Erickson ready for UA challenge

Arizona State is trying to become eligible for a bowl waiver as it takes on Arizona this week and head coach Dennis Erickson realizes the challenge in facing Arizona.

Arizona State is trying to become eligible for a bowl waiver as it takes on Arizona this week and head coach Dennis Erickson realizes the challenge in facing Arizona.

"They are an extremely good football team, a lot of veterans on their team," he said. "Almost their entire offense front are seniors. Their quarterback falls under the category of the best in the country, and it seems like he is healthy now and he is throwing the ball extremely well.

"They are a good football team, you could go on and on about them. Defensively, it was probably a surprise for them as they started the season. They got a lot of players playing their front fours extremely well. Their secondary is playing well. They are just a good football team. What they have done this season and what they have accomplished over the last couple years with Coach Stoops, really elevated that program, so we obviously have our hands full. We are looking forward to going down there and playing an excellent football team."

One of the biggest worries for the Sun Devils is how the defense will attack Arizona's overall team speed.

"They are probably one of the faster teams in the Pac-10," Erickson said. "They have been over the last couple years. Offensively, when you have the skill they have and the running backs then you are set. Defensively they run, which they have built that defense on. They have got outstanding speed."

In addition, Erickson says the defense, while simple, has the ability to be very effective.

"They are very similar to what we do, they just play really base-sound defense and don't give up big plays a lot," he said. "Blitz some but not a lot, secondary is very disciplined.

"They let those ends get up the field and create havoc and let those linebackers run around and make plays. They play a little more nickel than what we probably do but they are very sound and do not do a lot of things. But what they do, they do extremely well."

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