Erickson Prepares Team to Play Sans Carpenter

The news at Wednesday night's practice on ASU quarterback Rudy Carpenter wasn't what Sun Devil fans wanted to hear. As each day passes, it sounds more and more like the senior's consecutive game streak as a starter will come to an end and Danny Sullivan will get his first ever start at ASU on Saturday at USC.

"He was out and taped today, he didn't do anything," said Erickson, "He's very doubtful, we'll see what happens tomorrow. Again it is day-by-day. We have three days; our plan is that Sully is going to play."

Erickson stated that his game plan for the Trojans won't change if Sullivan is the man lining up behind center.

"We do the same things with both of them," explained Erickson. "We don't add anything or take anything away. Obviously, since it is his first start you are very careful that you have the whole thing in. It doesn't change what we do."

Erickson said he was pleased with the way Sullivan has played this week in practice, but he has seen the junior in practice before. The veteran coach is waiting to see him in game action.

"He's doing good," noted Erickson. "This is his first start, first week where he has been very well. The proof is in the pudding Saturday. It is an interesting group to start against."

Sullivan doesn't seem fazed that his first start will come against the nationally ranked Trojans. He sees it as an opportunity to get ASU back into the Pac-10 race.

"I have to go into that situation, I have to get these guys to ride my back and we have to get a win. We have to get a win no matter who it is against," said Sullivan, "We know it is USC, we have to go down there and get a huge win. This could be a big game for us in the Pac-10."

"Why not?" said Sullivan when asked about playing in the Coliseum for his first start, "There is no better stage, you go down there and people will start talking about you and get Arizona State back on the map again in the Pac-10. Everyone knows it is huge. No better stage than to go down there with 92,000 in the Coliseum against USC."

For the junior, it could be a moment he has waited and prepared for, for his three years in maroon and gold and he knows he is ready to go.

"I have to be ready to go at anytime," stated Sullivan. "That has been my mindset for three years and I have to keep that mindset the whole way."

Sullivan doesn't know for sure he is starting, but he is ok with the uncertainty.

"If Rudy pulls a ‘Willis Reed', good for him," joked Sullivan, "I hope he gets healthy, but if I got to, I got to. I'm not going to be sad, good for him. Like I said, it would be a Willis Reed and reflect his toughness."

Sullivan says Carpenter has been very helpful to him during practice this week. When Carpenter sees something that Sullivan isn't doing quite right, he is informing Sullivan and helping him correct it.

Sullivan said the same things have been happening with the rest of his teammates and they are rallying behind him.

"They have been trying to help me out and trying to get me support," he noted. "They will help me out and get things going. I feel calm relaxed and ready to get a win."

Sullivan quipped that it was the first time he had seen the media in a long time and that they could talk to him as long as they wanted.

"I haven't seen you guys in a year, it is kind of cool. Hopefully it will help me out," he said.

Other notes from practice on Wednesday included David Smith not practicing for the second consecutive day. Erickson said that he didn't know if Smith would be ready to go for Saturday. Erickson also stated that he would like to and plans on getting Ryan Bass involved this weekend.

"We are going to try to get him some reps," said Erickson, "He has done some good things; we haven't given him a chance out there. We have to see what he can do."

Erickson also called out the scout team during practice and proclaimed that everyone was sick of losing.

"I ask for more all of the time. Everybody has to do this together\," said Erickson.

The Devils will return to the practice field tomorrow as the wrap up the preparations for USC before heading to Los Angeles on Friday.

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