JR: The ASU game (17-41) was a disappointment, but fairly predictable. ASU has a veteran QB in Rudy Carpenter (possibly the best in the Pac-10) and plenty of talented skill players. We went on the road in 100-degree heat and got rolled by the #14-ranked team in the country with a terrific offense. Not a surprise, but the game could have and should have been closer. We are screwing around trying to find an answer at QB (our starter has thrown for less than 100 yards/game) and so far it has been a mess. Fans are calling for five-star Houston-bred true freshman QB Andrew Luck's red-shirt to be burned now because he appears to be the most talented QB on the roster.
BPN: Can you give us a little offensive preview?>
JR: We have a very talented RB in Toby Gerhart, (more of a "John Riggins"-type than an "LT"), but we need to keep feeding him, which you really can't do if you get behind. We have suffered multiple injuries in the WR corps and that has left us with a walk-on possession receiver and a relatively unproductive sophomore starting. When you complete just 50% of your pass attempts, it is hard to convert 3rd downs, which means you don't move the chains, and therefore can't sustain drives and score points. If you don't score points, you rarely beat good teams. All of these are related!
BPN: Tell me about your defense?
JR: Hard to tell. Really doubt we'll give up 67 like Stephen F. Austin! Our fans are a little upset that the defense has been less aggressive under first-year co-coordinator Ron Lynn (we lost our fine DC Scott Schafer who left for the same job at Michigan). Our best DL sat out most of last week with an ankle problem. Short drops and quick passes have worked very well against Stanford in the two games played. Our first two games have been played in sweltering heat. When the defense is on the field a lot (thanks to an unproductive offense), we can tire in the second half.
BPN: What is the attitude among the players and coaches about playing TCU?
JR: There is a clearly a desire to "get back" at TCU for a 2007 game many on the team really felt they should have won last year. Just didn't execute on the final drive. I think everyone respects the heck out of TCU and there is little animosity. We are looking forward to coming to Dallas/FT Worth. Since we play Notre Dame and San Jose State every year, we only get one new intersectional road trip every two years so it is rather exciting to come to a new venue. I think TCU takes pride in its running game, but that is not how I would attack Stanford. Our front seven can play. Our back four or five are hurting and struggling. A wide open passing attack, however, is tough for us to defend – we are not that strong to begin with and have suffered several injuries.
BPN: What is your prediction for the game?
JR: This is tough, because I always predict that we will win. TCU is favored by 13 and that is probably about right. We have really struggled to score points and we just lost our top wide receiver to a knee injury (actually, he is listed as questionable, but hasn't been at full strength even before this latest sprain). Stanford will have to win the turnover game to win this game. The team has been rather resilient under Harbaugh so I would expect a better showing this week. If it Stanford wins, it will be a high scoring ball game.
BigPurpleNation.com will have more with Jim Rutter later on in the week!