"I thought the tempo was good on offense. I thought we played pretty well offensively," said Head Coach Dennis Erickson. "We moved the football with great success and turned it over once. Defensively we didn't dominate like we have, and I knew that coming in. It's a better offensive football team than we faced. We weren't flying around like we have been…when you come in your third game and win 34-13 and you look around the country…I hate to say ‘a win is a win' but it is."
Erickson added that while San Diego State "did some good things offensively", he was proud of is squad not giving up the big play, as well as making plays on offense en route to victory.
ASU's head coach quipped that he takes credit for the nifty moves running back Keegan Herring put on defenders, as he rushed for 161 yards and two touchdowns. With a depleted depth chart, Erickson was even more thankful for the outstanding performance of the junior who got his first start this season. "That's a warrior right there," Erickson stated. "We were down to no backs basically. Dimitri got hurt, pulled a hamstring early. Obviously Ryan (Torain) didn't play. Jarrell Woods really couldn't play…he hung in there and played his rear end off. He made a lot of good runs."
Another backup that emerged on Saturday was wide receiver Rudy Burgess who had a team-high 52 receiving yards, including a 30-yard TD. "It's nice when you have Rudy kickoff return, throw bubble screen to, makes a great play at the end of the half for a touchdown," Erickson commented. "It's nice to have him healthy because he's a playmaker."
Just like last week, the offense employed the no huddle scheme. While against Colorado it was done purely to combat the defense, against the Aztecs it was just due to being in a two-minute drill situation. "Rudy (Carpenter) is awfully good at that and did a good job," said Erickson. "Probably should have used it a little more. It's obviously something we can go to at anytime…he sees things and operates really well. It's something we really have to continue and look at and work on."
Penalties is a another area that Erickson acknowledged that work needs to be done, although he pointed out that unlike last week there were no ‘stupid penalties' such as personal folders, and that the majority were holding calls. He added that he hoped the team didn't loose its aggressiveness over the caution they're exercising in avoiding penalties.
Erickson noted that linebacker Gerald Munns strained his MCL and will be out 2-3 weeks. "He got cut second or third play of the game," he described. "He was out looking at the quarterback and someone came out and cut him. But he'll be back – probably sooner than later."
All week in practice, Josh Barrett was running second team while Jeremy Payton was starting in his place at safety. Barrett did start, but eventually gave way to his backup against San Diego State. "We're playing them both and Payton was playing awfully good," Erickson explained, "so we left Payton in the game and he made a lot of plays for us."
The Sun devil skipper was pleased with his special teams. He was happy to see Thomas Weber's 48-yard attempt converted successfully, even though it didn't have much of a trajectory, and was complimentary of other areas. "Return game was awfully good. I don't think we punted the ball like we needed to. Our coverages were pretty darn good. It was a pretty decent day on special teams." He added that his team was alerted before the fake punt that San Diego State ran successfully.
Erickson admitted that the Sun Devils need to play better as they get set for their first Pac-10 foe – Oregon State. "Do we have to play better next week? Of course. Oregon State is a hell of a team. They slipped once (in a 34-3 loss to Cincinnati) and obviously they don't want to slip again," he said. "I don't know if you ever think you're prepared (for conference play). It's nice to get in there and alert your body chemistry and your mind – because now it's what it's all about. You look at the nine games we have – there's no game we can't win and there's no game we can't lose. The league is so even…nine games – it's a war."
Carpenter wasn't feeling well due to his ankle injury, by the sounds of his he'll be hurting in a different sense when the game film is displayed. "I think the whole tempo of the game seemed real flat on offense and defense," he admitted. "I think tonight once again though we should have scored a lot more points on offense. We killed ourselves a lot; had the one turn over and a lot of penalties again. It's for real next week so we better figure it out."
The ASU quarterback mentioned that the game plan with the absence of Torain wasn't altered. "We're going to try and run the ball and play action. It's the same plan we try to do every week." He said. "I think Keegan had a great game. He had 166 yards rushing and that's a big game out of anybody but I think it's expected of Keegan. Keegan unfortunately is behind a real good back in Ryan Torain, but I think he could carry the load if he had the opportunity so I was happy for Keegan tonight."
Players and coaches alike allowed themselves to enjoy this victory for a short period of time. "The locker room was good," said Carpenter. "We're 3-0, everyone is happy, the guys played good. I think we wish we would have played a little bit better on defense, and had less problems on offense, but we're 3-0."
Erickson, Carpenter Quotes
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