"We haven't played anybody in the PAC-10 yet," Bray said in response to having the #1 defense in the league. "If you look at the offenses we have played and where they are rated and the people we have played; it's good to have three wins but we have to continue to get better at the level of competition that we are going into now."
Bray was a little disappointed with last week's performance which gave up over 300 yards and he knows that his team has to get better to compete in the fast paced PAC-10.
Although the pass defense is much better (#1 in PAC 10 currently) Bray says that both pass and run need to improve in order to win games. "Everything has improved," Bray commented. "We just have to continue to improve."
In last week's game senior defensive tackle Mike Marquardt was out with minor injuries for a good chunk of the game. During that time Bray substituted players into that spot, including senior DT Tashaka Merriweather. "He did a decent job," Bray said about Merriweather's play. "He is not Marquardt, and we need Marquardt very badly."
Bray commented on how there was more than one person who filled that hole. "Actually there were four of five of them who played so it wasn't just Merriweather, it was Jon Hargis, it was a bunch of guys that moved around."
Jeremy Payton and Josh Barrett have been splitting time at the free safety position during games and have seemed to be sharing the spotlight. "It is like every other position, there is competition," Bray said. "If you are performing you are going to play and if you are not someone will play ahead of you." Bray commented that there is no way to tell who is going to get the start Saturday this early in the week and that everything is evaluated practice to practice.
Gerald Munns, a key component of the ASU defense, will miss about a month of play due to his injury, according to Bray. "It's a big loss," He said about the sophomore linebacker. "We have to move people around and it takes a really good player, one that played at least half of the snaps and now he is not playing." They are just going to have to adjust, Bray said. And move people around like Mike Nixon and Morris Wooten to fill the space that Munns will leave. "That is the game of football," Bray said.
Oregon State is going to be ASU's toughest challenge of the 2007 season by far, not to mention their first PAC-10 game. The way Coach Bray talked Wednesday night, made it sound like there have been no real games up to this point. "They have a good quarterback, they have good skill, they have a good package and their offensive line is by far the best we have faced," he said.
The corners have been playing well but with mistakes Bray said. "I have never met a corner who doesn't make a mistake," he commented. "It's part of the position." They are going to get a great chance to show how they have progressed as a unit Saturday night, along with Coach Bray's entire squad.
Bray Realistic About Defense's Performance
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