Confidence Aided Sun Devils in Comeback Win

ASU Head Coach Dennis Erickson knows it's hard to play with great emotion every week. His team proved that theory on Saturday. Following a convincing victory against San Jose State, ASU found itself in a hole, down 14 points to Colorado in the first quarter. Penalties and errors aside, it was hard for Erickson not to be impressed with the way his players responded to adversity that night.

"This team believes in itself. They worked real hard and they know what they're capable of doing and they did it," said Erickson. "I think they felt during the game when they were behind 14-0, that they had control of the game physically and the other team was getting a little tired."

The Sun Devil skipper was pleased with the way practices have gone so far this week, but knows they're usually no correlation between quality of practices leading up to a game and the actual performance on Saturday. "We had pretty good two days. We got a lot of things done and we'll see where we are at tomorrow," he remarked. "I like better the way we practiced offensively this week, than I did last week. But who knows…been around bad practices-good games, good practices-bad games…we're just focused more; not blowing as many assignments…just more energy is probably the biggest thing."

Erickson doesn't know if the scare the team received against Colorado made his squad more focused, but admitted that it definitely scared him. "It tells you that you have to be ready to go and anyone can bring it to you," he noted. "The good thing is that we were able to overcome it and win. That's a good thing. "

The ASU head coach preaches to his players that every week is an opportunity and you might as well take advantage of it because you're never gonna have it back. "One of our goals is to go through the pre-Pac 10 season undefeated," he stated. "We have an opportunity to reach that by winning this football game. We need to be focused in. San Diego State is talented…we're gonna be challenged and we got to be ready to play."

This week in practice starting safety Josh Barrett was practicing often on the second team, but Erickson said that this is nothing more than giving an opportunity for backup Jeremy Payton to play with the starters, and that the depth chart there hasn't changed.

Erickson mentioned that Luis Vasquez tweaked during practice the same ankle injury that sidelined him for a few weeks last month, and as a precaution the defensive end didn't fully practice today. "I'd be surprised if he wasn't ready to go," said Erickson concerning the availability of Vasquez for the San Diego State game.

The player's health that is being watched the closest is naturally that of running back Ryan Torain. "Torain did a little bit more. You never know," said Erickson, "Thursday, Friday and all day Saturday a lot of work can be done on those injuries. With Ryan it will be a game-time decision. He might do a little bit tomorrow, and we'll see where it's at Friday and make that decision then."

Fellow running back Jarrell Woods may see his first action of the season this week according to his head coach. "Jarrell is better today," Erickson commented. "Yesterday he did a lot and he was sore this morning because he hadn't (practiced in a while). He actually came back today and did some good things and I think he'll be ready to play."

Erickson added that now that his top four running backs could all be available for the first time this season, he's anxious to see how the reps would be allocated among all of them during a game.

Dane Guthrie had converted during fall camp from tight end to defensive end, and Erickson has been happy with that move as the junior is improving with each passing week. "With Luis and him alternating in there, it's a pretty good 1-2 punch," said Erickson. "We got about four defensive ends that have been playing pretty well with (Paul) ‘Unga and along with Dexter Davis. Kellen Mills has been hurt and he's back healthy now so we have five guys you can rotate in there. It (the defensive end position) went from no depth to some depth."

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