Pleased with Stanford Win, Focus is on UNLV

After taking a look at the film yesterday on Saturday's victory over Stanford, ASU Head Coach Dennis Erickson came away pleased overall with the way his team played, but still doesn't feel he that his team is quite where they need to be yet as they prepare to host the UNLV Runnin' Rebels.

"I thought we played well at times, we are a ways away from where we need to be. We played pretty good offensively, we were able to mix it up," said Erickson, "They did some things defensively that forced us to run the ball, I thought we ran the ball well. We made some big plays, Rudy had another good game and the receivers caught the football."

"Our front played pretty well, defensively we stopped their running game to a point, but they were able to move the ball on us at points. We knew they were going to do that, we didn't give up the big play and we got some, which was kind of a key. We just have a lot of work to do, we aren't where we need to be to compete in our league, and I just don't feel like we are there yet or close to it."

Something that Erickson wasn't pleased with was his team settling for two field goals down near the goal line early in the game. The veteran coach said that they need to punch those in for touchdowns or it is going to cost them down the road.

"We made a couple of mental mistakes. It is just frustrating, when you get down in there you can't come out with three points, you have to come out with 14 points. If we don't, we are going to get into a game situation where we are going to need those touchdowns instead of field goals."

"First two times, the very first play we ran we missed an assignment, just stupid stuff that shouldn't happen," explained Erickson, "The third time down, they had all those guys down in there, so we threw the ball. We have to be able to do that on the two yard line. We will continue to be in that formation, continue to work on what we are doing, we are not going to give it up. We just made mental mistakes and didn't block the right guy. That has happened to us down there the last couple years."

Another point of emphasis for the Devils will be kick coverage. Erickson was pleased with the coverage early in the game when Shelley Lyons stopped Stanford's return man before he hit the twenty-yard-line. Later in the game, Erickson said the big returns was just getting out of coverage lanes.

"We got of lanes on two of them, we actually got them inside the 20 three times. There were just two times we got of our lanes, we just didn't cover well. It is correctable, more of assignment thing than a physical thing."

Erickson was pleased with the play of his tight ends, especially Dan Knapp and Jovon Williams. Erickson explained that he was worried about the position coming into the year, but now feels like the young talent at that position is holding their own.

"I thought Dan did a nice job, happy with how he played. Jovon made a good catch; we have to continue to get better blocking. It is an area that is getting better all the time. We are holding our own at that position."

Another tight end, Andrew Pettes, left early in the game with a groin injury. Along with Keegan Herring and his hamstring, Pettes will be considered day-to-day.

"I really don't know, I haven't got a report today. As of yesterday, it will be a day-to-day thing with him," Erickson said of Herring, "I don't know, it'll be the same thing with Pettes, he has that groin and Keegan has the hamstring. We just have to go day by day, I probably won't have an answer for you until Saturday."

Erickson also gave an update on Angelo Fobbs-Valentino, who was injured against NAU.

"He has got an MCL, he doesn't need surgery, he'll be about three weeks. He'll be ready after our bye week for the Cal game."

Erickson officially stated that Gerald Munns will have a pin put into his pinky finger, that he broke in practice last week, but played through against Stanford.

"In practice last week he broke his pinky, pretty severely. They felt that he could play with a cast for this game, so he played," informed Erickson, "In order for that thing to heal correctly they have to go in and put a pin in there, that is what they will do tomorrow. He'll have a cast, I doubt he'll play Saturday but he'll play the next week."

Erickson joked that Munns, who was named Pac 10 Defensive Player of the Week with the cast on, should keep playing with the cast.

"Maybe he should play with the cast on, like I told him, he picked that one off with a cast, might as well leave it on."

Aside from Munns, Erickson was pleased with the play of Dexter Davis on the defense. Davis collected two more sacks, giving him an NCAA leading four in two games.

"He is so strong, an ex-wrestler, so he has tremendous balance in him. He is very explosive, gets into guys and knocks them back," said Erickson of his highly touted defensive end, "He is athletic and gets off blocks that is part of the wrestling that he did in high school. He can run, he has all of those things put together."

"Is he the biggest defensive end in the country? No. But he makes up for it with his explosiveness and his strength. He has played well in the first two football games and played very well Saturday. But he played good all year last year, that is expected that he plays that way for us."

When asked if he was worried about his team looking past UNLV and ahead to Georgia, Erickson said he wasn't worried about falling into a trap game.

"We all know the schedule, you play one, play two, now you play three. That has been the mindset ever since I have been here. When I first game here, we talked about the winter conditioning program, then spring football, it is the same way this week, our players know the schedule," stated Erickson, "But they are also very focused on what they need to get done, this is a big game. If you look at Las Vegas on tape, they had a chance to beat Utah. They had a chance in the fourth quarter to beat them. They are a good football team; they run the spread like everybody else is now."

"They are very effective, they have a running back by the name of Summers, he is about 235 pounds, and he's a beast and can really run in there. They move the football and they play good defense. They are very capable of beating us. We are a team that needs to focus every week against every opponent, and if we don't we aren't going to win the games. Our players know that. They will be prepared to play."

Summers is a running back that is very similar to Stanford's Toby Gerhart, which ASU contained quite well last week.

"They are similar. He is shorter than Toby (Gerhart), thicker built; he is more of a bowling ball type guy. But he has the same type of ability that Toby has, he breaks tackles. If you watch him on tape against Utah he made some big runs for them. He is just a good back for what they do."

Erickson has a history with UNLV coach Mike Sanford and similar to Jim Harbaugh at Stanford, Erickson is seeing a change in the Rebel's program under Sanford.

"I knew him when he was at USC, he is an outstanding coach, he is getting that thing going you can see the improvement. He does a nice job and they are playing well on defense right now, they kind of changed things offensively, they have gone to the spread. They have a quarterback that is very athletic, they do a lot of things that NAU did."

"We are going to see a lot of the same things that Oregon does and Arizona does. There are about six teams that we play that do the same thing, in fact we are kind of in the minority now just lining up under the center. Maybe I have to spend time getting ready for us," joked Erickson.

The Devils will return to practice at Kajikawa Field tomorrow night at 6:20 in preparation for UNLV.

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