Erickson and Devils Eager for Home Game

A lot has happened to the Arizona State Sun Devils since they last took the field at Sun Devil Stadium. The team has continued to struggle to execute in those four weeks, but Dennis Erickson and his team are anxious to show the fans that they are on the upswing.

"It is nice to be back, it seems like it has been forever," said Erickson, "We've had two byes and two games on the road so it has been a month."

"It has been a long time and it's nice to get back to our fans and students and show them we can play a lot better than we've played."

Erickson has been pleased with the way his team has practiced in the two weeks since they last played and says the confidence is still with ASU.

"For being on a four game streak that hasn't been very good, our guys have practiced hard," stated Erickson. "We are playing an awfully good football team, we are excited to get another opportunity to play. The mentality is fine. The problem is we have to execute better and play better. If we can do that we will have a chance to win games."

For the Devils to be successful the rest of the season their offense must avoid performances like they had against USC, Erickson said it is just something that has to happen and execution must be better.

"It is a pride thing, offensively we know what we have to do, and we have to step it up. They have practiced real hard."

The offense will have a much healthier Rudy Carpenter on Saturday as the senior looks better and better as each day goes by. "He was better today," said Erickson, "It was the first time I've seen him get some steam on the ball since the injury. That will even get better tomorrow."

David Smith will also return against the Ducks this Saturday. Smith has practiced the last few days and looks close to 100%.

"Pretty close, I know he's anxious to get out and play and he's practiced real well."

Erickson believes that the Ducks will start sophomore Jeremiah Masoli at quarterback, but Justin Roper will also see time.

"Masoli is going to play," said Erickson, "They will bring the other guy in there that has been hurt. We are prepared for both Masoli and Roper, now they do the same things but Masoli runs the football a lot more. They run more option with him."

The Ducks defense is a very experienced group, Erickson joked that it seems like most of its members were there when he was coaching at Oregon State.

"They have eight or nine guys that have played forever it seems like…They are a good defense that doesn't make a lot of mistakes," he said. The stats show that the Ducks are 9th in the Pac-10 in passing defense, but Erickson thinks they are much better than the stats show.

"Without a question," said Erickson, "I think people got behind them and they've scored so many points and got so far ahead that people have thrown the ball on them all the time. Sometimes those things are misleading."

For Erickson and the Devils, it now is just another opportunity to right the ship.

"Like I said before, we're just excited for another opportunity to play."

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