Carpenter Has Mature Outlook on the Season

Rudy Carpenter has been known to voice his opinion when questioned about, well, just about anything. If you thought that during his press conference before the home opener against San Jose State that you were going to get some juicy quotes that would spill all over the message boards of, think again. The QB was calm, articulate, and most importantly, modest and reserved.

"I am just trying to worry about September 1," Carpenter told reporters Monday afternoon. This immediate response to a baited question posed by a savvy reporter trying to lure Carpenter into one of his infamous slip ups demonstrates Carpenter's maturity as the leader of this team. "I think you can set all these expectations and tall goals and we want to accomplish everything. But the most important thing is we want to win on September 1," Carpenter said.

Winning is everything to the junior signal caller, who is doing his best to filter out any unnecessary distractions. "Man, it's the first game of the year, the most important thing is that you just want to win," Carpenter said. San Jose State might just be the perfect team for Carpenter to fulfill that desire. Last time the Devils faced the SJSU Spartans it was a walloping 53-15 shellacking. This year though will pit new ASU coach Dennis Erickson with Spartan coach Dick Tomey. The two coaches have had quite a history, and there is certainly more riding on this game than W's or L's for Erickson and Tomey.

Despite the extra media buzz surrounding Saturday's season opener, Carpenter views his own team's performance a greater determinant than the entire Spartan defense. "I am not too worried about the San Jose State defense as far as what they are going to do. I'm more worried about what our team is going to do on offense, because I think that is what it's more about for us," Carpenter added.

Carpenter understands the implications of the first game for the fans, as well as for the team. "It is very important to come out fast because it will set the tone for the rest of the season," Carpenter stated. Note, at this point Carpenter has been speaking for five minutes without one lyrical disaster. That could be attributed to Erickson, who when leaving the press room turned to Carpenter and half ordered him, "Watch what you say."

The new Erickson offensive schemes are not a worry for Carpenter who sees all offense the same. "I think offensive football is offensive football. We are going to try to do the same things we did last year. Run the ball, do everything that we always do," Carpenter said. There is always learning that takes place during game play Carpenter added, and he is looking forward to doing some himself. "We still have to get a feel for the coaches a little bit, how they are in game situations and game setting. For me, too, with the offensive coaches, getting into some type of rhythm. That's the kind of thing I am looking for is getting into a rhythm on offense and kind of see how things go from there. Most importantly we want to win," Carpenter commented.

During all three scrimmages the offense was dreary at best. Correction, the throwing game has been dreary, with the running game looking decent. Carpenter thinks that even though they didn't show up to play those two sessions in Tempe, and one in Payson that there has been serious improvement on this side of the ball since fall camp. "I thought we did really well in fall camp. But the times you want to do well is in the scrimmages and I don't think we did as well as we wanted to do in all three of the opportunities that we had," Carpenter explained.

Not sure what to make of it himself, Carpenter did postulate a little at what might motivate the sluggish offense. "I think once the games get here and we go against somebody else we will be able to do a little bit better," he commented. "The thing we have to worry about is not beating ourselves. We got to stop the penalties and the mental mistakes. We will be alright. I will be interested to find out what happens Saturday night."

ASU's wide receiver core is pretty young, with a few underclassmen who are going to see playing time on Saturday. Carpenter acknowledged that sometimes younger guys can be a little cocky and closed minded, but that all of that will change when they "put their pads on and get out there and get hit a couple of times." The lights will be on and the fans will be yelling Saturday, and you can bet that Spartan defensive frontrunner Dwight Lowery will be out there looking to make his presence known.

"Dwight Lowery? He is a great player. They put him on an island a lot of times, playing man-to-man and still playing zone coverage," Carpenter said. That means that if inexperienced receivers like Kyle Williams or Kerry Taylor so much as blink, they may fall victim to a Lowery interception.

Confidence and Maturity are something that Carpenter has been striving for this season, and over the course of the press conference he displayed just that. Carpenter truly believes in this team and their potential to have a great season. "I think our team is ready to play. I think we just want to come out there and play against somebody else."

Like a fine French wine, Rudy Carpenter gets better with age. Hopefully the hard work, dedication, and a little bit of oak barreling in a damp cellar will provide Carpenter with enough self-assurance and game to accomplish everything he has his mind on. "I'm confident in our guys and what they are going to do, and I think we will play well," Carpenter reminded us.

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