Erickson prepared for Oregon challenge

Traveling to Eugene this weekend to face the Oregon Ducks, Coach Dennis Erickson and the Arizona State Sun Devils will prepare to take on one of the toughest offenses of the season and included in that unit, will be the newly reinstated senior running back, LeGarrette Blount.

"I'm happy for him, I really am," Coach Erickson commented. "I obviously don't know the total situation there but I do know that he seems like a good kid, he made a mistake and I think they are handling it the right way. Obviously he did what they asked and he deserves to play. As far as the situation is concerned, I'm really happy for the kid because that's something that he had in his life and it was taken away and he fought back and got it."

As far as we're concerned, I'm not real excited about it but as far as he is concerned, I am. That gives them a 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 punch, I guess. They've got so many punches I don't know where they are at but obviously with his addition, it will make a difference."

Throughout the season the maroon and gold defense have dominated the majority of teams it has faced, including last week against USC. Despite falling short to the Trojans, the Sun Devil defense had an impressive performance that will hopefully carry over against the Ducks.

Oregon possesses an offensive unit that has been explosive all season and leads the Pac-10 with 41.6 points a game. The Ducks will undoubtedly challenge Coach Erickson's defense mainly because of their extremely successful option based offense.

"Well we're excited about the challenge," Erickson stated. "Offensively, at times they're a machine; it's frightening at times what they're able to do. When things are going right and they have the rhythm and the timing, it's interesting to watch. They will hand the ball of one time and the guy will go forty yards then he will keep it and then they will throw it, they've got everything going, they've got a lot of weapons. Masoli, for that kind of stuff, is special but it's a challenge for us. We played very good defense last week against USC, so we're excited for the challenge and it is a challenge."

Holding the USC offense to fourteen points last week in Tempe, Coach Erickson wasn't only pleased with his defense overall, but in particular with the playoff his defensive backs.

"I think we played a lot better in the secondary than we did the week before," Erickson noted. "I know Clint Floyd played real well and added some things for us back there and both Carr's played really well. We're getting better back there, we're young there but I think Deveron is getting better but, I think the addition of Clint who really is a corner playing safety, helps a lot."

A change took place Saturday versus USC that unarguably sparked the Sun Devil offense, and was possibly the spark needed obtain a successful scoring unit. After three turnovers in the first half, Coach Erickson handed over the quarterback duties to true freshman Brock Osweiler, who remained the play caller for rest of the matchup. After reviewing the game film, Coach Erickson has not yet determined who will be starting at quarterback against Oregon.

"Danny didn't play as bad as everybody might have thought," Erickson admitted. "The one pick he threw was not a very smart play by him and he knows that and the other one that was picked off was a combination, it was his fault but there were also other things involved in that too. And he made some good throws so it's not that he went in there and played so bad that you're going to yank him. I made the change because I wanted to get some energy on offense, which Brock brought to us.

"Brock moved the football and scored the touchdown and made some plays and it was exciting for everybody to watch. Then again, regardless of what you do, he is inexperienced. You have to weigh all these factors. I have to do what gives us the best chance to win, maybe it's not the most popular decision but it's a decision I have to make to give our football team the best chance to win. And really, I have not made a decision on that."

Regardless of which quarterback starts this Saturday, the rest of the offense will need to be prepared for a very active Ducks defense.

"They play very well," Erickson said. "They had trouble a little bit against Stanford, they all have, we all know that but against USC, they're just a very active group. Their linebackers are extremely fast and experienced. They run seven or eight guys in the defensive front, they're very physical. They've done a nice job of recruiting over a long period of time.

"They stunt a lot, they zone blitz quite a bit. They're aggressive on defense, quite like they are on offense. Pleasant, one of their outside linebackers is extremely fast, probably the fastest of anybody in our league, so they go together pretty well. And they gamble, when you have an offense like that you can gamble a little on defense, and they do that."

This week at practice the Sun Devils will not only prepare for a strong Oregon team, they will also make necessary adjustments to play in a very unique environment in Eugene. Autzen Stadium is known for the deafening noise that makes it nearly impossible to hear. Coach Erickson indicated that silent snap counts and not being able to call audibles are just some of the alterations Autzen Stadium forces upon you.

"They're right on you," Erickson said regarding the fans at Autzen Stadium. "I've been in there too many times but they're right on top of you. They make a lot of noise. That's one place in our league where you know what you're going to get, you're not going to be able to hear. Other places in our league you can go in and hear for the most part, depending on what happens in the game. Husky stadium can be like that if things are going for them but that place is like that all the time.

"You can't hear, audibilizing is very difficult, you have to go on a silent snap count, you have to do that all week, and you're not going to be able to hear that, you have to signal audible. There is a lot of work to do with it; it's all silent stuff that you do. I've done it all, I've brought in noise, I've had it so loud you couldn't even hear and that helps a little bit but you still have to do without saying anything and it's hard."


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