Davis stays humble despite success‏

In a game with many pro scouts watching, one of the best to ever don the Maroon and Gold showed just why his next stop is the NFL.

Defensive end Dexter Davis is having a down year by his standards, but when the lights shined their brightest this Saturday against USC, Davis came through with one of his best games of the year.

Davis only recorded one sack, but was able to get consistent pressure and force freshman quarterback Matt Barkley to rush a lot of his throws, still Davis remains incredibly humble.

"I just try to prepare myself as good as I can each week," Davis admitted, "and sometimes there are weeks that are better than others and I guess this is one of them."

"It's the best game he had all year," said Arizona State head Coach Dennis Erickson concerning the defensive end's performance. "People have been turning to him and SC thought they could block him one on one."

Davis has been playing at a much higher level and looking more comfortable ever since the return of sophomore defensive end James Brooks from his suspension early this season.

"James is kind of a bigger guy so he can eat up the double team on that tackle and tight end better than I can," Davis pointed out, "and it's nice to play at my natural position so it's been nice for me."

The overall play of the defense was superb against USC as they allowed 258 total yards, most of that coming on a 75-yard touchdown, the only points they gave up the whole night. This is the type of performance that the team expects every night; unfortunately it didn't translate to a win.

"I thought we played pretty well," Davis commented, "We just came up a little bit short. We've just got to stay focused on accomplishing what we can accomplish and that's winning the final three games, and getting to a bowl game, so we're just going to keep rolling and hope for the best."

"I think we prepare ourselves for that, and we focus in on really shutting down teams by making them one dimensional and throw the ball. We did a pretty good job of that, we gave up that big play, but they're a talented team so that's going to happen every once and a while. We did what we could, and it just wasn't quite enough."

Not only did Davis bring pressure on the quarter back this Saturday, but he even dropped back and batted away a ball thrown by Barkley. Davis projects as a 3-4 outside backer at the next level and may be asked to do this more as his career goes on.

"We've worked a lot on the zone pressures and everything so I've gotten some practice on my drops," Davis said. "It's something I'm still getting adjusted to, but it's something that's gotten better as the season has gone on."

This week's contest against Oregon will be the Sun Devil's toughest game of the year, and it just got tougher with the reinstatement of running back LeGarrette Blount, who was considered one of the top backs in the nation before his suspension, but that won't change the defense's approach.

"We want to focus on shutting down the run game because it's a big part of their offense," Davis declared. "He's a great player and he can make a difference in the game, but we're just going to come in with the same approach that we had whether he was there or not, so we're gonna just prepare well and whatever happens, happens."

Another weapon for Oregon is their mobile quarterback Jeremiah Masoli who is quietly becoming one of the top playmakers in the conference.

"He poses some different challenges because he can keep the ball," Davis admitted of Masoli, "we saw a little bit of that with Jake Locker because he's a real mobile guy, but it's gonna be a test for us and I think we'll be up to it."

Not making the game any easier for the Sun Devils is the crowd and noise they bring every game to Autzen stadium in Eugene, Oregon, one of the hardest places to play in all of college football.

"It's tough," Davis stated. "All we can really do is focus on the game plan and a lot of the guys haven't been up there so it's going to be a shock for them at first, but once the game starts going and they get into the flow and everything it's just another game."

Helping Davis face the challenges Oregon presents is a young, talented group of defensive linemen. Many expect this group to flourish as the years go on, and from what he's seen, Davis is a believer.

"I'm more of a quiet leader myself, just try to lead by example," Davis dejected. "They've done a good job of focusing each week and picking up the game plan, and listening to coach, really taking in what he has to say, and hopefully they'll continue to do that in seasons to come."

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