Carpenter Confident in Team's Resolve

After suffering back to back home losses Arizona State had the week off to prepare for this Saturday's opponent, the Cal Golden Bears. Quarterback Rudy Carpenter took the extra time off to prepare even more than normal for the showdown with Cal and thinks the additional time will help his team.

"I think after the UNLV and Georgia losses we're a little disappointed," said Carpenter. "I had a chance to watch the film from last week and practice this week but it makes us feel a little bit better after watching all those other games around the country and seeing some other teams lose and knowing that we're still in a good place."

"We're kind of where we need to be. We're 1-0 in the Pac10 and we have a chance to still accomplish all the things we want to. We can improve in every aspect of our game and this week we took the opportunity to do that."

Last year Cal traveled down to Tempe and the game turned out to be arguably the Sun Devils' biggest victory of the season. When the two teams square off on Saturday, the ASU signal caller feels that it should be a hard fought battle between what seems to be two evenly matched teams.

"Cal is a good defensive team," remarked Carpenter. "They have a lot of starters back from last year. Their front seven is really good. All of their linebackers are good players, they're all returning. Their defensive backs are good. Number 5 Syd'Quan Thompson is a good player."

"I think its going to be the same for us so we need to find a way to establish some type of run game and then when we get a chance to throw it we have to be able to do it and make some big plays."

Establishing a consistent, reliable run game seems to be a persistent message being emitted from all Sun Devil coaches and players. Doing so might be easier said than done, especially this week as Cal boasts the second best rush defense in the Pac-10 (101 ypg) and has yet to allow a 100-yard rusher all season.

"I think we were successful in the pass game against Georgia," Carpenter noted. "We completed a lot of passes, completed a high percentage of passes but those passing plays were as good as runs. They were five, six yards. We weren't hitting big plays because we couldn't because of the defense that was presented to us. That's why it's important to run the ball."

"That and we can get more guys down in the box, more safeties down, more one-on-one coverage. When we get that we can take shots down the field but those shots aren't going to be there unless we can establish some kind of run game."

Attacking the Cal defense will be an interesting challenge for the Sun Devils. Not only will this be the first road game of the year, but Cal likes to line up defensively in a three-down linemen, four linebacker set opposed to the more traditional 4-3 scheme.

"Those (linebackers) are a good group with Zack Follet, Worrell Williams, Anthony Felder and Eddie Young," said Carpenter. "Those guys are good. There strength of their team. It's important for us to understand the difference in the run game and protection because it's a different front. Our offensive linemen, I and everyone has to do a good job to know what exactly is going on."

While many teams would be deflated and not as motivated after two consecutive home losses, Carpenter and the Sun Devils appear to be doing just fine and are excited for this week's game.

"This is a huge game for us," admitted Carpenter. "Georgia was a big game but in the grand scheme of things it wasn't a Pac-10 game. We're 1-0 in the Pac-10 and we have to keep on the right track in the Pac. We still have a chance to do what we want to do."


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