The Sun Devils' defense started out the season playing very well. They created short fields for the offense and won the turnover battle. Unfortunately, as the season has progressed, the defense has regressed. The guys on the defensive side of the ball have not improved as the season has gone on; in fact, they have gotten worse.
As many of you know, I am one of the most optimistic Sun Devil fans on the face of the plant; however, today's game against Cal was the last straw with me. The defense could not stop the Golden Bears in the first half and accordingly, the game was a blow out.
Dirk Koetter's offense scored 17 points in the first half. That is enough to be in the ball game, if not enough to be ahead. But Brent Guy's defense allowed 35 points in the opening half, thereby putting the game out of reach before the second 30 minutes was ever played.
Koetter is the head coach and offensive coordinator. Because of his vast duties, he does not have the time to put his stamp on the defensive side of the ball, too. The defense is all Brent Guy. Well, Guy's defense has not met the necessary standards during his time here. It may mean that he was the scapegoat, but it is time to hire an experienced, proven defensive coordinator.
Normally, I am all for letting coaches improve over time and giving them the time necessary to get their guys into the system, etc. Today's game, however, changed my view on Guy. The play that broke the camel's back was the first and six from the ASU six yard line in the first quarter. Everyone in the entire stadium knew that Cal was going to run up the middle. They had been doing it the entire drive. Guy, however, had safety Brett Hudson in the game instead of Linebacker Jordan Hill. On schedule, Cal ran in for the touchdown untouched. No defender even laid a hand on the Bears' running back. Following that play, the defense went on to allow scores on just about every possession the Bears had in the first half. In short, they were a sieve.
With pre-season expectations set so high with much of the hype coming out of the athletic department itself, somebody has to take the fall this season. The scapegoat will and should be Guy. He has yet to prove that his defenses can do more than just "keep them in the game." Great teams have defenses that can win a game here and there. The Devils are a long way from winning anything on the defensive side of the ball.
The author can be reached at email@example.com
Photo Courtesy of the Associated Press
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