If you're listening to this from Las Vegas, take the over on California vs. Arizona State, because Saturday's clash on ESPN2 at 7 p.m. down in Tempe, Ariz., is going to be a track meet. The Sun Devils have already faces Texas Tech, and had to score 68 points to put away the Red Raiders, who have been getting some calls this week from Golden Bears quarterback Davis Webb as to how to deal with Arizona State's national-worst passing defense.
http://www.scout.com/college/california/story/1709230-second-verse-same-... SunDevilSource.com publisher Chris Karpman joins us on the Bear Republic Podcast this week, and he helps break down some of the unique wrinkles that first-year Sun Devil offensive coordinator Chip Lindsey brings, along with Kalen Ballage and Demario Richard.
At 2:23, Karpman goes in-depth on just what makes each of Arizona State's running backs so difficult to tackle.
"If you have the balls to step up in the hole against me, let's get it on," Karpman says he heard from Richard -- who's gained half of his yards after contact -- this week.
Six of Ballage's record-tying eight rushing touchdowns against Texas Tech came out of the Sparky wildcat formation, so be on the look out for that.
At 4:10, we take a look at some film from UTSA, as the Sun Devils run zone read, a bit of Gus Malzahn spread, pistol, double-stack running backs and even more exotic formations. This is the must-listen part of the podcast for leatherheads, as we break down Lindsey's scheme, which features play action pass with some Air Raid elements.
http://www.scout.com/college/california/story/1709473-cal-asu-preview-sp...A lot like Oregon, Arizona State doesn't run many plays, but they run them out of a wide variety of formations. Also, there are some philosophical similarities between what Lindsey does and what Cal offensive coordinator Jake Spavital does with his offense, starting with bubble screens.
At 7:43, we take a look at all the moving pieces in the Arizona State defense (including freshman All-American Kareem Orr, who's shifted to the boundary safety, and Armand Perry, who's coming back from injury), particularly the back end, which is the worst passing defense in the Football Bowl Subdivision. Why is that, and what do the Sun Devils have up front, that's allowed them to not give up a single 100-yard game against any team they've faced? It starts with defensive tackles Viliami Latu and Tashon Smallwood. Also discussed: Sophomore Joseph Wicker, Alani Latu, Koron Crump, and Salamo Fiso (the No. 2 ILB against the run as rated by Pro Football Focus was suspended for the first three games of the season)
At 13:36, we find out that WILL linebacker Christian Sam will be on the shelf, and El Cerrito (Calif.) alum D.J. Calhoun will take over that spot, and that the Sun Devils have had some issues at the hybrid Bandit safety and Spur field safety positions.
At 14:49, we break down dynamic young quarterback Manny Wilkins, and his strengths and weaknesses as a quarterback in general, and as a passer and a runner, in particular. How much more development does he need? We discuss, in detail.
http://www.scout.com/college/california/story/1708058-fifth-quarter-did-... Run-pass options are a big part of Spavital's offense, as they were for Tony Franklin's system, and they are just as big a part of the Sun Devils attack. How can Cal exploit those, and what happens if they play them wrong, particularly with one of the best young receivers in the nation, in 6-foot-4, 220-pound N'Keal Harry? We talk about that at 16:54.
At 18:38, we talk about punt and kick returner Tim White, who is also Wilkins's No. 1 target, until he had to take a seat last week against UT-San Antonio. From there, we speak about Arizona State's special teams, led by record-setting kicker Zane Gonzalez and punter Matt Haack.
Finally, at 21:14, we discuss all of the new improvements to Sun Devil Stadium down in Tempe, which is in the midst of a four-year renovation, and has seen some major upgrades this past offseason.