Tar Heels Will Not Surprise the Sun Devils

Coach Dirk Koetter said that watching game film of North Carolina this year, is no different than viewing their tapes from the 2002 season.

"I think they're very much (like last year) when you look at the tape," exclaimed Koetter. "They're very athletic; they have speed on the field. Their record isn't great, but they are the type of team that can give you problems on any given day."

Speaking of problems, one Tar Heel that gave the Sun Devils a plethora of tribulations in the last meeting is quarterback Darian Durant. The then sophomore passed for 417 yards and five touchdowns. Koetter said that Durant doesn't offer any new challenges this time around, but nevertheless he is still expected to be a handful. "I wouldn't say he has new wrinkles," claimed Koetter. "I would say he's doing everything better. You look at his 62% completion. He has thrown about 100 balls without an interception. He has thrown only three interceptions versus the three times more for touchdowns. His decision-making is much better. What amazes you is the guy keeps on taking hits and keeps on getting up. That's the thing with an offense like that, you always fear if a guy can take hits and keep on going – he has done that."

Another issue that ASU will have to deal with is the constant shuttling North Carolina does with their secondary. This in turn has an effect on the offensive strategy. "They rotate a lot of guys in their secondary," claimed Koetter. "We can't say that we're trying to get this match up or that match up. We have to go more of a scheme game plan, because it will tough to predict who will be in there."

The long trip to Chapel Hill, NC will force the Devils to have a rare early afternoon practice, and take an early evening cross-country flight on Thursday. "Some schools I've been to you didn't have the option to go in early," said the ASU coach. "You had to catch the red eye $29 flight. Very few games in my career where we had to go through this big of a time change and this long of a trip. I'm not sure exactly if this is the right thing (leaving on Thursday) or not. But with the afternoon game (kickoff is 10:30AM PT), this couldn't hurt us. The hard thing is tomorrow; we land at midnight east coast time, nine o'clock our time. So hopefully the second day is a little easier on our body than the first." Koetter added that Thursday practice will be abbreviated, but as a team they will more than usual time to prepare on Friday. "At this point of the season, between our videos and walk thrus we'll be able to catch up."

Following their impressive victory over Oregon, everyone in Sun Devil country is walking around with a smile. However, Koetter stated that the proverbial post-game hangover lasts much longer after a loss. "Victory feels good. I get to enjoy it one day. Losing sticks with you way longer than the victories. It's unfortunate, but that's the way it is. When you lose, you're basically sick to your stomach all week until the next game. When you win it's a little bit lighter." He added that regardless of the outcome, coaches start thinking about their next opponent within a couple of hours after the game's conclusion.

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