James Ready to Turn Up the Heat

ASU senior linebacker, Robert James, is geared up for his third and last in-state battle against Arizona. James played ASU's archrival his first and second season, but missed last year's game due to injury.

Robert James has a little payback in store for U of A, he said. "Because I didn't get to play last year; I was hurt," James said after practice Wednesday night. The outcome of Saturday's game will determine ASU's bowl destination. A win on Saturday will most likely land ASU in the Fiesta Bowl.

That is too far in the future for James to worry about though. "You are only as good as your next play," is James' favorite slogan. But Saturday night is different. Different because it is U of A, he said.

"We all wait for it. That's why they put it at the last game of the season," James said. "Everybody, from freshman and kids in the dorm, they know how important this game is." The senior mentioned how first year coach Dennis Erickson didn't have to hype up the game to the team because they already know how important it is.

"He just told us right now; "I don't think anybody is going to have to tell you, we can't afford to lose this game and have to live with it for 365 days," James said about Erickson.

James is very pleased with the progress the team has made since last season, and the squad's chemistry cannot be overstated. "We are a lot better," he commented. "Everybody knows our lineups, everybody knows assignments. We got comfortable with each other; we have played with each other since camp Tontozona. At camp T we were hoping and wishing for a good season but we didn't know how good we were going to be."

Looking back now I'm sure it seems a long ways away when the team was sleeping in ramshackle bunks in the wilderness dreaming of wins. "We are pretty content," James added.

Despite being disappointed with the team's two losses, James isn't going to let them stay with him. "We had a couple of losses that we would have hoped to win, but you have to go one play at a time," he remarked. "We have this game coming up, we have to take care of that and leave the rest in the past."

"It's going to be an emotional game," he said about his final appearance at Sun Devil Stadium. "You don't know if this is going to be the last time I get to suit up and play in a big game like this." He mentioned a lot of seniors like himself that will be looking to move on and play at bigger levels. "But nothing is promised so I'm going to do like I always do; play every play like it is my last because you never know if it will be. "

The linebacker hopes to play in the NFL after his college playing days come to an end, but realizes there are more pressing issues right now. "I can't speak on it now and I don't want to think about that too much and get distracted," he said. "I have to take care of business first, then after that I will let what happens, come."

"Everybody's skillet is hot right now," James said about the rivalry game. "But I'm ready and I'm going to get it going."

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