Carpenter Poised for Another Road Win

ASU, now 5-0 is facing their toughest opponent yet again this Saturday. Rudy Carpenter talked about how it feels to be undefeated, ranked, and going into a tough Washington State environment at his press conference Monday afternoon.

Carpenter talked about how it feels to be undefeated but indicated there is always room for improvement:

"First off, I'm really excited about being 5-0 and winning the game in California, obviously it was good for us too. We haven't been 5-0 here in a long time. Not that I can remember. But I'm glad that we've been able to take advantage of the opportunities we've had to win some games. Offensively I think we've played well. We're putting up some points. Obviously I'd like to be a little more consistent, especially earlier in the game and get off to a faster start, which we haven't been able to the last couple of weeks. Those are things we're going to try to improve on in practice. I think we've been playing well, but obviously there are definitely things we can improve on."

Is the ASU team starting to pat its own back?:

"Yeah, I definitely so. Especially with the new coaching staff I think we're all still trying to figure each other out and get a feel for what we do. But as every week goes on and we keep on winning, I think guys are getting confidence and getting some swagger, which are all important for us to keep winning games. It's just exciting for us." The victory in California marks a turning point for the Sun Devils on the road campaigns but is that resonating with the entire team? :

"I think, the funny thing is, we have so many new guys playing. Junior college kids and even a lot of freshmen playing and to be honest, those guys really haven't been around as long. They haven't been able to experience all the losses we've had in California, so I don't really think it made any difference to them. But, for someone like me, Mike Pollak, Rudy Burgess, or guys like Robert James, I think it was real important because we haven't been a part of that since we've been here so it makes us feel better. But I think for most guys it didn't really matter to them. Just to win was the most important thing."

Field goals might not win against USC Carpenter said, but they don't hurt:

"Yeah, I think when we played teams that we're playing this week or really good teams, getting any type of points is good. Getting field goals is good. Starting out with two drives and getting two field goals is good. The only thing is, when you get down there and you put drives together and you get down in the red zone and you stop yourself, that's where it can be bothersome to us and to the coaches. We never really were stopped. We were stopping ourselves by just being inconsistent, whether it was me not making good decisions or holding the ball too long, or not protecting, just not doing the right things. Those were things where it's bothersome, but anytime you can go down there and get points. That's any advantage, because points are hard to come by. And Thomas [Weber] is and has been doing a good job all year kicking field goals for us too, so he's been pretty reliable."

WSU stadium is notoriously hard for visiting offenses. Carpenter knows this:

"Washington State is a very hard place to play. It's kind of small. The weather is not always good and Washington State is a good team, so it's a hard place to play. It was the first place I had a chance to start on the road. I've been up there before and I know how it is. I look forward to going out there and trying to get another victory."

Carpenter once again addressed questions about what is going to cause problems at Washington State stadium:

"Well obviously Washington State is a good team. They have played against some pretty good opponents. You have to be ready to play against them. We know they are not going to back down from any team they play; Number 1 team in the country, USC, and number 9, Wisconsin, so they have played against some good competition so I know they are not going to be scared of us. I think for us it's just going to be hard for us to be playing on the road. Washington State is a tough place to play. I think one of the biggest challenges from what I saw on the forecast might be the weather, with the rain it may be a bit cold up there.

"It is a smaller stadium but they usually sell it out. They usually have a lot of people in there and they get real loud and really get behind their team. We are going to have to be ready for the crowd noise and make a few adjustments to do a certain thing with our snap counts and be able to communicate better. Stanford was not that loud and Washington State will definitely be a lot louder place to play so that is a big advantage for them we have to get adjusted to."

On the advantage of having one Washington State game there a few years ago: "Yes, it is good especially because there are guys that are older who have been there before and won, so they know how to do it. It's a little different trip going there because you have to fly into a small airport and you have to drive a long ways, stay at a smaller hotel, and drive a long ways again to get to the game. I think that's good because it would all be things that the older guys are used doing whereas a lot of the younger guys may not be used to the road trip. It's a good opportunity to get another road game and hopefully game another win on the road."

Now that ASU is ranked in the AP polls it might seem natural to watch other scores and compare themselves to other rated teams. Is that what's happening?:

"I don't think guys are watching the scoreboard, moving up in the national polls and all those things. I think guys see certain teams losing and certain teams winning. I think it gives us a confidence level that we're right here with all these teams and we just got to keep doing what we do and keep playing hard and just be aware of why teams are losing and why teams are winning. But, I just think it's more exciting for guys to know that we have opportunities, opportunities to get the exposure and keep moving up and all those things. It's just exciting for us more than anything."

The defense had another stellar performance at Stanford. Carpenter's thoughts:

"I think the defense has really played well all year. They've forced a lot of turnovers already throughout the season and they've also scored a lot of points for us, which is just huge and real big for us. They played unbelievable this Saturday, especially Omar Bolden. He had his first start. He got an interception for a touchdown and that's good. But, the defense overall has been playing really well for us and we need them to keep doing that. I think the only times they've been in bad situations is when we've not given them good field position or we've turned the ball over or certain things like that. So, I hope they continue to play well because it takes a lot of pressure off the offense."

Rudy Burgess seems to step up his game at certain points of every season. Was last Saturday Burgess playing to his full potential?:

"Kyle Williams is a great player and so are all of our receivers. But I think when it is all said and down Rudy Burgess is the most experienced, he probably could do the most for us. I think he brings another dimension to our offense that we really need which is: One, he's got a great feel for the game and a lot of the catches he made were difficult catches across the middle or ones where I was moving around and he was able to come back around and get in my vision and find me which are really plays that veterans make. We need that from him, we need a leadership from him. He's been there and done it all but we need him out there on the field. It's good for me to have another play maker out there. Besides that I think he's going to have a big year this year and continue on from this game. I think he's leading our team in catches, if not he's a close second."

On surprising loses from teams expected to win: "Yes it can be surprising when you see teams that you think should win, lose. There are a couple things for me personally or for a lot of guys on the team; one, it really makes you open your eyes and say `Wow, anyone can be anyone on any given Saturday' so we all better be ready to play. Just like last weekend Stanford was 31-31 in the third quarter with Oregon and we know that Oregon is a really good team. It all opens your eyes; you have to be ready to play every single Saturday and can't take any days off. Other than that it's also exciting to watch because you get to see guys just like yourself out there on a Saturday having a lot fun running around making a lot of plays and being a part of big games. Schools like South Florida who are smaller get to beat a big West Virginia team; it's fun to watch."

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