No Time to Relish the Win Over Cal

The images of a jubilant Dennis Erickson vigorously pumping his fists, and later on sticking Sparky's pitchfork into the ground, are a true manifestation of the joy the ASU head coach was experiencing following the victory over the Bears. Yet the Sun Devils' skipper knew come Sunday that the win, as significant as it has been, needs to promptly be placed in the team's rearview mirror.

On Sunday afternoon Erickson addressed both local and national media via conference call, and talked about various subjects, including keeping the team's emotions is check for the upcoming road game against Oregon.

"The emotional high is over once we get done meeting here in 15 minutes," said Erickson referring to the upcoming team meeting that took place after the conference call. "It was a great win for us obviously, but once we look at the tape of the game from last night it's over and done with. They got tomorrow off and then they're getting ready for Oregon. They don't have much time to celebrate, believe me."

Watching the Ducks and their signal caller Dennis Dixon, is another sure recipe to quickly forget about the accomplishment of last week. The extremely athletic Dixon has been a headache for opposing defense all season long. "I don't that anybody has defended him…we just will try to control him," Erickson commented. "He's just a great athlete that makes plays. He obviously understands what they're doing extremely well. He's hard to control because of his ability to run, get out of trouble, the things they do offensively are very difficult with their spread stuff. If you look at a guy across the country that should be considered for the Heisman trophy, you look at him."

Autzen stadium in Eugene is a venue where Erickson admitted that he hasn't had much playing in when coaching for Washington State and Oregon State in the past. Taking out the normally boisterous crowd out of the game is always desirable, but could also be hard with such an explosive Oregon offense. "We just need to control them a bit," said Erickson. "You're not gonna stop them, they're gonna score some points. On offense we just need to run the football and use the clock to our advantage."

And if all else fails in the first half, another second halftime comeback may be in stored for a Sun Devil team that responds extremely well to adversity. As admirable, and maybe comforting a trait it is, Erickson would love nothing better for his team to start games in a faster manner for a change.

"I think the biggest things is that we are able to get turnovers in the second half, and we've been able to continue and run the football – to me that's the biggest thing," he noted. "Time of possession has been huge for us. We don't make a lot of different adjustments at halftime. I think we're in pretty good condition. We practice in this heat all the time – I really think that has helped."

Standing at 8-0 and #4 in the BCS standings, the obvious questions are raised concerning how this Arizona State team, in Erickson's view, compares to the Miami national championship teams he coached. The Sun Devil head coach pointed to fact that the Hurricanes were an established powerhouse before he got there, while the unknown strongly defined the Sun Devils prior to this season.

"Nobody probably expected us to win eight football games and that's why we took the (one game at a time) approach I talked about, and the approach we'll always take. We just seem to get better, there's some resiliency on this football team, some leadership, and we're just getting better all the time. So it is quite different (than Miami)."

The contest against Cal signaled the beginning of the brutal five-game stretch the maroon and gold will experience to end the 2007 season. As the stage gets bigger and bigger every week, the outcomes over the next coming weeks are unknown. Nonetheless, Erickson knows that the manner in which the team will respond for each and every of these challenges, will be consistent.

"They just have to get ready for this football game. They're been like that all year," he said. "It's not like we're cocky or arrogant – we just get quietly better all the time. They realize they got to earn it every week. That's how we've approached it and that's how they are. I think they'll go up and play as hard as they can, as well as they can in Eugene."

"It's a group that hasn't been there, but you know what – they're having fun. That's kind of what it's all about."

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