The Arizona State Sun Devils will need to be as focused as ever this Saturday as they will square off with the most talented team in the Pac-10, USC. And as it appears now, the Sun Devils will be without senior quarterback Rudy Carpenter who has started every game since about halfway through his freshman year. If Carpenter can not go, junior Danny Sullivan will get his first start.
"It's going good (with Sullivan). We always practice with (Sullivan). He's the second guy but now he's got his chance to be the first guy. It's almost like there are no missed steps because we're all on the same page," Commented Jones. "(Sullivan) throws the ball harder, is taller and doesn't have as much mobility."
With Carpenter down and the run game struggling the logical position to turn to for offensive success would be wide receiver. However, Jones does not feel like there is necessarily any added pressure on his positional group.
"No, there's no added pressure at all," professed Jones. "That's what we want. We always want the ball in our hands. We want to go out there and make plays. It doesn't matter; even if the run game is working we still want the ball in our hands."
With the run game, and the entire offense, struggling it is not a surprise that several players' offensive numbers are not where many would have projected. Through five games in 2007 Jones had five touchdowns. In his first five games of 2008, he only has one.
Jones finished up his junior campaign with 46 receptions and 10 touchdowns and his success may have led him to be one of the key players opposing defensive coordinators are keying on when preparing for the Devils.
"Honestly, sometimes I feel like defenses are focusing on me more, sometimes I don't," admitted Jones. "I felt last year we just ran the ball a whole lot better and things were a lot different. So we got a chance for the wide outs to get open a lot more. I'm not actually worried about my numbers right now. I just want to come out and get this losing streak over with."
Ending the slide against USC is obviously no easy task. The Trojans are nearly unbeatable at the Coliseum despite the shocking loss at the hands of Stanford last September. The last time the Devils played against USC in Los Angeles the game was a hard fought battle resulting in a seven-point loss for the Devils. Jones was a part of that team and although their players have changed, he learned a lot from it.
"They're big. They've got some big guys. They're real fast, athletic and they're some of the best players in the country. We just look forward to the challenge and hopefully we make the best of it," said Jones.
Generally when teams play against USC, the point spread is lopsided in favor of the Trojans. This week's game is no different. Most sports books have USC as a 20-22 point favorite over the Devils and no one in the media is really giving the boys from Tempe a shot.
"Honestly I didn't really know about (the lopsided point spread)," sated Jones. "I don't really pay too much attention to that. We've got to take care of ourselves and not worry about what someone from a paper or magazine thinks. We have to come out, play hard, play fast and be ready."