Pre-Season Preview - Offense

Everything is Wide Open <BR><BR> There is no better way to describe the Arizona State offense this year. Everything is wide open whether it's the style of offense that new head coach Dirk Koetter brings on board, or the position of starting Quarterback.

Even the race for the Pac-10 has known to be wide open with no clear-cut favorite. Break down each team and they have their individual weaknesses.  Oregon the Pac-10 favorite has a shaky defense; Oregon State needs to replace seven starters on offense and six players on defense.  Up and down the conference there is no team with a completely balanced team.  This conference is known for its competition and this year will be no different than years past.  So which team will develop the best stability in order to make a complete run for the Roses or maybe the Fiesta Bowl no one can quite say.  

So it comes to the first wide open in the offense the scheme of it.  Dirk
Koetter brings a multiple formation, and receiver attack that lit up the
scoreboard in Boise last year.  Their passing oriented attack led the nation
in scoring offense and was second in total offense.  The Devils return 8
starters on offense all with the experience necessary to bring this team to
another level.  

As with any offense you must start with the all-important general of the
field, the Quarterback position.  As it stands though the Devils have two
lieutenants and a captain fighting it out for the top spot.  Jeff Krohn is
the returning starter the only one with Pac-10 experience.  He like each QB
has his strengths and weaknesses.  His strength is his mobility in the pocket
the game experience.  His weakness a glaring lack of arm strength.  Koetter's
offense requires the QB to have the ability throw the ball down the field and
make the big play Krohn lacks the necessary tools to accomplish that facet of
the offense.  Next you come to the QB of the future, Andrew Walter.  Walter
has the frame of a QB a cannon of an arm and is fleet a foot.  Given the time
to develop he looks to have the tools to be the best QB in ASU history.  
Unfortunately he's a redshirt freshman with no game experience at the major
college level.  He hasn't yet faced the rush of a Washington defense or the
craftiness of an Oregon secondary.  Do you baptize him by fire or do you
bring him along and let him get a feel for the offense and then let him light
it up later on down the road? The third QB and the dark horse of the race is
Matt Cooper, a junior who played well enough in the spring to earn the
starting nod if the season were to have started in April rather than
September.  Cooper has some game experience, has shown the ability to throw
the ball deep with some consistency and you'd think would be a no-brainer to
start.  However he is purely a drop back style of QB, not very fleet afoot.
It also remains to be seen what new freshman Lance Rhodes and Chad
Christensen will bring to the mix.  Rhodes is an incredible athlete that
scored an Alabama State record 57 Touchdowns in one season.  Christensen was the best QB in Arizona last year and looks to make some noise of his own.  

Whoever the QB is will benefit greatly from an outstanding offensive line
lead by two potential All-Americans in Center Scott Peters and Left Tackle
Levi Jones.  ESPN's own "draft expert" has Jones listed in his top 15 senior
prospects for the NFL and Peters is a returning All Pac-10 player who anchors
the line in the middle.  Kyle Kosier a returning starter on the line maybe
moved to Tackle for and Regis Crawford figures to take his spot on the right
side.  The left guard figures to have Marquise Muldrow paving the way for
ASU's loaded backfield.  

Deep and talented is the best way to describe the running backs of this Sun
Devil team.  Returning from a horrible knee injury is the extremely talented
Delvon Flowers who showed during spring drills no effects from his knee
injury.  He was able to cut without any lingering problems and his
acceleration through the hole will be devastating to opposing defenses.  With
much more opportunity in the Koetter offense to have the ball thrown to him
Flowers will make use of his other strength of catching the ball out of the
backfield and making plays in the open field.  Behind Flowers offering a
change of Pace, is senior runner Tom Pace.  He is deceptively fast and shifty
and runs with good power for a man of his size.  Also in the crowded Sun
Devil backfield is the Eric Dickerson like Mike Williams a slasher than can
get you the tough yards.  Young up and comers Derrick Arnold, and the son of
former ASU great Hakim Hill offer depth that could dictate Koetter to run the
ball more than pass.  Koetter has stated that this team's strength will be
running the ball and he will scheme his offense to its strength and do
whatever is necessary to win.  It's hard to argue against running the ball
with a battering ram of a fullback in Mike Karney.  Karney is built like a
bull at six feet 260 pounds of chiseled muscle.  Karney will no doubt make
middle linebackers think twice of filling hole the running back will come

What sort of wide-open attack offense will this be with the top two receivers
from last year's team moved on?  Senior Donnie O'neal has one receiver
position locked up.  He proved last year on more than one occasion to be able
to make the big play.  Behind him however is the fight for receiver gets
interesting.  Shaun McDonald has shown flashes of excellence but is young and
will need to learn more and gain better consistency.  Justin Taplin too shows
some of the same qualities as a receiver, the ability to catch the deep ball
and turn it up field and make plays.  Ryan Dennard offers a nice combination
of size and speed with decent hands and will be a nice compliment to any
receiver combination.  Also look for Skyler Fulton, Matt Miller, and Daryl
Lightfoot to possibly figure into the mix of what appears to be a deep but
inexperienced group of young hungry receivers.

Overall the offense looks to be geared to running the ball, which was former
Coach Bruce Snyder's preference to set up the passing attack.  New coach
Koetter prefers to be his own offensive coordinator and likes to light up the
scoreboard with a deep multi-dimensional passing attack.  With questions at
QB and lack of experience at receiver look for ASU to run the ball more than
expected by most people and do what it takes to win.  There are a lot of
seniors on the team that don't have another chance after this season and the
previous regime did not leave the cupboard bare when it comes to talent.  
With Koetter's attention to detail and demands of excellence in all facets of
the game look for ASU to be more successful than the so-called "experts" have

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