The variety in play calling seen Saturday was unlike previous matchups so far this season. Coach Erickson and his coaching staff seemed to have opened up the play book, catching the Huskies off-guard on a few plays, specifically when wide receiver Kyle Williams took the role of quarterback, throwing a 32-yard touchdown to T.J. Simpson in the second quarter. The creativity involved ultimately played a role in the success of the Sun Devils on Saturday.
"The bottom line is that you've got to do what you do best," Erickson explained. "We've opened up a little bit, I mean the reveres pass is opening it up even though it didn't really work, but it did work. The thing that we have to do is watch people play and see what they're doing to you and you watch them play and see what they're doing to then you try to develop a plan.
We try to do the same thing, it's too hard to try to change everything, you just try to develop and run the same plays just out of a different formation that you're involved in. I would say play calling in the first half; yeah we did open it up a little bit more to try to slow them down."
Despite the dramatic finish, the Sun Devils struggled with a plethora of penalties throughout the game. Accumulating nine throughout the competition, eight in the first half alone, the Sun Devils needed to find a way to limit their errors. Consequently, some of the Sun Devils skipper's halftime speech focused on cutting down on those infractions.
"We are just shooting ourselves in the foot, I mean it's ridiculous," Coach Erickson said. "It's ridiculous to put yourself in that position. I mean, when you're playing as well as we were playing and we have them in field position, inside the 10 yard line or the 15, wherever it was and we get penalties all the way down the field and some third down penalties that were just crucial and that would have made the game a little bit different at halftime.
It's just ridiculous and we just can't have that. Some of them were legitimate, some of them I still can't find but they seemed to find things but you can't have that. Obviously it could have cost us the game; there is no question about it."
Next the Sun Devils will travel to Northern California to take on Stanford. The Cardinal are coming off two losses in a row, and will not be an easy matchup for the Sun Devils. An improved Stanford defense could prove to be a stiff test for Danny Sullivan and the offensive group.
"They've been up and down defensively," Erickson noted. "They've played good at times, they've got talent, and they've got a lot of those same guys back. They're so much more athletic now on defense than they have been. Their down guys have been around and played real well. They have a good scheme. Ron Wynn who is their Defensive Coordinator was a coach for me at San Francisco and they do a good a job. It will be tough and Ron will always have something different that you have to be alert for.
"They are a good football team. I mean the change that I've seen attitude wise and athletically, how hard they play and how physical they play is credit to their coaching staff and their players and what they're doing. They lost a couple close ones, what goes around come around sometimes you just never know."
Offensively Stanford has a variety of athletes that will challenge the Sun Devils defense. Among the Cardinal's offensive unit is running back Toby Gerhart, brother of Arizona State offensive lineman Garth Gerhart.
"They make a living doing it," Coach Erickson stated concerning Stanford's ground attack. "They're physical up front, that's what Coach Harbaugh preaches, they run the power play every way you can possibly run it. Gerhart is a stud, he is 240 pounds that can run fast, he breaks tackles, and he creates all kinds of problems.
"They have a three tight ends that are involved in their running game that really make a big different too and in their passing game. What they do and what they do better than anyone I've seen is, they will run it, run it and run it and then they set up a play pass and they get some big plays just doing that. They're a really good team."
Another Cardinal that Coach Erickson will prepare his team for is wide receiver, Chris Owusu, a sophomore that also poses a threat on the kick return.
"He is special, not just with kick returns, but also as a receiver," Erickson said. "He has great speed, that's what I was talk about with the skill at Stanford that has developed the last three years and is really amazing. He is so dangerous and you have to have a plan against him and we're talking about that right now, whatever it may be.
"You don't want him to have the ball all the time, believe me."