Devils Wrap Up Week with Cal Preparations

After what Dennis Erickson called two productive and physical practices on Tuesday and Wednesday, the Arizona State Sun Devils closed out their week by starting their preparations for next week's trip to Cal.

"They need some time to get away and to get away from me," joked Erickson, as he also joked he will be forcing every player to call him every 10 minutes, "They have tomorrow and Saturday and come back Sunday to get to work."

"We spent a little time on Cal today. We went real hard Tuesday and Wednesday, accomplished what we wanted to physically and then today was a little prep on them," said Erickson, "They play a 3-4, which is different than they have done before. We haven't seen that, nothing other than nickel. It is good for us to take a look at the basic part of."

ASU Quarterback Rudy Carpenter thinks having the bye week helps the offense get a better look at that 3-4 defense. Carpenter also stated that normally teams find more success running the football against a 3-4 defense, something he hopes can jumpstart the non-existent ASU running game.

"When teams run a 3-4 you think you can run against it. We'll find out, Cal has a nickel package as well, I'm sure we will see that," said Carpenter, "It is different for our line, which is good that it came during the bye week so they get to see it for two weeks, that helps too."

"I think we have to do it a bit more and running the ball is more of a mental thing. You have to dig in and just say you are going to do it. You have to be physical and you have to be tough, we are working on that. If we can get the run game going it is only going to make the pass game better. Using some different backs too, Ryan Bass and getting Keegan back will be some changeups."

Erickson confirmed that Keegan Herring is looking good to return next Saturday.

The Devils have really only seen a nickel defense played against them and Rudy Carpenter explained why that defense is tough to play against.

"Well it is tough, against Georgia and UNLV, they rushed three and dropped eight," explained Carpenter, "Against Georgia we kept our back in to help protect and in that case you have four receivers out on their routes and technically they have eight guys to cover four. That is why we had to throw it underneath the coverage a lot. I think there are still ways to beat it though."

"I know there are people who didn't like the way we threw it against Georgia, but that is what they gave us. We completed 23 passes."

The only changes Erickson said that he will make in the starting lineup will be at right tackle. Tom Njunge and Matt Hustad will continue their competition into next week for the starting slot.

"We will keep looking at it, the biggest thing right now is at right tackle whether it is going to be Njunge or Hustad," said Erickson, "Other than that its basically where it is at."

Erickson called this week of practice was successful, but it was too early to tell if the team had bounced back from two straight losses.

"They practiced good, but I don't know if we will know that until next Saturday. They understand what is in front of them and goals that they set are still there, even though we haven't played well at times. Everything we have worked hard for is still there. They aren't going to go give it to us, so we have to go take it."

Carpenter said that he was curious to see how his team would bounce back, but overall was pleased with the attitude at practice.

"I was interested to see that myself, a lot of times when it is a bye weekend, guys tend to slack off and take that week off, it's human nature. I was really pleased on how the guys practiced, everyone seemed hungry and practicing hard."

"We still have eight Pac 10 games left, last year we won 10 games, and we still have a shot to do that. It is going to be a long road and there are going to be good teams ahead of us, but we can play with everybody."

It isn't a weekend off for everyone, as seven ASU coaches will hit the road tonight on the recruiting trail.

"We can have seven on the road, so they will all be gone. A lot are leaving tonight and I'll end up doing some tomorrow night myself," said Erickson.

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