Q&A with Offensive Coordinator Mike Norvell

After being humbled at home last week by Oregon, ASU will try to bounce back as they prepare to host UCLA this Saturday. Norvell talked with Devils Digest about the keys for the offense against the Bruins this week. We also covered how his offense has responded following the tough loss, and what he expects from them this week.

Coming off the roughest start of his career, how has Taylor Kelly responded during practice this week?

Norvell: "He has a done a good job. He has been coming to meetings and to practices with a definite sense of urgency to get better. He's doing what he always does, he's rising to the challenge. I look forward to him to continue to have a good week of practice as well as a good game against UCLA."

Do you feel like the Oregon game showed the offense what they need to improve upon for the future?

Norvell: "Yeah, after every game you get to see different aspects of your team's production. Win or lose there are always things that need to be cleaned up, and this week is no different. We have to do a better job of executing and having faith in our game plan."

After watching the pace the Oregon offense played at, is that level of speed something your offense hopes to emulate in the future?

Norvell: "Well every day we are working on becoming faster. We are working to be able to play and execute fast. The thing that makes a great offense is the speed that you can execute plays, not how fast you get to the line. Oregon has done a great job with their execution. They are years into their system and that is something we are working towards here."

The wide receivers have been very inconsistent this season. What do you think is causing this and what can be done to fix it?

Norvell: "Well that is something we have been talking about, [that] every day you need to bring it. They are working hard on getting better. We are challenging them to make the most of every rep and opportunity. When they get a chance they have to go out there and make plays. I am expecting big things from them this week."

Do you feel that the depth at running back will allow all the running backs to stay fresh longer into the season?

Norvell: "No matter what position you play at, you are going to get banged up this time of year. Having guys who are able to contribute in different ways definitely helps. Everyone has their bumps and bruises but they are taking care of that. The way we practice helps that. We work everyone extremely hard so they are prepared physically for the season. I am expecting them to continue to stay healthy and work to get better every day."

If Andrew Sampson isn't able to play on Saturday, what type of challenges does that present the offense?

Norvell: "Andrew is a great player that we count on. We still think he has an opportunity to get healthy and play on Saturday. If he doesn't, our team has to have the mindset that it's the next man ready. Vi Teofilo came in last week in the 2nd quarter and played pretty well. We tell all our players that they are one play from getting into the game so they need to be prepared mentally and physically, and they need to make the most out of their opportunities."

Is this the time of year where an opponent has so much film on you that you are forced to introduce new formations and new plays?

Norvell: "We go into each game plan with a specific plan for our offense. We need to make sure that we can execute the things we are doing. That's the whole key to our offense. We need to make sure we can execute the plays and most importantly our game plan. We will always have new wrinkles to our offense every week, but we want to make sure it ties into what we want to accomplish offensively."

Some feel that with three tough road games in November that this game against UCLA is a make or break for ASU. What is your opinion on the situation?

Norvell: "Every game is important, [and] this game is big. We have a lot of respect for UCLA. This is the last game that we will be home for a while and every time we get to play at home we view it as a big game. We are looking forward to taking the field on Saturday and put on a great showing in front of our fans."


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