Bray Not Easily Content with ASU's Defense

Defensive Coordinator Craig Bray is keeping his team focused through non-conference play. Although the Sun Devil defense held SJSU to 115 yards Bray found some things that the squad still needs to work on. Following Wednesday's night practice Bray also commented on the level headedness of his players as well as their incredible work ethic on and off the field.

After watching footage of Saturday's 45-3 stomping of San Jose State University Coach Bray was a little less ecstatic about the defense's performance. "Even thought it looks good on the field and good on the scoreboard you go in and watch the film and you got to pick it apart and there were things we did that were disturbing," Bray said.

They were small mistakes that a more experienced team would have picked up on and exploited, Bray said. "It was some mental mistakes in coverage probably more than anything. That could have really hurt us if they would have attacked us."

He might have been referring specifically to Chris Baloney who although is a senior has struggled at the corner position. Referring to Justin Tryon and Baloney, Bray said; "we had out share of mistakes on both sides. So we have to improve every week." Coach Erickson has stressed learning in real time game situations all year. If his philosophy is correct than the corners should be getting better with time because according to Bray "It was just mental, because it wasn't anything physical."

Everything was not all gloom and doom in Bray's mind though and he praised the overall play his guys. "We ran to the ball, we played hard. We flew around and we played with great energy," Bray said. "That's number one; if you are going to make a mistake, make it at full speed."

One player charging all the way to the PAC-10 defensive player of the week was linebacker Robert James. Bray is not going to let that get into James' head thought at practice, during games, or in the press. "It's the fact that he had a lot of stats and played a pretty good game. Those (awards) don't really mean anything now because the day it's over, it's over," Bray commented.

ASU's Defensive Coordinator doesn't think that the honor will get into James' head anyway because he is a self-motivated player just like the rest of the defensive team. It is a nice honor to have Bray said, but at the end of the day they don't really care about trivial awards and they just want to win football games.

Bray also praised players such as defensive end Dexter Davis for his performance ("He probably played as good as anybody we had on defense,") and also linebacker Travis Goethel for their effort in Saturday's win.

Bray coached at the University of Colorado, ASU's opponent this Saturday, during the 2004 and 2005 seasons and is familiar with what the maroon and gold can expect. "They are much improved," Bray said about the Colorado offense. "They try to create confusion I would say. So we have to be really sharp because they do a lot of things."

Anyone familiar with Bray's time at CU knows that he and, at the times, cornerback Terrence Wheatley did see eye to eye. Wheatley has not forgotten that apparently and is looking to make an impression on his former secondary coach by playing some snaps at wide receiver.

As expected, Bray rolled over this issue like a John Deere over a sand castle.

"That's good, that's good," Bray said about Wheatley's motivation. "But anytime you game personally sometimes that can hurt you too. So you just line up and play football."

It doesn't sound like there is any bad blood on Bray's part, but there doesn't seem to be any love lost either. "I have moved twice since I left Colorado so it is not like we have each other's phone numbers."

His players are ready for Colorado which Bray considers game one of the season. "Most of them have been through it," Bray said about big pre-season wins. "They understand that pre-season is pre-season and we have a long season ahead."

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