Nolan Confident in Reserve Players

A popular post-NAU game theme was the drop-off from the performance of the ASU starters to that of their backups. ASU safety Troy Nolan acknowledges the mitigating circumstances that may have caused this.

Nolan called the performance of the first team defense "a good, positive outing" and you certainly won't find anyone to argue that point since the defense that pitched a shutout against the Lumberjacks all the way until the middle of the third quarter.

The safety was happy to knock off the rust, and it was that same rust, and more importantly inexperience that he felt caused the second team to have somewhat of a rough outing.

"It was just a lot of first time things, it's not like they were out there wanting to play bad," Nolan explained. "They were just getting their feet wet, getting used to the speed of the game. That's all it was. But they're more in tune this week, we talked about the first game as a team and they'll be ready."

Nolan was complimentary towards the backup safeties, Max Tabach and Clint Floyd, and was excited not only for their potential, but also their present performance. "I believe they stepped up in fall camp, they're learning a lot," said Nolan. "They'll have time to grow, but they're also helping us out now."

This week Stanford provides a rare early Pac-10 test, and Nolan embraces the challenge.

"It's great to step into league play in the second week of the season," Nolan stated. "They already won one Pac-10 game, so if you beat them you're one game up on them and that's one more win you need to win the championship."

If in the beginning of the season there was a notion that the Sun Devils will overlook past their first three opponents and onto Georgia, the Cardinal's win over Oregon State last Saturday put that theory to bed. Then again, Nolan and his teammates never try to look too much ahead.

"They're no pushover – we're very focused on Stanford," said Nolan. "They have a lot of senior leadership, players coming back. We're just taking it one game at a time, do what we do every game and that's play hard."

Nolan quipped that he and the ASU defense didn't need a scouting report from center Garth Gerhart, on his brother Toby, who will naturally be a focal point in the game following his 147 yards and two touchdowns against the Beavers in the season opener. His game film has been viewed repeatedly.

"Gerhart is obviously their main running back and he's completed by Anthony Kimble," said Nolan. "So that's a good running back tandem, and we have to just execute our calls."

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