Lubick Proud, Confident of ASU Safeties

Saturday will be the first time ASU Safeties Coach Matt Lubick will see Sun Devil Stadium packed with frenzied fans. The expected 50,000 plus turnout will naturally excite ASU's new coach of the ‘last line', who has been extremely pleased with his group and their performance in fall camp.

Most of Lubick's previous coaching assignments took place on the other side of the football. He has been a wide receivers coach at the University of Mississippi, Colorado State, San Jose State, and Cal State Northridge. His offensive perspective will bring expert knowledge to the already peaking talent of ASU's safety position. While he has admitted to a small learning curve, Lubick said that he has been having fun with the new job.

The safeties have had a great pre-season according to Lubick who feels privileged to be around such great talent. "I think I'm real fortunate because of their work ethic. They are fun to coach. They are their own worst critics and they love to play football," He said. When Lubick talks about his players being hard on themselves, he undoubtedly is referring first and foremost to senior safety Josh Barrett, who is the physical and emotional leader of the group.

"This is a whole new defense for him as far as keys and reads he has picked it up really well. He is in a position in our defense to make a lot of calls and make adjustments and he has done really well," Lubick said of Barrett. The senior is leading a star supporting cast that consists of players like Troy Nolan, Jeremy Payton, Travis Smith, Brent Nenebaer and the list goes on.

Nolan's health was under the radar recently but Lubick cleared that up and said that, "We know he is tough. He has been full-go for about a week and half now."

Payton has been switching between corner and safety during pre-season, but it appears that he has finally found a home on Lubick's unit. "We think he can help the team more there. It's a tribute to him being unselfish. He will play wherever it takes to help the team; he just wants to get on the field. And he is doing a good job," Lubick said. But don't rule Payton out just yet of the corner position, which has had depth issues coming into Saturday's home opener. "Barrett is a good enough athlete where if we need him at corner he can over there too," Lubick added.

A great addition to the ASU safety team is Brent Nenebaer who, apparently, the whole team including Lubick loves. "Brett is a pleasure to have around. His enthusiasm and his love to practice just rubs off on everybody else. Everyone on the team kind of looks up to him. To see him have some success and to know that he is going to be a big contributor this year, I think gets everybody excited. I think everyone on the team is kind of a fan of Brett Nenebaer," Lubick said with a smile.

Lubick remarked that overall he feels very confident with his guys going into Saturday's game. They have the entire defensive package down, they feel strong, and he has a smart group of players who love to play, he said. Minor redundancies still remain that he will be hammering into his pupils in last few days leading up to the San Jose State game. Lubick noted that he is going to stress: "Mental focus. Controlling emotion. Making sure we have our assignments. The big thing that we have to do as far as safeties is be communicators. Communicate the calls. After all that it's pretty simple," he added, "Then just to go out there and have some fun and enjoy it. They have worked hard, they deserve the opportunity to go out there and play in front of some fans and go against a different color."

If the safeties are anywhere near as positive or confident as their coach it should be a treat to watch them in the season opener on Saturday. As far as Lubick's experience with the kids, he summed it up perfectly. "If they give you effort, and they come to practice every day its tough to ask for much more than that."

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