Mazzone content with offense's performance

It's not like it has been a total surprise to witness this season's performance by the ASU offense. In 2010 this group has shown glimpses of brilliance and this year the adage of ‘a year older, a year wiser' is ringing true for this unit that according to its offensive coordinator, Noel Mazzone, has been showing marked improvement over last year.

"As offensive guys we are always anal retentive anyway," said Mazzone. "But as I look back at the season so far our kids are doing a lot of good things, making some plays for us. But whenever you lose a game it magnifies the four, five things in a game that were mistakes.

"But I think we have progressed every week and have become a better offense every week. We haven't gone backwards yet and hopefully we can continue to progress for the next five weeks because we have a lot of good football teams coming in here and we'll see what happens."

With seven games gone by in 2011, ASU is just about even in its performance in every major category compared to the season ending numbers of last year and by all accounts the final numbers of this year should ultimately be better. Mazzone named a few of the factors he believed that have been the catalyst for that trend.

"Our wide receivers have shown so much improvement from last year," Mazzone described. "The chemistry between them and Brock (Osweiler) has been great. I think our offensive line has been doing very well and out of the 18 sacks we gave up, maybe five, six have been their fault."

After seven games Osweiler is ranked second in total offense (294.7 yards/game) among all Pac-12 quarterbacks, as well as third overall in passing average a game (281.1 yards/game).

"Being that this is his first year as a starter, I'm very happy with the way Brock has been performing," Mazzone stated. "He's a junior, an older guy, so you expect him to play well and he has done that. Every week, he fixes his mistakes that he made from the week before."

Mazzone's spread offense isn't designed to make the Sun Devils a one dimensional team posting gaudy passing numbers week after week. His scheme is just as much about providing lanes for the rushing attack and giving the offense the necessary balance.

A nagging ankle injury to starting running back Cameron Marshall, along with the unavailability of Deantre Lewis who still rehabbing from a gunshot wound suffered earlier in the year (and will redshirt), have certainly taking their toll on ASU's running game throughout the season.

"I was happy with how Cameron showed up this last weekend (versus Oregon)," Mazzone remarked. "He's dealing with his injury but I think that he's starting to get healthy. We're seventh in the conference in rushing offense. Are we ever going to be first in the conference? No. But we are one of those teams that once we started finding success with our passing game, then our running game turns it around.

"Against Oregon as the game went on we started to put more stress on the defense and what was good was that Cameron started finding the holes as the game went on."

All in all, the ASU offense has been performing at a level that can lead the Sun Devils to a Pac-12 South championship, but like any aspect of the team a certain path needs to be consistently followed to ensure future success.

"We want to minimize the same things we have always been talking about," Mazzone said, "turnovers, penalties, sacks and dropped balls. If you can control all those things you will have a great opportunity to win."


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