Q&A with Coach Paul Randolph

Following a tough loss on the road against Missouri, the Arizona State Sun Devils look to bounce back as they open PAC-12 play against Utah. Defensive Coordinator Paul Randolph talked with Devils Digest about the keys to stopping the Utah's offense, as well as the performance of some of his players this far in the season.

Were you happy with the resilience the defense showed against Missouri?

Paul Randolph: "I was really impressed with the guys, [as] we were down 24-7 after the third quarter. The guys came together and started battling and playing harder. I was very pleased with their mindset throughout the entire game. No matter what situation we were in, their mindset and poise was very impressive."

Positives the defense can take away from the loss at Missouri?

Paul Randolph: "There are always positives and negatives from every win and loss. Naturally there were things that the guys did well during the loss. There are also areas that we need to get corrected for this Saturday. No question though, there are a lot of positives from the Missouri game that we can draw on and get better from."

How big of an accomplishment has it been to not allow a point in the 4th quarter this season?

Paul Randolph: "No doubt we are very proud of it. We want to start fast and finish strong. We want to get to where we are giving up fewer points in the first three quarters as well. To me it is a testament to the guys conditioning and their mindset. They are very willing to come together when things get tough and come together as a unit."

How would you rate Mike Pennel's performance against Missouri?

Paul Randolph: "Mike had a great week of preparation and that's what I talk to the guys about. You need to have the will to prepare so you can develop the will to win. Mike had a great week and it showed in his performance on Saturday. Now I think he's in the groove of getting better every day. That's what we try to tell everyone, if they can get better every day at fundamentals than their overall game will improve."

Do you think like Mike Pennel's suspension will benefit him in the long term?

Paul Randolph: "I think he will look back on it as a positive. His focus is right where it needs to be now. I am very proud of Mike, he has been working real hard to get where he needs to be."

How big of an impact has Will Sutton been the first three games?

Paul Randolph: "Will had a good Spring and phenomenal Fall camp. The best thing about Will is his work ethic. He has shifted the way he prepares. He has done a great job of carrying his preparation over from the practice field to game day. He's playing like an animal and I am glad he's on my football team."

What type of challenges does the physicality of the Utah Offense possess?

Paul Randolph: "They are very physical, and having seen their film they pride themselves on being physical. Naturally they want us to lie down. Our goal every day is to stop the run and we are always in that mindset."

Do you feel like your defense can match Utah's physicality while still staying disciplined?

Paul Randolph: "Naturally we have worked from day one on our players being not only tough but disciplined. I think we are at the point that all the players are taking that identity. We see ourselves as a physical team and we see ourselves as a disciplined team. I think the way we are progressing, [that] our physicality will be right on point. "

What is the main key in stopping Utah's offense?

Paul Randolph: "We need to stop John White, [because] he is really good. He runs extremely hard and their offensive line is great at making holes for him. They are a power physical football team and we need to stop the run to have success in other areas."

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