Center Puts Cal Loss Behind Him

There is no doubting that the defeat to Cal is one that will linger around the ASU team and its followers for most of this week. It may be easier said than done, but Drew Hodgdon tells DevilsDigest in this exclusive interview that putting that defeat in the rear view mirror is essential when preparing for the upcoming game at Stanford.

"Like every week, you have to come back and do your best win or lose," said the junior who started all nine games at center in 2003. "The season didn't end with this game, and we're doing our best to put it behind us. We're gonna come out with a lot of emotion this week, and put it all together." Case in point, the entire team huddled up in the beginning of practice to sing the fight song, before breaking out into the position drills.

Hodgdon is one of approximately 40 players who have had one-on-one conversations with Coach Koetter in the last 48 hours. Through these conversations, the ASU skipper is trying to gage the pulse of his team, as well as get some feedback from his players that can help with determining what approach is needed to successfully play out the last few games of the season.

The center said that the conversation with the coach centered on the essentials of success. "To sum it up, we talked about getting back to basics and the fundamentals that brought us to the success we've had in the past," exclaimed Hodgdon. "We talked about having higher intensity in practice, and doing the little things right. We can't think about what people outside our family are thinking. We have to focus on our next game."

In his press conference on Monday, coach Koetter made the comment that practicing most of last week in shells and not full pads was mistake. The junior generally didn't refute that notion. "I'd agree with that," Hodgdon said. "It's hard to say in retrospect if it had to do anything with the loss, but I think it certainly took away from our intensity. The loss to UCLA took away from our momentum too."

The offensive line has been one unit that has been receiving constant praise from Koetter in 2003. That is quite the turnaround from last season, where the front five were much-maligned week in and week out. However even then, Hodgdon was one of the lone bright spots on the unit. He started all 14 games last year at right guard, and earned honorable mention All-Pac-10 honors.

"As a whole I think we're performing much better this year," claimed the center. "There's probably no one individual that's having an outstanding season, and that's something we can definitely improve on. But as a unit we're performing better."

One game at a time was the battle cry for Coach Koetter's predecessor Bruce Snyder. Hodgdon said that this mantra is vital for success at this juncture of the season. "I think the most important thing is to forget about the past," he said. "We better have a real short memory this week. We have to realize that we're not worried about the record, but just worried about the next game. We have to battle day by day, and take each game by itself. That's our number one priority this week."

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