James' Calmness Fuels Aggressive Play

By his own admission, the jubilation of the students storming the field after the 31-20 win over Cal, was a cause for concern for Robert James. Suffice to say that the linebacker's play along with the rest of defense caused its own apprehension for Cal in a second half where the Bears didn't score any points. Once again the halftime adjustments on defense were key in victory.

"They just told us to keep on going hard," said Robert James about the adjustment made during intermission. "They (Cal) really weren't doing anything that we couldn't stop, and coaches said that they weren't gonna change anything. Coaches told us to go back out there, read our keys, and make our adjustments because a couple of plays we weren't where we should be…we just fought as a team."

"We never were worried. We knew we can win this game. We never doubted it. One play at a time and we just kept it going."

With 69 total tackles, eight of them for loss, and four interceptions among other stats, no one could deny the amount of effort the linebacker puts on the field in each and every game. That's why you may be surprised to read how James compares practice and game time.

"We practice hard, and playing the game is the easy part," he claimed. "It's a different attitude. Everybody knows their job, knows their assignments. You prepare for it and the coaches do a good job putting ourselves in a situation – it's almost that what they (the opponent) call is grantee to happen. We know ‘oh, this is gonna happen – we need to be right there.' Gotta give it up to the coaches – they do a great job."

James added that even though he had a "hard time in practice" defending one of Cal's plays, is was that exact play that he executed to perfection as he collected his fourth interception of the season.

A deep understanding of your assignments allows more focus and determination. This is why James sand his teammates didn't get caught up with all the hype going into the Cal game. "When you're in your freshman year, you can see everybody clearly in the stands," he noted. "When you're a senior – you don't see anything. There's nothing to it."

The lack of respect that some media outlets have shown the Sun Devils prior to the Cal contest wasn't lost on James and the Sun Devils. Even though their win over the Bears, should squelch the notion that none of the Sun Devils' victories were impressive thus far, the senior isn't exactly expecting for some newfound love to start pouring on the team.

"I wouldn't doubt if in the paper tomorrow (Sunday) they won't be doubting us," he commented. "We got to take it one week at a time and not worry what they say (in the media). A couple of players on their team (Cal) guaranteed victory, and I haven't beaten Cal since I've been here. People were saying ‘oh, San Jose State, San Diego (State)…' Hopefully now with beating Cal they'll give us respect."

In the midst of his career season, the Phoenix Maryvale product is elated to share an impressive senior year with his family, who watch from the stands every home game. "It's a great feeling to turn around, look in the stands see my son, my mom, my aunt and brothers," he said. "Being able to play in my own backyard and do well is a great feeling."

James doesn't like the slow starts trend of his team, and vows to take action. "Unfortunately we're a second half team," he explained. "We come back; we kind of always play sluggish in the first half and comeback second half. If we can start off the game good…I don't have an answer for that (slow starts). We just have to talk to everybody in practice and say that we have to get this thing going."

Sun Devil Source Top Stories