Bray Pleased with Defense's Progress

With the season opener just a week away the Sun Devils conducted a mock game Friday night to test the team in game situations and get a look at some of the guys who appear ready for the start of the season. ASU Defensive Coordinator Craig Bray wasn't too impressed with how his group performed tonight as compared to their progress this fall.

"I think we've made great strides; if you judge it on tonight, not very good," Bray said. "If you judge it on the body of work up until tonight, pretty good."

This year's defense is filled with depth at all positions, but Coach Bray feels that his defensive line which returns starters Dexter Davis and Lawrence Guy, along with several young guys to boot, may be his, "strongest position group."

Bray's defensive group this year is not only loaded with depth, but all positions possess great speed as well, which allows Bray to do many things with his play calling.

"It really depends on whether your speed knows where they're going or not," Bray explained. "We've had some of our young guys that we're excited about that didn't look like they knew what they were doing tonight. If everything gels it gives you the ability to have a lot of multiplicity and bring a lot of things at people."

The group that possesses the most speed may be the team's corps of linebackers. The group performed admirably last year and returns several players who saw a lot game action. However, it also brings some youth and star power with the arrival of five-star recruit Vontaze Burfict. With all things being considered, there is a lot expected of this group, but Coach Bray wants to see them perform first.

"I don't know why it's highly touted, it's basically the same group we had last year, plus a guy or two," Bray mentioned. "They're just a good group that hopefully gets better all the time and then maybe at the end of the year they can say they are highly touted."

With the depth and speed this group boasts Bray should have plenty of options to go to at any point during the game, which is one luxury he really enjoys having.

"We'll do it as long as everybody knows what to do," Bray commented. "Right now we've had a pretty good camp of knowledge. Obviously, Vontaze is new to the system and he is learning, but the young guys that played a little bit last year and were here in spring, we should have the ability to rotate quite a bit. That'll keep us fresh and allows us to play four quarters full speed instead of three (quarters) and one tired."

Still with all of the accolades the defense brings, it's hard to win games without getting production from both sides of the ball.

Though the offense has looked good at times, there is still a lot of speculation as to what they will bring to the table, but with that being said, Bray does not believe there is any more added pressure on his group to perform.

"No. It's a team deal," Bray stated. "The offense will do their job, the defense will do ours and everything will come out. I don't know who doesn't expect things; we expect a lot from our offense."


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