Lackluster Performance Motivates Pollak

Last weekend the Arizona State offensive line took some serious pounding on and off the field. The Oregon State game was easily their worse outing of the season, and the Sun Devil front five had an earful from their coaches, directly and indirectly through the media. The leader of the group, center Mike Pollak, talked to Devils Digest about what went wrong and how he and teammates plan to fix it.

"It's motivation for us and we used practice to get better everyday this week," said the 6-4 292 Mike Pollak about the criticism he and the offensive line has received. "Our performance last Saturday isn't what we do…we didn't want to point fingers at anybody and we take the blame as a group. We took the responsibility upon ourselves to get better on Tuesday's practice. We took it one day at a time, we did get better and hopefully you'll see us playing better on Saturday."

Some blamed the different looks given by Oregon State, as a source of confusion and ultimately a sub par performance by the O-line. Pollak found it hard to single out that reason or any other ones that were the culprits for this situation.

"We were just in a funk that we couldn't get out of and sometimes that happens," he explained. "As a group we're very experienced and we can't let that happen. It's something that we'll get fixed for the week."

Quarterback Rudy Carpenter was sacked four times against the Beavers last weekend. Even some of his spectacular throws on that night, took place after being flushed out of the pocket amid defensive pressure. "Our pass protection has to improve," Pollak stated. "We can't let Rudy get his that many times. He's not gonna last if we do that. That's something that will be our main focus this week."

This week's practices saw a steady rotation along the line with players such as Julius Orieukwu and Shawn Lauvao shuttling in and out the first team. According to the East Valley Tribune Thursday night Lauvao will start in place of Robert Gustavis at left guard. Pollak downplayed any effects that the frequent substitutions may or may have had on this unit.

"We've been rotating those guys since camp, so it's not like we were doing anything different this week," he noted. "We got so many good guys on the O-Line that we have to give a lot of players looks."

Pollak said that this week's practice didn't feel any different because it was in preparation for a road trip. He reiterated a common theme among the Sun Devils this week that the venture to Palo Alto this weekend is merely a business trip. Nonetheless, the center didn't deny that the contest dos carry an extra meaning.

"None of the guys here has ever won in California," he said. "We want to end that California drought. We just have a list of things that makes this game important, not just that we want to go 5-0. There's a lot much more at stake. We're just taking this game as the most important one we have right now and nothing else matters."

Pollak mentioned that the front four he and his teammates will face, should be identical to the group they faced last season in the Sun Devils' 38-3 home win. "They bring a lot of enthusiasm on defense," Pollak remarked. "They come to play pretty hard and we're expecting with their new coaching staff that they'll be excited to play us as well."

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