Angry About Loss, Focused on Georgia

After a startling loss this past weekend to the upstart UNLV Rebels Arizona State quarterback Rudy Carpenter took the podium on Monday afternoon and answered questions concerning last week's loss and this week's showdown with #3 ranked Georgia.

The senior quarterback's eyes and body language said it all when he sat down to talk to the media at ASU's Dutson Theatre Monday afternoon. This was a quarterback, and a team, clearly not happy with where they are now and how they played last Saturday.

"I feel angry," stated Carpenter. "You just keep thinking about (the loss) because it hurts because you work so hard and (UNLV) obviously deserves credit but we should beat them."

Despite Carpenter's irritation, disappointment and disbelief about the loss to the Rebels, he is not worried about how the team will respond this week with a much bigger game in front of them.

"No, I'm not concerned because I know the character of our team," he explained. "I know how they are and I know from me being a leader on this team that I have to make sure that all that negative energy and all the bad feelings they have from last week…hopefully they use it as some type of motivation and a ‘rally cry' and take all that anger out on somebody else."

While the game was an obvious setback, Carpenter is still optimistic about the future and knows how important of a role this weekend's game will play if the Sun Devils want to get back into the national spotlight.

"We're 1-0 in the Pac-10 and our goal every year is to win the Pac 10 and that can still happen," Carpenter noted. "Regardless of what happens this week that can still happen. "I think it's important that our guys understand that but I will say that being able to do something this weekend would mean a whole lot to the young guys and old guys and build some confidence that would help us down the road."

Winning this week against Georgia may be easier said than done. The Bulldogs are 32-2 against out of conference opponents under Head Coach Mark Richt and are winning well over 80 percent of their games in the last seven seasons.

"I just got done watching a lot of tape and their defense, their front seven is a great group," Carpenter remarked. "They're big, strong and fast. Their defensive backs are very aggressive. They're experienced guys and they're also very athletic guys. "Their defense is probably the biggest strength of their team and we're going to have to be very prepared to do well against these guys"

Although the Sun Devil signal caller laid abundant praise on the Bulldogs, he was not ready to anoint them as unbeatable or out of ASU's league.

"The look like guys (on film)," Carpenter joked. "USC has a bunch of good guys too. I'm not going to sit here and say ‘They're not as good as this team or not as good as this team or better than this team or that team' because we haven't played them yet. We'll know on Saturday after the game. But I do know that they're big, strong, fast group of guys and it's going to be the best group of guys we've seen so far this year."

Anytime out of conference opponents meet there is an element of conference pride at stake, at least amongst the fans, and many see this weekend's match up between the Devils and Dawgs as a chance for the Pac-10 to prove that they are one of the best football conferences in the country. Carpenter however is not getting caught up in those bragging rights.

"I'm not too worried about (the conference battle). I care about Arizona State. That's all I care about," he stated. "I don't care about any other team in the Pac-10. I'm just worried about us and worried about how we play against the #3 team in the country, which is Georgia. No matter where they're from they're #3 in the country and they're an outstanding football team."


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