Familiarity Does Not Breed Concern

Ever since Dan Hawkins took over as Colorado's head coach, the match-up with former boss Dirk Koetter became a highly intriguing game. The Buffaloes also have longtime Koetter assistant Mark Helfrich on their staff, which could further negate the edge the Sun Devils should have over a struggling 0-2 program. The ASU head coach however, isn't about to change his ways when facing-off on Saturday.

At his weekly press conference, Koetter quipped that he wouldn't signal the plays in, but rather call the quarterback over to get the plays to prevent signal stealing by his old friends. Koetter, who will be coaching his 100th contest as a head coach on Saturday, contended that it will be business as usual in Boulder this weekend. "We are going to game plan like we normally do," said Koetter. "It has nothing to do with the fact that Mark (Helfrich) or Hawk (Coach Hawkins)…They know what we are doing, they watch our film. Just like I watch their film and identify what they are doing. Identifying it and doing anything about it on the field those are way different things."

He added that Colorado is struggling on offense and that "there's no way of sugarcoating that. Since I know their coaching staff well, I know that they're gonna come out of it at one point – hopefully not this week." On the other hand the Sun Devils skipper mentioned that the Buffaloes have a very stingy run defense, and even with their dire straits these days will be "the best team we've played to date."

Koetter has the outmost respect for the Buffaloes, who are two-time Big XII North defending champions. "They have good players, good athletes…compared to the two first teams we've played, they are the biggest, fastest, strongest team we've played to date," he explained. "That's always going to concern you. They are going through a transition period with the coaching staff. I know how that is. They are going to break out against somebody. We are going on the road for the first time. Those two things are something we must be aware of. We have not played our best on the road in the past. That is something that we've pointed towards for this season. "

Theoretically speaking, Colorado does represent ASU's toughest non-conference game this season. Conversely, losing to 1-AA Montana State at home, which preceded a loss to Colorado State, may have taken the luster off this once highly anticipated match-up. Koetter claimed he doesn't put much stock in what has transpired thus far in Colorado's season. "Every football game takes on its own shape," he commented. "Obviously when a 1-AA team upsets a BCS conference team it's surprising. We play Colorado this week. We know the dangers in that. All you have to do is turn the film on to see their athleticism - it's there. We just have to take care of things and get better. We improved a lot last week, and I would hope we would continue to improve. Great teams improve every week. We hope to improve at that same rate."

Other Press Conference Notes

The team's Scout Players of the Week were as follows:

On offense Tashaka Merriweather, on defense Andy Howe, and on special teams Brett Nenaber.

Game balls were given to Zach Miller on offense, Ryan McFoy on defense and Tyrice Thompson on special teams. Three additional special awards are given each week, and they are for the best hit of the game and best effort, both won by Robert James, and best play of the game honors was shared by Ryan McFoy for his interception that was returned for a touchdown and Mike Jones who laid out beautifully for a touchdown catch.

The captains for Colorado will be Zach Miller, Brandon Rodd, Kyle Caldwell and Zach Catanese.

All four running backs have been getting their fair share of carries, but don't expect that trend to last further the conference opener against Cal. "We definitely need to define the roles of the running backs," said Koetter. "When conference play comes, at the latest, we need to definitely define that. We are still trying to establish the roles that are taking shape each week. We feel good about five running backs on our team. We feel good about our sixth, Rodney Glass, who is a redshirt. That's one of the penalties of being deep; you have to keep them all happy. You have to find a role." Koetter added that while he was happy with the play of the running backs to this point, he does yearn for more consistency with his ball carriers.

No word yet on whether Rudy Burgess, who suffered a concussion in the Nevada game, will be able to suit up for Colorado. "Rudy Burgess is day-to-day with a concussion," remarked Koetter. "We are one of few schools in the country in which our guys don't randomly come back from concussions. They take a baseline concussion test at the first of every year, and when a player gets a concussion he has to go back on the computer and he has to equal or get better than his baseline score before the doctors will clear him to have contact. Rudy will start taking the test either today or tomorrow. He will not be cleared for contact until he passes the test. We'll see how that goes. If I know Rudy Burgess, it will be hard to keep him off the field. It's not even up to him. It's up to him passing the test."

There has been no change in suspended wide receiver Jamaal Lewis' status. "We are still waiting on information on Jamaal Lewis," Koetter explained. "I'm hoping any day to have information on that and then we can move forward."

The availability of defensive end Loren Howard is questionable as well, although a bit more encouraging. "Loren worked out with the team yesterday," said Koetter. "It was run and lift day. He lifted with the team. He ran on the side and looked good running. He is cleared for anything, even playing, for up to his pain will allow. It's a quad injury, and they (the trainers) were at a point that they couldn't tell if he was re-tearing it or if he damaging scar tissue. He had to sit for a week. It is usually the day after where you are going to have more pain or less pain. I would say Loren is close but questionable for Colorado, hopefully probable for Cal. I'm confident that when Loren returns he will contribute." Koetter did say that he is pleased with the defensive linemen that are playing, and with the ability to rotate many players at that position in and out without a drop-off in play.

The Nevada game marked the debut of true freshman quarterback Danny Sullivan, and as expected he did display some nervousness. "Danny has a very strong arm. Sometimes when you have a strong arm you can't wait to show it off," said Koetter. "He about decapitated Jeff Gray on that one out-route. He is playing well at practice. But game speed is different than practice. The experience was awesome for him. He is not where he needs to be at. I still look back, as a true freshman, Rudy (Carpenter) wasn't near where Danny was at, so I'm pleased with where Danny is at. With that being said, I hope he doesn't have to start for us."

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