Koetter Wishes More Players Could Participate

Coaches and fans alike were expecting to see more reserves taking snaps during the NAU game. An unexpectedly close game prevented that from happening.

"We played 59 guys last night," said the ASU Coach. "A few less than we hoped too." Koetter hoped to give quarterback Sam Keller more reps, as well as give more touches to Cornell Canidate and Hakim Hill in the backfield. He added that while many players on defense saw playing time, the linebacker core was the only unit that didn't play all its available players - Mark Washington played only on special teams and De'Andre Johnson didn't see the field at all. Koetter was also disappointed that he couldn't play tight end Jamaal Lewis or his second team offensive line for extended periods of time. He added that Rudy Burgess is still on the redshirt bubble.

There many flaws in the NAU game that Koetter singled out. "We did a poor job on third down on both sides of the ball." He continued and said that he wasn't pleased with all the drop balls that could have converted a solid 60% completion ratio by Andrew Walter to a 80%. "In general we're very disappointed with our coverage teams," Koetter added. "Both punt and kickoff. But I thought our return teams were pretty good." Koetter thought that kicker Jesse Ainsworth was nervous, and while it didn't show in his first two kicks (the first one being for a touchback), it did reflect in the subsequent ones.

As far as game honors go, Jamar Williams and Tony Aguilar will be the game captains for the Utah State game. The announced scout team players of the week were on offense Steve Bisnett, on defense Nick Baker, and on special teams Joey Sanchez. Game balls were given out to Moey Mutz on offense, Jamar Williams on defense, and Chris McKenzie on special teams. Koetter commended McKenzie for the unforeseen high number of snaps he took, as he replaced players both in the secondary and on special teams who left with cramps. Speaking of cramps, two of ASU's timeouts were called because players suddenly were struck with that aliment, and caused coaches to quickly scramble and find replacements to put on the field.

Injury wise Koetter reported that Josh Barrett dislocated his shoulder and will be out approximately four weeks. Mike Williams has a second-degree sprained MCL, and will miss the Utah State game. Jason Shivers injured his sternum and will undergo more tests tomorrow, which will determine his availability. Joey Smith, Lamar Baker, Daryl Lightfoot, Matt Miller, and Kyle Caldwell all practiced full sped and are expected to play on Saturday.

In regards to the cramping Koetter said: "It did seem that it was warmer in the stadium than it has been in practice (the team usually practices at 6 P.M.). One of the lessons that we learned the hard way last night was the new practice format." Koetter went on and explained that the last day of conditioning was July 31st, and then the squad took off a week (per the new practice format) before it started the pre-season practices. There were also a fewer amount of two-a-day practices during camp – a total of three. "In my 16 yards of coaching that the least we ever had. We could have had some more, so it's not entirely the system."

Koetter said that ironically he did complete a coaches' association survey in the pre-season where he indicated that he had fewer injuries this pre-season compared to the last one. "We were sitting here feeling good about things." He added that the team scrimmaged live only twice in the last four weeks to prevent injuries. Koetter did wonder out loud why he had five defensive backs - Hudson, Oliver, Franklin, Stewart, and Golden cramp up, while none of the receivers, who played extensive amount of snaps, suffer from that. Another issue that will be looked at was the sport performance drinks given to the team. This year, the team wasn't using the same formulated drink as last year. In light of what occurred in the NAU, the team will consider reverting to last season's drink.

In regards to the running game, Koetter said that even though on paper Mike Williams appeared to struggle he was the victim of the scheme. "We planned to run the ball off the tight end," Exclaimed Koetter. "And NAU was blitzing off the tight end. Three of Mike's carries were straight into the blitz." Koetter naturally took responsibility for that, and adjusted the ground attack to go inside. By that time Loren Wade and Randy Hill were carrying the ball (going by a pre-determined rotation.), and were the beneficiaries of the fine-tuning by the coaches.

Koetter said he was told to expect 45,000 fans. But when he came out in warm ups it looked like it was going to be bigger than that. "When I came out for the game I didn't look at the stands. But they were loud when the defense was on the field. The students were awesome. They were there early and they did a good job."

The ASU head coach portrayed the post-game locker room as "Very somber. They (the players) have high expectations for themselves. It was a half-hearted fight song they sang last night. The guys weren't happy with their effort." He did remind his team that seven teams dropped out of the top 25 poll in the last two weeks. And when they figure out what to improve on, they will already have one loss. One can hope that when ASU effectively corrects its shortcomings, it will result in a win over Utah State and climbing further up the polls.

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