Nixon Disappointed in Defensive Mistakes

Linebacker Mike Nixon was naturally dejected following ASU's 54-20 home defeat to Oregon was looking for answers for his team's lackluster play.

When Mike Nixon took his seat to address the media after the game, reporters were hesitant to ask him questions. Consequently, the look in Nixon's eyes expressed a gamut of frustration, sadness, and disappointment to name a few feelings.

"I can only speak for the defensive side of the ball," said Nixon, "and we knew going into the game we were going to have to play assignment sound football. The spread offense, especially the way they run it, is they try to get one-on-one situations where if everybody is not sound or if there is a break they take advantage."

"To beat a team like that you really have to eliminate the big play and we obviously didn't do that tonight."

The Sun Devil defense was shredded, surrendering a mind boggling 304 rushing yards and 537 total yards of total offense. Oregon scored five rushing touchdowns and omitting a few turnovers was relatively unstoppable all night.

While Arizona State's defense was undoubtedly porous, the offense did not do the defense any favors.

The rushing attack was non-existent yet again for the first three quarters and the offense only managed a paltry 68 yards in the first half. True freshman running back Ryan Bass managed to put up solid numbers (56 yards on 10 carries) but the yards came late in the game after the outcome had already been decided and when a defense is frequently on the field against an explosive offense, players will tire easily.

"The unique thing about them is that they spread the field to run the ball. A lot of teams spread it to pass it," commented Nixon. "With their no huddle offense they try to weigh you down and without getting ball control from the offense and without getting three and outs from the defense, we're not doing our job, getting ourselves off the field allowing us to get a break, without doing that they're allowed to wear you down so by the time you're in the mid second quarter it feels like you're mid second half."

The punishment laid on the Sun Devils by the Ducks was reminiscent of the game between the two when they met in 2006. Saturday's facile win comes as a surprise though as Arizona State had an extra week to prepare for this contest.

"I thought we had a great game plan defensively coming into the game," claimed Nixon. "It's always easy in practice to see who you're supposed to have and to execute then but with their no huddle in game situations we've got to be able to have the composure to take what we're taught on to the field and I felt like tonight the players let the coaches down because they put us in a situation to succeed."

Not only were the Sun Devils beat defensively on the ground, they were beat in the air by an efficient Oregon passing game. Quarterback Jeremiah Masoli only had 147 passing yards but was consistent making throws and helping to create third and manageable situations.

"I think (Masoli) is perfect for that offense," remarked Nixon. "He's able to run the ball and make the passes he needs to make. We were hoping to come into the game and get into a situation where we were going to make them throw a little more and take away what they're so good, which is running the ball and him having the option of running the ball."

"Obviously we weren't able to do that."

After Saturday's loss the Sun Devils increased their already pitiful four-game losing streak to five and face a tough challenge next weekend going to Corvallis to take on Oregon State.

Whenever a team goes on an extended losing streak, players' motivation and focus is a great reason for concern.

"I think win or lose you have to have a 24-hour memory," said Nixon. "You really have to soak this in. You have to feel the bad feeling. It feels terrible right now. We have to let this soak in. We can't just brush it off."

"We have to know what it feels like to get embarrassed at home. Tomorrow we have to come back, learn from our mistakes and after that it's all Oregon State."

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