McFoy on a Mission

When safety Ryan McFoy signed a Letter of Intent with the Sun Devils in 2006, he was heralded as one of the best ASU players ever to be recruited at his position. His freshman campaign lived up to the hype and the future looked extremely promising for the Chino (Calif.) standout. Yet, the change in the coaching staff made for a rough transition for McFoy, who was moved to linebacker last season.

We caught up with the 6-2 214 Ryan McFoy on the first day of spring practice, and as the starting WILL linebacker for the Sun Devils he naturally had an extra bounce on his step on Tuesday. "It feels good but I have to keep my mind straight and learn from my mistakes," he said, "hopefully get better and lock the starting WILL position."

As a freshman McFoy played in 12 games and started in eight of them. He tallied 34 total tackles, two pass breakups and a freshman record two interceptions (one of them returned for a touchdown).

With the arrival of Coach Dennis Erickson and his staff, it wad decided that he would be moved to the linebacker position. The learning curve of the new system, along with established depth at the position, caused his playing time to be significantly reduced and register just 15 total tackles.

Nonetheless, McFoy as the old saying goes, is making lemonade out of lemons, and is not allowing his sophomore performance to set him back for this season. He's not even remotely upset that he didn't redshirt that year.

"I see my sophomore year as a learning experience," he stated. "I felt that I needed that, just to learn the system. We had new coaches; new defense and I don't take what happened as bad. I'm just glad I'm playing right now."

"It was hard going from safety to linebacker, but right now I believe it's much easier than safety. I'm learning the defense, just learning football itself so things are easier now. Back then I didn't know even what I needed to do."

McFoy believes that his speed is probably the biggest asset he brings to the table, and he knows that a player with similar skills is going to battle him hard for the starting role.

"Ollie (Oliver Aaron) is also very fast," he admitted. "I think I playing at a (speed of) high 4.4's. Ollie is going be tremendous. For his size…he's just an animal. He's gonna bring a lot to the linebacker core. I'm excited to compete with him."

As a whole, the ASU defense made tremendous strides last season and played a key role in the numerous comeback wins during that campaign. However, the 52-34 loss to Texas in the Holiday Bowl has in a way negated a lot of the good feelings McFoy and the rest of the defense had about last year.

"We're not satisfied with ten wins, we needed all 13 of those wins," McFoy claimed. "We are working on being undefeated and we are gonna work as hard as we can to get that goal."

The trademark of the Sun Devil defense in the 2007 was its pragmatic, yet highly effective schemes. McFoy believes that approach is a big part of the success this side of the ball experienced. "It's simple, but it works and our coaches are geniuses," he said. "I thank them for brining this defense to Arizona State. Even though it took me time to learn it, it's less complex than my freshman year and I can see myself succeeding in it."

It may a long way until the August 30th season opener against NAU, and the depth chart is very much work in progress at many positions. However, for a player like McFoy that seemingly took a step back last season, being a starter these days carries very strong meaning.

"That's been my mission – to start at the WILL position," he stated. "That's how it's been since last season. Once spring ball is over and I'm starting, I'm gonna work even harder to keep that position and be the starter when the season starts."

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