J. Pickens snagged a ball for his first score of the year. The thing that was nice to watch this week with this group was a lot of reps being shared and guys like Pickens stepping up and taking advantage of his role.

The one thing that needs to happen is guys need to find better holes in the zone defense. Seems like they are not getting open nearly enough for the talent in this position group. Big plays and solid catching this next week are going to be key. Look it in, wrap it up and create some yards after catch. Let's see it receivers!

The Offense showed that even after sputtering and putting themselves into a hole that they have the guts and will to pull themselves back out. If they do that against a team like Utah or Oregon I think the outcome would without a doubt be different. Here is to a good week of practice and lots of focus for this upcoming road game. Play smart, Play hard and go get it done every play!

Talking about the D-Siiiiide!

Another great night for the Defense and some consistent efforts are really starting to show through both individually and as a team. This has been a good group even with all the injuries and all the doubt people were starting to have coming into the season and it has been fun to watch them grow so far this season.

Guys are stepping into their roles and playing their tails off which is why you are seeing some stats really go the Devils way. ASU was able to cause 5 turnovers against the Beavers and in the last few weeks we are seeing how the turnover battle truly dictates the game.

The defense allowed 341 yards of passing yet that was on 66 attempts! Hard to stop anyone who throws the ball that many times. The awesome stat other than the turnovers was the rushing defense which only gave up 47 yards. A fun night to watch as a fan! Defensive Line Grade: A-

Some of the things I had mentioned a few weeks back about certain techniques and guys efforts are really starting to show through with this position group. After watching the film it was obvious the whole Defense Line is getting better and more aggressive with their hands.

I saw Corey Adams, Will Sutton and Bo Moos all getting after it inside with their chops and quick hands on the pass rush. Sutton is so fun to watch when he gets it going. You can tell he is one of those guys out there that his play rides the momentum of the game. Once he gets it all together I see him having a great career. Adams as well is really starting to play better the last few weeks and thus his production has gone way up. He runs to the ball nicely and if he can continue to play every down that way he will continue to see his snaps go up.

Jamaar Jarrett is really starting to come into his own. I was talking a couple weeks ago about his motor and overall effort and how if he adjusted a couple of small things he was going to be unstoppable.

Well, the last two weeks he has been! Maybe it was just getting in good game shape but Jarrett is a beast out there using an array of moves now off the edge. He is really about to overpower OT's with his bull rush/power moves and his frame is helping him hold down the fort in the run game. Love watching him play and change the game! Great Job Jamaar.

Coleman seems to be getting more settled as he showed he has improved the last couple weeks as well. The hands and hips were more active this game and he will need to continue to get better every week as we really need him. A great night for the boys up front.. bring that up to Utah with you please!

Linebackers Grade: B

Another position group that seems to play up and down often based on the momentum of the game. It was a solid performance by the group as a whole yet it still seems that we have not fixed all of our tackling issues and maybe at this point we can't?

Too many times guys are coming through in great position to wrap up and stone the ball carrier for no yards after contact and yet time and time again they are coming in with heads down and arms back at the side going for the torpedo shot.

One this is a great way to get hurt and two 80% of the time you are going to allow the ball carrier to advance for more yards. Going low and trying to take a guy out with that sort of tackle is for defensive backs when they are taking on a 220 pound runner who will likely bull them over. It is a sort of give up tackle if you ask me and it would be so darn nice to see our big guys in the box really putting a nail in someone while wrapping up with the arms and hips, keeping the feet running through.

That is all I want.. then you will be earning those A grades every week because I do not doubt this position group's abilities for one second! Crush those Utes next week!

Secondary Grade: B

A decent showing as this group was testing a bunch... 66 times in fact. They allowed some yards through the air but I felt that a lot of guys got better this game.

Clint Floyd is really starting to play well and his hitting skills are fun to watch from the safety level. Alden Darby had a break out game and showed that he is ready for more time snagging two interceptions! Great job Darby! Eddie Elder played solid and it looks like this whole group is starting to mature. Deveron Carr will continue to get tested every game if he cannot fix his pass defense skills. Far too many times this year he has put himself in bad position and then does the give up with committing the passing interference. He has so many this early season coached are going to start telling their QBs to chuck it his way a bunch.

I want to see Deveron play aggressive but that starts at the beginning of each play with great technique. He needs to get his feat going at the snap of the ball a lot more and not wait the half second that he is losing ground. A group that has all the upside and still questions. We will see what they are more about this week on the road.

The Defense has been a very bright spot thus far in this young season and I love that guys are stepping up all over the place! The pride of being a part of a great Defense is something truly special and I hope all the boys out there understand that the last few years have really created a trend here at ASU. They will be tested this next week against a stout Utah team and it will be fun to see this group keep on growing up together.

Special Teams Grade: B

Kicking Grade: D-

Alex Garoutte and his field goal kicking had me feeling great after week one. Now at this point in the season... I want the Devils to go for it every fourth down when close to the end zone!

The last couple years we all know what field goal kicking has done to our record. It has killed us and if Alex can't find a way to get it through the uprights we might find ourselves on the losing side here soon! Alex let's go boy! You are young and coachable.. get after it!

Punting Grade: B+

Josh Hubner made up for some poor previous weeks as he averaged 43 yards and put one inside the 20. His angled kick cause the Oregon State returner to muff the punt as well as he was out of position to make a clean catch of the ball. Keep it up Josh.. you can do that every game!

Returning Grade: A

Saved the game? Consistently dominated this year? The Sun Devils returners and their ability to take one to the house every play has me always loving this part of our game! I look forward to the rest of the season and more fireworks coming from this aspect of the team.

Coverage Grade: B

Getting better but still not great the Devils need to just learn to keep squeezing that ball carrier! I know they can do it and I know they can do it every play.

Overall Team Grades:

Offense: B

Defense: A-

Special Teams: B+

Overall it was an above average performance by the team and they ended a skid against a program they should beat every year. It was a great thing to watch a lot of guys progressing so far this year and the team starting to show some maturity.

The next few weeks are going to dictate the season and the South is there for the taking. It will be fun to watch the Devils playing early on TV and taking their skills on the road again which seems like it has hardly happened so far this season. This road game will not be like the trip to Illinois and I see the Sun Devils coming out strong and putting points on the board early with the Defense taking over the second half.

Have a great week and get after the Utah Utes! Go Devils! -KC50

Defensive end Kyle Caldwell played for the Sun Devils from 2003-2006 and finished with Sun Devil career with 90 tackles and 10.5 sacks. He earned Pac-10 All-Freshman honors in 2003 and Honorable Mention All-Pac-10 recognition in 2006. A graduate of Scottsdale Saguaro High School, Caldwell was a member of the Sabercats' coaching staff who won the 2010 Class 4A Division I state championship.


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