Q&A with Mike Norvell

Following their third straight loss, Arizona State is preparing for their match up against USC in Los Angeles. Devils Digest caught up with offensive coordinator Mike Norvell after practice to discuss the offenses' performance against Oregon State, lack of touches by the play makers, and the keys for the offense to have success this week against USC.

Was the lack of touches by D.J. Foster and Marion Grice in the 1st half of last week's game part of the game plan or was it something Oregon State dictated?

Norvell: "No, going into the game we always try to get those guys involved and get them touches early. It was a couple of things Oregon State did, but we also missed some opportunities to get the ball in their hands early in the game. It's something that we have to a better job at obviously. We need to get the ball in our playmakers hands to succeed."

Are you concerned with the lack of improvement the wide receivers have shown over the past three games?

Norvell: "They are working. You sit there and watch them and they are working. They are working on getting better as blockers and getting better at running their routes more efficiently. We just have to put them in the position where they can be successful. Those guys are going to bounce back though. They are putting in the work necessary to improve. I am looking forward to watching them make some plays for us and hopefully that starts to happen this weekend."

Do you feel that Taylor Kelly's performance is adversely affected due to the inconsistent play of the wide receivers?

Norvell: "I wouldn't say that. Each guy is trying to do his job. You go out there and you see things that each guy on offense needs to improve upon. It doesn't matter if he's a wide receiver or an offensive lineman. All of our players have faith in each other. We just need to go out there and keep working hard and trying to get better as an offense."

How would you rate Cameron Marshall's performance over the past few games?

Norvell: "Cam has done a good job. He is one of the leaders of this team and he has shown improvement in his practice habits and improvements in his overall production. It doesn't always show up in a statistic line when you see the way he is blocking and the way he is protecting Taylor Kelly. He sets a great example in the way he works on and off the field for all the other offensive players. He is a guy that is really helping this football team and is doing a great job leading this offense."

How much of a boost for the offense would it be for Andrew Sampson to return from injury this week?

Norvell: "Sampson is one of the senior leaders especially on the offensive line. Not having him the last couple weeks has hurt. Vi Teofilo has done a good job getting in there and battling and competing for us. Anytime you can a guy back healthy that helps your team."

At this point of the season do you find a need to be more creative and introduce new plays each week because the opponent has so much game film to go by?

Norvell: "We just need to keep focusing on executing this offense. That's the biggest thing we can do is to execute our offense. We need to focus on the plays that we are running. There are always adjustments to every play. It doesn't matter if it's week two or week eleven. We always make minor adjustments, but our main focus is executing our offense."

With the inconsistencies in the kicking game, is there more pressure on the offense to convert every red zone trip into a touchdown?

Norvell: "We have to go out there and do our job as an offense. Our goal as an offense is to score a touchdown every drive. We have to make sure we protect the ball and not have any turnovers in the red zone. Red zone efficiency is crucial when you are trying to win a close game. That's something that we stressed since the beginning of the season and we will continue to stress."

What is the key for offense to rebound and have success against USC this week?

Norvell: "We have to go out there and establish a great tempo. We have to be efficient in putting together drives and getting first downs. We have to convert on third downs, that will be crucial. I believe we have a great game plan set and we just have to give our playmakers the ball and let them make plays for us."

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