ASU Will Face a ‘Sound' Cal Defense

The Golden Bears, which will face-off at home on Saturday against the Sun Devils, boast some of the best running backs and wide receivers in the Pac-10. While their defense may not get as many accolades as their offense, ASU head coach Dirk Koetter has certainly taken notice of that unit and its abilities.

"Cal is a very sound defensive team," said Koetter. "Their philosophy is to overload the box. Their an eight-man front team and they'll drop a safety down in there too, so they're a nine-man front on run downs. They're not a big blitz team on run downs, but they have nine men in the box and they keep you contained. They challenge you to attack their corners one-on-one, but yet the corners know where their help is."

Arizona State's two-tight end offensive scheme is successful because it tends to confuse opposing defenses. However, the Sun Devil skipper realizes that this trend may be hard to achieve against the Bears. "A lot of teams…by formations and motion, you can get them out of position," explained Koetter. "Cal is very difficult to get them out of position. You have to execute to beat them. You can't trick them to get them off balance. When you get to third down, all bets are off. Third down…they got every defense known to man. They have a ‘bear' package, an ‘odd' package; they got 11 guys up – everybody on the line of scrimmage. While their run down package isn't complicated, it's just sound and they play real good, their third down package is complicated and it seems like they have guys coming from everywhere."

In ASU's 27-0 loss to Cal in 2004, the last time the two programs met, it was a combination of a stifling defense and miscues on offense that led to the shut out in Berkeley. "They did a nice job, but we had horrible filed position,' said Koetter. "The first half of that game we couldn't get out of the shadow of our end zone. In the second half, where we had better field position, we were able to take some shots down the field but we didn't hit enough of those shots. We had the ball six times in the red zone and we had no points. That's unheard of. That's the only time I can ever remember that happened."

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