There was much to be cautious about in the season opener. The last time we saw the Sun Devils play football, Colt Brennan and the Warriors of Hawaii humiliated the Sun Devils on national TV. Both offense and defense were sluggish in pre-season scrimmages and practices. We weren't sure which Rudy Carpenter was going to show up: the sleek 2005 version or the inconsistent 2006 version. And the opposition was San Jose State, a pretty good football team coming off a 9-win season and a bowl berth in 2006.
The pundits were out in full force stating that the Spartans could upset the Sun Devils. Under Dirk Koetter, and perhaps a few seasons under Bruce Snyder, the Sun Devils seemed to play to the level of their competition (NAU last season being a good example). Were the Sun Devils ripe for an upset, despite being 15-point favorites?
Upset? It was not going to happen on a sweltering September evening at Sun Devil Stadium. The Sun Devils played inspired football on both sides of the football en route to a 45-3 victory of SJSU. Even the most optimistic of Sun Devil fans couldn't have predicted the ease with which ASU dominated this contest. But that's the way you take care of weaker non-conference opponents: give them their paycheck, kick some dirt in their face, and send them home with a crushing loss. That's what real football programs do. That's the way Erickson rolls. Finally, after a six-year absence, the Sun Devils have a real head coach again.
There was plenty of reason to be excited after the home-opening victory. Tailback Ryan Torain looked like a legitimate Heisman Trophy candidate and one of the nation's best running backs. Rudy Carpenter looked sharp and poised in the pocket. Linebacker Robert James was a demon on the field, making tackles from sideline to sideline. Freshman receiver Kerry Taylor looks like the real deal and suddenly the ASU receivers are starting to impress.
But most important was the enthusiasm the team displayed. Erickon's Sun Devils are lively and spirited, and that's going to play large once the contests start getting tougher and the stakes higher. Hopefully, flat uninspired football is a thing of the past.
Oh yea, I'm starting to like this Erickson guy. The recruiting is on the upswing, the Sun Devils are smashing weaker opponents, and the team is displaying a little swagger.
Colorado visits Tempe next. The Buffaloes figure to be a tougher opponent than San Jose State. But I'm looking for another fired-up team to come out of the tunnel and give fans another reason to cheer on Saturday nights.
We've started a new chapter in Sun Devil football. But this time, we have a Pulitzer-prize winning coach with the pen.
One Down, Eleven to Go
Sun Devil Source Top Stories
Harvey, Newsome hoping to form potent comboUnder new offensive coordinator Billy Napier, Arizona State is hoping to maximize production from its slot receiver position in 2017.
Sun Devil Source2:49 PM
Podcast: Spring football updatesIn this week's edition of the 'Sun Devil Source Report' podcast, hosts Kerry Crowley and Chris Karpman explain what the Sun Devils have accomplished and what they worked on in…
Sun Devil Source1:05 PM
Louisiana wide receiver snares ASU offerAfter hauling in 63 catches for more than 1,000 yards and double digit touchdowns as a junior, Jorien Vallien is seeing his recruitment start to take off.
Sun Devil Source10:16 AM
ASU hitters meshing with volunteer assistantMany of Arizona State's hitters are crediting improvements in their performances to the Sun Devils' new volunteer assistant coach Michael Earley.
Sun Devil Source8:02 AM
Napier pleased with installation progressArizona State offensive coordinator Billy Napier said the Sun Devils were aggressive in installing new concepts and plays through the first three practices and said he's now…
Sun Devil SourceYesterday at 2:21 PM