2004 Record: 3-9
The Wildcats have continued to recruit well this off-season, pulling in a class ranked among the top half of the conference. Head Coach Mike Stoops replaced the departed Steve Spurrier, Jr. with former Oklahoma great, Josh Heupel, to coach the Tight Ends.
Key Losses: TE Steve Fleming, OT Brandon Phillips, and C Keoki Fraser, WR Ricky Williams
Key Returners: RB Mike Bell, QB Richard Kovalcheck, TB Chris Henry, WR Syndric Steptoe, WR Mike Jefferson, OG Kili Lefotu, OG Tanner Bell
Storyline(s) of Interest: Quarterback and Wide Receiver. The Cats will be looking for more consistency on the offensive side of the ball and it all starts up front at QB. Kovalcheck will be looking to build upon a young 2004 campaign. He showed some signs (Oregon and ASU game) but has lots of room for improvement. Kovalcheck would benefit from an improved receiving corps. Somebody has to step up on a consistent basis though. Syndric Steptoe is a great athlete and looks to be the leading candidate at this point.
Key Losses: DE Andre Torrey, LB Kirk Johnson, LB Pat Howard, DT Carlos Williams
Key Returners: DB Antoine Cason, DB Wilfrey Fontenot, DE Marcus Smith, LB Dane Krogstad, S Lamon Means, S Darrell Brooks
Storyline(s) of Interest: Defensive Line and Linebacker. The future of the secondary appears to be bright with a couple of the young guys like Antoine Cason so in order for the Wildcats to make the jump to the upper half of the Pac-10, the trenches need more production. At Linebacker, UA loses two seniors. However, the younger talent on board appears to have a higher ceiling. Raw talent is there but they will be short on experience.
Arizona State Sun Devils
2004 Record: 9-3, Sun Bowl win over Purdue
Defensive Coordinator Brent Guy moved on to Utah State and Bill Miller, Florida LB coach, was brought in to lead the Defense. During Sun Bowl preparations in December, RB Hakim Hill was dismissed from the team. Head Coach Dirk Koetter received some great news with a sixth year granted for both S Manny Franklin and CB RJ Oliver.
Key Losses: QB Andrew Walter, C Drew Hodgdon
Key Returners: WR Derek Hagan, WR Terry Richardson, ATH Rudy Burgess, OT Grayling Love, TE Zach Miller, OT Andrew Carnahan, OG Zach Krula, OG Stephen Berg
Storyline(s) of Interest: Quarterback and Running Back. Sam Keller gave a Sun Bowl performance that has most Devil fans anxiously awaiting the 2005 season. However, Keller's arm will likely be tested more this season as it remains to be seen how this offense produces if the ground game isn't as successful. The run game should be helped by quite a bit of experience coming back on the Offensive Line. The Devils' offense is still in need of a consistent ground game in order to take it to the next level. If Loren Wade remains eligible after a suspension last September, then that is a big plus for ASU as they will be without Randy Hill early in the year (ACL injury recovery) and no Hakim Hill.
Key Losses: DT Jimmy Verdon, DE Ishmael Thrower, LB Justin Burks, S Riccardo Stewart, DT Gabe Reininger
Key Returners: DT Jordan Hill, DE Kyle Caldwell, CB R.J. Oliver, S Emmanuel Franklin, LB Dale Robinson, LB Jamar Williams, CB Josh Golden
Storyline(s) of Interest: Defensive End and Corner. Kyle Caldwell has emerged as one of the conference's top young rush ends. However, Caldwell loses a steady performer opposite him in Ishmael Thrower in 2005. The DL would best be suited by finding another pass rusher in order to avoid too many double teams on Caldwell. DT Jordan Hill has emerged as a growing pass threat in the middle but will that be enough? RJ Oliver will be back this year after sitting out all of last year but the question mark is his health in the fall. ASU will be short on CBs this spring as Josh Golden and Chad Green will be out as well.
Spring Glances Part III – The Arizona Schools
Sun Devil Source Top Stories
Instant analysis: Limited ASU falls shortArizona State started strong against Washington State, but an injury-ravaged squad allowed 28 straight points in a 37-32 loss Saturday.
Sun Devil Source12:15 AM
Injuries continue to ravage ASU depth chartWith its top three quarterbacks sidelined due to injury, Arizona State was forced to play freshman Dillon Sterling-Cole for the better part of three quarters against Washington…
Sun Devil SourceYesterday at 11:45 PM
Crump's career night not enough for ASUArizona State junior Koron Crump led the Sun Devils' pass rush with three sacks, but a season-high seven sacks for the Sun Devils wasn't enough to curtail Washington State's…
Sun Devil SourceYesterday at 11:31 PM
ASU falls to WSU 37-32 in close finishASU starting quarterback Manny Wilkins left Saturday's game in the first quarter, forcing freshman Dillon Sterling-Cole to take over for the Sun Devils.
Sun Devil SourceYesterday at 9:59 PM
Expert preview and viewing guide: WSU at ASUArizona State (5-2, 2-2) takes on Washington State (4-2, 3-0) on Homecoming at Sun Devil Stadium Saturday at 7 p.m. Here's our expert preview of the Cougars and a game prediction.
Sun Devil SourceYesterday at 9:44 AM