QB Puts Performance in Perspective

Rudy Carpenter will be the first one to admit that his performance against Cal was his worst ever. However when looking at the overall picture, he believes that they are some things that need to be kept in mind when evaluating what happened last Saturday in Berkeley.

It was certainly a rough day at the office for Rudy Carpenter when he faced the Golden Bears. The sophomore completed 44% of his passes for 177 yards. He passed for two touchdowns, but also had two of his four interceptions returned for scores. Despite those numbers, He doesn't understand some of the reactions to his play that day. "Everyone freaked out and panicked over one loss," he said. "It is one loss and we can still do everything that we wanted to do in the beginning of the year. The Pac-10 is a good league, and we have to just get back on our feet this week."

Getting back in the saddle can be easier said than done if the right support system isn't in place. Then again, that was never the issue with the Sun Devil signal caller who was aided by many individuals when trying to bounce back for the upcoming game. "The biggest thing was my teammates," Carpenter noted. "They were the first ones to come up to me and just say ‘keep your head up…it's a long season to go.' My family was supporting me too. I'm not too worried about it. Everyone is not gonna have a good day everyday. A lot of people expect me to, and I'm gonna try to, but I'm just not gonna have a good day every time I'm out there. I was disappointed because obviously it was a game that I wanted to perform well in."

While Carpenter may not be a seasoned veteran, he certainly isn't wet behind the ears either. In 2005 he was 4-1 as a starter, and led the nation in pass efficiency at the end of last season. All those facts are some of the factors that help the psyche of one Rudy Carpenter. "I did get a lot of phone calls, because everyone thought I committed suicide," he quipped. "It was one game. I think I'm still in the top on the nation in touchdown passes, and that's something positive to look at. I'm also one of the top quarterbacks in the nation in interceptions and that's something I'll improve on. I can always look back at last year, and know that I can play in this league. It was just one bad day and one bad game."

ASU head coach Dirk Koetter felt that in the team's practices last week, the timing between Carpenter and the wide receivers wasn't up to par. Carpenter admitted that this aspect is still work in progress, as all parties try to better themselves in this area. "It's so hard, because T-Rich (Terry Richardson) and Jamaal (Lewis) are the older guys, and they switched positions and I'm trying to get the timing down with those guys," he commented. "Rudy Burgess has been in and out of the lineup. Nate (Kimbrough), Chris (McGaha) and Mike Jones all have a little bit of experience and trying to get a feel for everything…I'm even trying to get a feel for everything. I only started nine games in my career and it's not as much as a lot of people think it is." Carpenter added that perhaps his best receiver out there, tight end Zach Miller, didn't get a lot of balls thrown to him against Cal because of his expanded duties as a fullback in what was a successful running game, as well as being taken away by Cal's defensive scheme.

Speaking of that scheme, Carpenter admitted that it was highly effective and he expects to see more of the same game plan from Oregon's defense on Saturday. "Cal did a lot of things to our passing game to frustrate me and pressure me," he said, "and I didn't handle that pressure very well. I'm expecting the same style of defense from Oregon. I don't think they're as physical as Cal, but they're a lot quicker than Cal and more athletic. They're ranked higher than Cal, so they must be a better team."

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