Hometown Show

In a challenging 2008 season, winning away from the friendly confines of Sun Devil stadium is as good as any victory. Nonetheless, the fact remains that ASU for the most of the season has played poorly in its own backyard and head coach Dennis Erickson is eager for that to change starting with his team's homecoming match versus Washington State.

Erickson acknowledged that the quality of practice and enthusiasm in this week's sessions has been good, and after the team's win against Washington that type of performance is probably expected.

Now it's time to transform that performance from the practice field to the playing field.

"The biggest thing is that we haven't played very well in our stadium," said Erickson. "We owe our fans something here the next couple of games. We have to take it upon ourselves and come out in our home and play better than we played – particularly the last time we were in it (a 54-20 loss to Oregon)."

Garth Gerhart continued to play at left guard and the Sun Devils skipper stated that the redshirt freshman center is likely to start in that role on Saturday.

"He looked good," commented Erickson. "It's amazing – every center that has moved to a different position it's like ‘wow, this is easy' because they don't have to snap the ball. Looking at tape from yesterday, obviously guard is a lot easier to move to because everything you do is with the center."

"I thought he did some good things, but you won't know until Saturday. But he's smart…he's a football player. He just loves playing. He doesn't care where he plays, just so he plays."

Erickson added that Tello will backup either guard position ("He's a lot better as a guard"), and Brent Good has been taking snaps at second team center due to Gerhart's move.

Coming into last week, running back Keegan Herring has collected a total of just 164 net rushing yards. In what was easily his best outing of the season, the senior amassed 144 yards in a win over Washington.

"It felt good running behind an offensive line," he said. "Holes started to open up that we didn't have early on in our season. They opened all kind of holes that me and (Shaun) DeWitty could run through."

"It kind of felt like my freshman year. I was running hard and (challenging) the offensive linemen saying ‘you can't do that again.' It felt good running behind them. I hope the offensive line just keeps on doing their thing."

At 5-10 204, Herring quipped that his teammates call him "chubby." However with that added weight, the running back has been able to be more of a power runner. "I've been trying to change my running style, but not too much," said the usually nifty Herring. "I'm running downhill, more powerful than normal."

When asked to comment about Erickson's thoughts about the need to perform well at home, Herring who prepped locally at Peoria high school, took those words to heart.

"Our fans haven't really been on our side lately," said Herring. "But at the same time they should be on our side win or lose. We have to come down here in our homecoming (game) and put on a show for our fans so they come back for our last game."

Herring, who missed three games due to a hamstring pull, stated that this is the healthiest he has felt all season. He downplayed the notion about being fresh because he has played less games this year, and if anything hoped he could have played all nine games to date, especially during his last year in the maroon and gold.

"When I step on the field I fell that I'm out there with my family," described Herring," and they're gonna take care of me the best way they can win or lose."


Sun Devil Source Top Stories