Arkansas State Head Football Coach Gus Malzahn held his first press conference of the regular season here Monday, with one of the biggest things coming out today was the release of a two deep depth chart.
It's no secret that Malzahn Red Wolves will be major underdogs against the No. 5 Oregon Ducks this coming Saturday at 9:30 p.m. Some are predicting Oregon to be favored by more than 35 points.
Malzahn told the ASU local media Monday that he is convinced that the Duck's defense is better than it was two years ago when Auburn defeated Oregon for the National Championship.
"I think their defense is better than it was in 2010," Malzahn said. "I thought they were pretty good then, they are even better now. They are really big and physical."
Oregon has three defensive linemen listed over 6-foot-7 and taller, giving Arkansas State's offensive line coach J.B. Grimes a tough assignment this week.
"I didn't know they grew defensive line that big," Grimes said after Sunday's Practice. "There is no doubt that they are very talented, very big and very physical. They will give us a tremendous challenge."
According to Grimes, his group must be fundamentally sound against a bigger Oregon team.
"It will be a challenge," Grimes said. "Against a two gap team like these guys, we have to be down in our steps. You can't take a bad step. We all have to be on the same page on our footwork. We are going to have to use a lot of good technique against these guys."
Malzahn released the season's first official two deep depth chart, but was quick to mention that this was just a starting point for his team.
"Several of these guys will see action on Saturday," Malzahn said. "We will be really specific with all three running backs, all three of them are still learning our offense. A lot of guys on our two deep will get some playing time. There is still some competition going on at certain positions."
One position that has been up for grabs is the running back position.
Another battle during fall camp has been at Quarterback for the No. 2 position behind Sun Belt Conference Offensive Player of the Year Ryan Aplin. The battle has been between Phillip Butterfield and Fredi Knighten, with the red-shirt junior being listed first on today's depth chart.
THE?ARKANSAS STATE-OREGON?SERIES: Saturday's game will mark the first ever meeting between Arkansas State and Oregon. It will also be the first time that an ASU football team has played a game in the state of Oregon.
A-STATE vs. THE?PAC-12: This will be Arkansas State's first ever meeting against a Pacific-12 school.
STARTING?STRONG: Guz Malzahn will have the opportunity to accomplish something that hasn't been done by an ASU coach since 1979 when the Red Wolves play Oregon, and that's to win his first game. Larry Lacewell was ASU's last coach to win his debut game, leading A-State to a 24-14 victory over east Texas State 33 years ago. ASU's previous six head coaches all suffered setbacks in their first game, including Al Kincaid, Ray Perkins, John Bobo, Joe Hollis, Steve Roberts and Hugh Freeze.
LITTLE ROCK GAME IN PROGRESS: Gus Malzahn said in today's press conference that game in Little Rock in the near future was something that was being worked on as he spoke. He stated that they were working on securing an opponent for game there as soon as next season.
COACHING RECOGNITION: First-year Arkansas State Head Football Coach Gus Malzahn was recognized as one of the top hires in the nation this offseason, named as the No. 4 best hire and No. 2 most intriguing hire in the nation by CBSSports.com. He was also one of two head coaches in the nation to receive a grade of A+ among new hires for the 2012 season by the Sporting News. Bleacher Report's "Over/Under Victories" for every new head coach places A-State at nine victories, one of the tops listed in the report.
RETURNING ALL-CONFERENCE PLAYERS: A-State returns five 2011 All-Sun Belt Conference players this season, including the league's Player of the Year in senior quarterback Ryan Aplin. Aplin was a first-team selection and was joined by second-team choices Josh Jarboe (Sr., WR) and Nathan Herrold (Sr.,?LB). Returning as honorable mention choices are senior wideout Taylor Stockemer and senior punter Neely Sullivent.
APLIN ON NUMEROUS WATCH LISTS: An All-America and Heisman candidate, senior quarterback Ryan Aplin has garnered a significant amount of national attention this preseason as he is listed on the Walter Camp Player of the Year Watch List, Davey?O'Brien Award Watch List, Johnny Unitas Award Watch List and the Manning Award Watch List. Video, action photos and biographical information for Aplin are all available on a Facebook Page, maintained by the ASU?Sports Information Department, called "Ryan Aplin All-America and Heisman Campaign." Fans and media will be able to follow Aplin's 2012 season on the page, where updates will be posted throughout fall camp and the upcoming season.
OREGON TO MAKE HISTORY SATURDAY: It will be the first time in 21 years a freshman has started at Quarterback for the Ducks. Red-shirt Freshman Marcus Mariotta was named as the starter by Chip Kelly last Friday.
DUCKS ARE TWEETING: Former Duck standout running back LaMichael James tweeted out that Mariotta will be the best quarterback in the history of Oregon. James probably wasn't born when Dan Fouts played the game for the Ducks.
Offense Two Deep Arkansas State
LT- Aaron Williams-Kevin Galindo
LG-Steven Haunga-Tyler Greve
Center-Eric Allen-Bryce Giddens
RG-Cliff Mitchell-Alan Wright
RT-Zach McKnight-Steven Stevens
QB-Ryan Aplin-Phillip Butterfield or Fredi Knighten
Running Back- David Oku- Frankie Jackson or Sirgregory Thornton
WR Josh Jarboe-Derek Keaton
WR Taylor Stockemer-J.D. McKissic
WR Carlos McCants or Allen Muse
TE-HBack-Anthony Kincy or Andre Smith or Darrion Griswold or Kenny Raines
Defense Two Deep Arkansas State
DE Tim Starson-Darius Dunaway
DT Amos Draper-Ronnell Wright
DT Ryan Carrethers-Dexter Blackmon
DE Shervarius Jackson-Chris Stone
WLB Nick Nelms-Eddie Porter
Mike LB Nathan Herrold-Qushaun Lee
Sting LB Don Jones-Kyle Coleman
Cornerback 1 Chaz Scales- Jonathan Victorian or Terrioius Triplett
FS Sterling Young-Cole Lorigan
SS-Chris Humes or Tausean Holmes
Cornerback 2 Andrew Tyron, Artez Brown or Rocky Hayes
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