Coach Guy Sees Danger in K-State's Ground Game

In the first game of the 2002 season, the ASU defense faced an option oriented Nebraska team. Ironically enough, this is the same type of offense that the Sun Devils will encounter in their last game this year. Defensive Coordinator Brent Guy talks about the challenges facing his unit in the Holiday Bowl

"They're pretty advanced in the option game." says Guy, "They have an option game, and they also have a dive option where the full back is included. Then you have the tailback (Dennis Sproles) and the quarterback (Ell Roberson) who are both very good runners. They can make you miss, and go the distance. They have the power plays, and when they spread you out they can still run the option game. It's gonna be a physical game." While the ASU defensive coordinator won't overlook the Wildcats' passing game, he doesn't see it being a major challenge either. "It's not probably as complex as some of the passing games we've seen in the Pac-10, but again they have a lot of skill players, they have big receivers they can throw to. They have the screen game and some other stuff they run. So we won't see as many throws as we do in the Pac-10, but they still are capable."

Having several weeks to prepare for a bowl game, always poses the possibility of running numerous trick plays and new looks that the opponent hasn't seen on film. Guy doesn't rule the likelihood of that happening, but he also stresses that it's contingent on other factors. "We have to see if we can get them in the down and distance that we want. They're obviously gonna run a lot on 1st and 10 most of the times, and get us in the second and medium where they can run or throw. The big key is those first down plays, and if you can get them to stay in second and long. They are a team that wants to run more than they want to throw. Against some teams they just lined up and try to run over you, and then some games they did a lot of shift and motion. So they have two different philosophies."

One player that the ASU defenders will be heavily keying on is Kansas State's running back Dennis Sproles. While his 5-7 170 frame isn't imposing, he does present a real threat for opposing defenders. "He's not as big as some guys we faced, but he's very good at making people miss in the open field. He can go the distance, and they throw a lot of screens at him. They just try and get him out there as much as they can one on one against guys. He's very dangerous, and a good cut back runner. You just don't know where he's gonna go with the ball. He's hard to find, and the defense sometimes will overflow at him."

With all these unique challenges facing Guy and his group, the sporadic practice schedule, which is dictated by finals, can somewhat hinder in the bowl preparation. Nevertheless, the Sun Devils second year defensive coordinator feels that these sessions have been utilized effectively. "I have been pleased with practices. We're trying just to come back in and just work on making our base calls. We started this weekend to scheme a little. I watched a lot of film on the road while I was recruiting, so I have an idea of certain stiff we can run at them. The players' attitude is great. They're all taking finals, and they're happy they're done with school. We all happy that we're going to bowl game. The moral is great. It's a whole to better than where were sitting a year ago."

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