Cornerback Says Team is in Search for Consistency

For the last ten or so years, Sun Devil fans have been treated to quite a roller coaster ride of seasons. The team hasn't had consecutive winning campaigns since 1996-97, and since those years the maroon and gold have enjoyed only two seasons with a winning records. Starting out the Pac-10 slate this weekend with a victory is important for sustaining the momentum thus far in 2005, but cornerback Keno Walter-White also has a more large-scale goal in mind.

"We always come out to win, and it's important to win your first game in the Pac-10," said the 5-11 170 Keno Walter-White. "We have to show that we can do it in the Pac-10. Everybody says that we always have up and down seasons, so we want to come out this year and show that we can play with the best of them on Every single down."

Up until now, The transfer from Mesa College in San Diego, is doing his part. The corner is tied for fourth on the team with ten tackles, and had a career high five stops against LSU. After the Northwestern game last Saturday, he received a game ball for his special teams play. "It felt good," he commented on that honor. "I worked hard all week and it show in the game. Coaches told me to hustle and work hard and that's what I did. I take pride in special teams just like I take pride playing corner."

"Coach told us that if you want to be on the filed, you better play special teams," Walter-White continued. "Even Rudy Burgess plays special teams. Being player of the week showed me that I'm working as hard as the coaches want me do and that it's all paying off."

His ten tackles are the highest of any cornerback on the squad, so naturally Walter-White is content with his performance in this role as well. "I think I'm doing real good and I can truly say that my coaches are coaching me well," he remarked. "Receivers haven't had a lot of completions on me, I had some big hits, some deflections…I have no complaints. I can always get better and I'm working hard on that."

The cornerback has world-class speed, and in order to maintain his eligibility in junior college, he had to turn down several invitations for track meets in Europe. While he certainly hasn't slowed down since arriving in Tempe, he has a different perspective on this attribute since donning the maroon and gold. "I know I have Pac-10 speed and I can hang with the best of them," Walter-White explained. "But it's not like junior college – here on the team there are a lot of guys that have the same speed I have. I'm still fast, but they are a lot of guys that are as fast as I am. Some guys are a step in front of me, some guys a are a step behind."

Being athletically gifted as Walter-White can sometimes cause a player to over-depend on his god-given attributes and less on proper procedure. The junior college transfer admitted that he's guilty of this, but has also made a strong and coconscious effort to correct it. "The thing I worked on the hardest - it was probably my technique and not just relying on my talent. I also hustle to the ball more now. I just take it one snap at a time and focus on making a play. If you do that, you'll get better."

Walter-White acknowledged that the intensity in this week's practices are on the same level as the LSU practice week was. From a cornerback point of view, thorough preparation this week makes perfect sense due to the fact that the Beavers will test the ASU defensive backfield with more frequency than the team's first three opponents this year. "Oregon State, that's what they do – throw the ball," Walter-White declared. "They have great receivers and we have to capitalize on that because every time they throw that's an opportunity for us to make a play. If I play like I should and like I'm coached, I should do well. They have great receivers and we'll see how it plays up."

He may have lost his starter spot last weekend, but Walter-White gives credit to the teammate that replaced him, and says he can adjust to either role. "I started the first two games and I liked it," he said. "Last game I came off the bench and that was OK, because Mike Davis started and had a great game. I just want to get as many reps as I can."

With his performance thus far on both defense and special teams that objective shouldn't be hard to accomplish…

Sun Devil Source Top Stories