Nixon, Devils Will Try to Regroup During Bye

The common theme after Arizona State's 27-10 loss to the Georgia Bulldogs on Saturday at Sun Devil Stadium was that ASU was searching for an identity. Troy Nolan repeated over and over that was what the team was missing and Mike Nixon couldn't have agreed more with his teammate.

"I think so, I think sometimes we play ok against the pass and ok against the run, but we haven't gone and said we are going to shut this down and make them do this or shut that down," said Nixon. "We have a week to get better and another week to game plan for Cal and hopefully by then we can figure something out."

Nixon compared tonight to last week's contest against UNLV, where the defense couldn't get off of the field and the offense wasn't much help either.

"We got in situations where we feel if we go out and get a three and out and give the offense the ball right back, they are going to do things," explained the senior linebacker, "You have to give credit to Georgia, they went out and made the plays. We have a bye week coming up where we have to figure out what we have to do to make those plays."

Star Georgia tailback Knowshon Moreno torched the ASU defense for 149 yards on 23 carries and proved why he is a Heisman candidate. Nixon didn't think Moreno wore down the ASU defense as much as UNLV's Frank Summers did last week.

"He was steady throughout the game, and he had a couple touchdowns in the first half," Nixon stated, "He is just a good back, we knew going into the game we weren't going to shut him down, we were just going to try and contain him. We felt like we did a decent job, not great, it was the passing game that hurt us."

Indeed that aspect of the Georgia offense was the crusher for ASU. Bulldogs' signal caller Matthew Stafford threw for 285 yards to his big, fast wide receivers. Nobody was more impressive than true freshman AJ Green, who caught eight passes for 159 yards and a touchdown.

"Their wideouts are so fast and so athletic. We saw on tape that they take shots downfield, so coming into the game that is always in the back of your mind," described Nixon, "Then all of a sudden they run them full speed, they run a pattern fifteen yards to the sticks and that puts a ton of pressure on the cornerbacks."

Nobody had the spotlight shone on him more than Omar Bolden. Bolden made a few good plays but was picked on a lot by Stafford.

"Omar is our best corner. We have eight more games and we are going to need him to be the man the rest of the year," Nixon said of his teammate. "He's had his ups and downs and faced some quality wideouts, especially this week. Maybe we can get him some help, roll a safety over every once and awhile."

One thing that is different from last year about the Sun Devil defense is that they aren't creating turnovers. Nixon boils that down to not getting the bounces to go their way, like they did last season.

"They had a fumbled snap they recovered, if that gets kicked towards us by a lineman, a freak play, it makes us look like we are getting turnovers," Nixon commented. "I guess we used up a lot of luck last year when it comes to good bounces, we have to make our own luck the rest of the year."

Nixon says that now the team's goal turns to the Pac 10 slate and that they must have the mindset that they are still undefeated in conference play.

"We just have to figure that we are 1-0 in the Pac 10 that is our biggest goal right now," he said, "we have eight more games, we are going to do our best against the Pac 10, which we consider our season."

Almost all parties agreed that the bye week couldn't have come at a better time. So now the Devils head into that short hiatus with a lot of work left to do before heading to Cal.

"We are going to look at the Cal tape and prepare for them in a week," said Nixon. "We have to stay positive, the two turnovers, the punt block and the fumble, those are back breakers, they didn't haunt us too bad but momentum swings so much."

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