Rough Homecoming for Hagan

At Sunday at 4:00 am former ASU wide receiver got a text message that the Sun Devils have been upset by UNLV. Some 12 hours later, the news wasn't any better for him as his team, the Miami Dolphins, were pounded 31-10 by the Arizona Cardinals. Hagan was his squad's leading receiver with 51 yards on three receptions, but naturally took no solace in his individual accomplishments.

"Stats don't matter because we lost," said Hagan. "Last week I didn't catch the ball at all and if we would have won the game I would have been happy. Zero catches and a ‘W' – who wouldn't have wanted that? We just have to move on, see what we did right and what we did wrong and go from there."

Each of Hagan's catches (20, 19, and 12 yards) were for first downs, and two of them were part of the Dolphins' two scoring drives. "I feel that our passing game started very late," he noted. "We have to correct that for the next game."

Coming to Arizona for the first time in a Dolphins uniform, Hagan was hopeful for a victory not only for his team, but also for the 20 family and friends in attendance he was able to secure tickets for. While the wide receiver couldn't attend the ASU game the night before, his parents and girlfriend did.

"I was very very surprised and when I got the text, I was half asleep," he said. "Knowing they got a big game (against Georgia) next week. It's kind of a bad feeling."

Hagan added that not only does he keep in touch with players such as Rudy Carpenter and Keegan Herring, but he also made sure that his satellite T.V. subscription came equipped with the Fox Sports Arizona channel. "I'm always watching those guys," he noted.

The press clippings in the off-season indicated that the third-year wide receiver has made some strides, and Hagan is happy for his development because he knows the burden of expectations he and the Dolphins receiving corps have under a new coach and front office to revive what has been an anemic Miami offense in the past few years.

"We have a new regime that has been here since January and if they bring someone new I have to be prepared," Hagan stated. "This is my third coaching staff in three years, and I'm adjusted and ready for it. I look forward to getting better and better each day. I have to take full advantage of the opportunities I get."

Not only did Hagan have to deal with a new coaching staff, but just a few weeks before the kickoff of the 2008 campaign, and as a result of the Brett Favre saga, quarterback Chad Pennington joined the Dolphins. Again, Hagan and his teammates were forced to deal with a significant new situation.

"Having Chad here is great," said Hagan. "Obviously he wasn't with us in the off-season, summer ball, all that stuff. But we have been missing that veteran leadership at quarterback and from the first day he got here that's what he brought. He's just one of those guys that takes control in the huddle and we needed that."

An 0-2 start to the season isn't the worst thing that can happen to a team, but for a Dolphins squad that went 1-15 in 2007, the anxiety of achieving that first win of the year is obviously quite high. Ironically, the futility of last year was a sobering lesson in patience for Hagan.

"I learned a lot because they were so many ups and down last year," he explained, "and you learn from all the mistakes that we had last year. That (the 2007 season) motivated me a whole lot more for this season. Starting 0-2, we don't want to be in the same position we were last year, but we just have to keep on playing and keep fighting."

Sound advice that Hagan's former team will undoubtedly follow these days as well.


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