Loren Wade Rolls With the Punches

His ASU career may be only seven games old, but the redshirt freshman running back has already experienced promotion, demotion, and everything else in between. In this exclusive DevilsDigest interview, Wade clearly showed that he puts the team's welfare before his own.

The Sun Devils running back is coming off a career high game in both yards (130) and carries (16). He jokingly says that he isn't as tired as one would expect from some one who eclipsed the century mark rushing the ball. "We had a good rushing game," said Wade when he recapped the win against the Tar Heels. "I had 130 yards, Hakim (Hill) had 74…I have to give credit to our line. They played real hard all game, and so did (fullback) Mike Karney. Our line has been playing with a lot of heart, and their character shows on the field." When asked why the North Carolina game marked his breaking out party, he replied: "Going into this game, I was probably the most healthy I've been all year. That was a big factor."

The running back from Gardena, CA was one of the most acclaimed players in his recruiting class. After redshirting in 2002, he has played in all seven games this year. His only start of the season came against Utah State. Other than that game, he has been No. 2 in the depth chart between then starter Mike Williams, and current starter Hakim Hill. Even though reps have been hard to come by in this crowded ball carrier group, the redshirt freshman has an unselfish opinion on the matter. "I haven't really took it as a negative," he exclaimed. "I do what I need to do to help the team. Basically, as long as everybody gets the job done it's OK. If you get injured, the coaches have to go the next best guy. There's no real importance for me starting, as long as the team is doing well and winning."

An injury limited him in the Iowa game where he carried the ball for only three times. At the time, coach Koetter commented that even after his injury Wade didn't seem to be the same player as he was prior to his ailment. Nevertheless, he has been instrumental in ASU's current two-game winning streak, rushing for 207 yards and two touchdowns during that span. His 378 rushing yards are second best on the team, trailing Hakim Hill by only 12 yards. Wade has the team's longest run from scrimmage this year at 56, and is currently fifth in team scoring with 18 points.

As a first year player, he admitted that he's still learning the game as it's played in the division I college football level. "The speed of the game is very different than high school," Wade stated. "When I redshirted I got bigger and stronger, and got used to the speed of the game. I think I'm really getting the hang of it now." There are other adjustments from his prep days that Wade had to implement in his game in order to succeed. "You Gotta protect that ball at all times," he said. "You have grown men that are bigger and faster than high school players coming right at you. It's a real challenge. Protecting the quarterback is a big thing in college compared to high school. You can run the ball all day, but when it's time to throw it, if the quarterback doesn't have time, it's not happening."

Basking in the glory of a win, according to Wade, is not a common trait of this ASU team. He added that this attitude could only help in preparations of future games. "Our team does a good job enjoying it while it lasts," claimed Wade. "The North Carolina game is over with. It's off to a new team, and we have to be focused, get prepared for them, and go in and get another one."

Wade who has grown up in the Los Angeles area is naturally looking forward to playing a team from his own backyard. "It will be a big game. I was never was a UCLA fan growing up, I was always an USC fan. So this game is a big thing for me. The Rose Bowl is where it all happens. They played for the national championship a few years ago. Playing there will be a very good experience." And with each performance, Wade has quickly become less of a wide eyed first player, and more of a talented and experienced ball carrier that has helped the ASU offense improve their game in recent weeks.

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