Q&A with Offensive Coordinator Mike Norvell

After picking up their first road win against Cal, ASU Offensive Coordinator Mike Norvell and his group have had over a week and a half to work on their fundamentals and prepare for another Pac-12 road test against Colorado. Norvell talked with Devils Digest about the keys for the offense against this week, as well as his assessment on the performance of his players during the first five games.

There has been a noticeable difference in how the offense plays at home and on the road. As you prepare for the Colorado game what kind of approach do you take so the offense will play at a high level away from home?

Norvell: "You know, we just need to continue to be efficient. That has been the biggest thing; on our road games we make too many mental mistakes. We allow tackles for losses; we miss assignments and make negative plays. These types of mistakes kill drives, eliminating these mistakes has been a big focus for us these past two weeks."

The last two games the wide receiver group has improved quite a bit from the beginning of the season. What are the adjustments that they made in practice that contributed to that turnaround?

Norvell: "They have definitely improved; [wide receiver] Coach Alexander has been challenging them every week. They have been consistent and have had a great level of intensity every day at practice. We are straining them during practice and they are responding really well."

How much has Kevin Ozier improved to become a critical piece of the offense this year, after being a walk on last year?

Norvell: "He has been very solid, he takes coaching really well. He wants to improve every day and he has the desire to improve on his weaknesses. He comes to work every day at practice and it's paying off."

Do you feel that the rushing attack hasn't been as effective as it was earlier in the year, and if so what are the reasons for that?

Norvell: "I think the negative yardage plays have really eliminated some of our running opportunities. We have to get out there and execute better and more effectively. We also need to make sure we are going through our reads better. If teams want to stack the box against us and take away the run, we will have a lot more production out of the passing game. That's something I challenge the quarterbacks with, [that] if people want to stack the box and take away the run, we have to do our part and make them hurt through the air."

How would you assess your offenses red zone efficiency?

Norvell: "We have to get better at our efficiency. If you look back to earlier in the year, we had some turnovers in the red zone which you absolutely can't have. Twice last week we had negative plays that bumped us out of the red zones. Our players know we have to get better at that aspect of our game and we are trying to improve upon it."

What type of presence does Taylor Kelly have during the game?

Norvell: "He has a lot of confidence; Taylor is a kid that doesn't have to say a whole lot to get his message across. When he comes out on the field with the look in his eye, guys know he is ready to roll. That gives the guys a lot of comfort, and when you see how he approaches playing in the game you know he is a guy that his teammates will follow."

Chris Coyle has been such a big part of the passing offense. However it seems that after his breakout game against Illinois defenses are keying more on him. Do you feel that there are more opportunities for other players to contribute due to the extra attention he receives?

Norvell: "Anytime you go into a game and a team makes an effort to stop one guy, it gives opportunities to other players on the field. We are just challenging our guys to step up. There isn't a game that we can win where Chris doesn't make an impact. Chris just needs to continue to get better at what he is doing. If teams are determined to stop him during the game, then it will open up coverage for our other players."

What are some of the aspects you'd like to see the offense improve on in the second half of the year?

Norvell: "We need to continue to work on our efficiency. Each and every day we work on our efficiency [and] we don't worry ourselves with what other teams are doing. We are just worried about being an efficient team and executing our plays."

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