Richardson Looks For Strong Finish

The first seven games of the 2005 campaign have been a fierce roller coaster ride for the maroon and gold. At what perhaps is now the lowest point of the season, Terry Richardson believes that there's nowhere to go but upward, and that he and his teammates can still achieve success in the last four contests of the year.

"It's been an eye opener, this isn't where we expected to be, and we just have to finish strong," said the 6-1 186 Terry Richardson. "We're just trying to keep our heads up. This is just part of life – sometimes you have high expectations and you struggle. We got bounced down a few notches and we just have to finish the season strong. We can't pinpoint what's going wrong, but we're gonna fix it. We just need to have a strong week (in practice) and go into Saturday the same way."

The wide receiver was one of the only bright spots in the 45-35 loss to Stanford this past Saturday. He scored his first receiving touchdown of the year, and caught six passes for 119 yards - the second highest total in his career . "I'm just going into every game with the same mindset – I'm the best out here and nobody can stop me."

Being unstoppable is probably more suited to his returning skills on special teams. Arizona State ranks 15th nationally (first in the Pac-10) in kickoff returns. In punt returns they're slotted 22nd nationally (3rd in the Pac-10). Richardson is a significant part of that success. Through six games, Richardson has already eclipsed his total punt return yards, collecting 214 yards in six games and scoring a touchdown to boot against USC. His 285 kickoff yards are nearly double the amount he had in 2004.

"All 11 guys (on special teams) are sticking with their jobs and finishing their assignments," he explained. "If they do their job, and it's one-on-one with me and the kicker, it's no contest and I'll take it to the house every time. I just read their blocks and run hard."

The Sun Devils passing game took a step back against Oregon and the first part of the Stanford game. The emergence of Rudy Carpenter, has allowed the aerial attack not to be derailed with starter Sam Keller out. Carpenter's 304 yards passing and three touchdowns were clearly the best individual performance on the team last weekend at Palo Alto. "It's division I football, and on our team the next person is even better," Richardson stated. "We have the best quarterbacks and the best receivers in nation. That's what our coaches want – a good bench to step up when it's their time."

The fact that Carpenter was here for the informal off-season practices has taken a lot of the guessing work out as to whether he could connect with Richardson and the rest of the receivers. "We've already had chemistry because he was out there in the summer with everybody else," said Richardson." We have our timing down and we have everything in place no matter who the quarterback is."

Richardson acknowledged that converting third downs and big plays, are essential for success this week in order to come out victorious against Washington. Furthermore, he was hoping for a positive and contagious atmosphere among the squad. "A lot of people are looking up to the captains of this team," he stated, "especially the young guys. They have to keep on talking and keep everyone's head up. If those guys have a positive attitude everybody will feed off of that."

The wide receiver knows that anywhere you go in life, you will have the bandwagoners. That's why he chooses to focus on the supportive individuals in his life. "People dropped off, but family and real friends are there," he explained. "As far as the team, we're together on and off the field. We're not concerned who's not in the stands. Coach asked us how we would play with no one in the stands, just the team and the referees – and we all agreed that we would play our hardest. I believe that and I trust every guy in that locker room."

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