Saturday, June 11, 2011

Arizona State Sun Devils 2010 Review

Arizona State Sun Devils
2010 Record: 6-6 (4-5)
2010 Bowl Game: None

     The Devils had several issues last season, having only won 4 games against FBS opponents, all in conference play. Nothing went as it should have for Dennis Erickson last season, and he is one of the hottest seats in the nation after last fall.
     Steven Threet was brought in as a transfer from Michigan, but he never took off as a major threat for the Devils. His career also ended due to multiple concussions, so the Devils are in fall back mode at the position again. Threet passed for 18 TDs last fall, but he was picked off a whopping 16 times on the season. He passed for 2534 yards, and he did manage to complete 61.9% of his passes, but he was padded somewhat by ASU having taken on 2 FCS opponents. Brock Osweiler looke decent at times when allowd to start, as he passed for 797 yards and 5 TDs with no picks in 7 games. His main issue was completion percentage, as he only completed 56.9% of his passes. That will need some work.
     ASU rushed for 139 yards per game last season, meaning that they basically did not have a primary big play back. Cameron Marshall was the only back to go over 100 carries, but only averaged 65.58 yards per game, and finished with 787 yards and 9 TDs on the season. Freshman Deantre Lewis was second on the team, but he has the most promise, and may end up seeing more carries in 2011. Lewis finished with 539 yards rushing with 4 TDs.
     One thing that you can say was a positive about the ASU passing game was that 8 different receivers had at least 20 receptions last season. The evenbetter news? Only one of those receivers graduated after the season, which was Kerry Taylor, the leader, who posted a line of 54-699-3. Mike Willie (36-442-6), TJ Simpson (29-481-0), Gerell Robinson (29-387-5), Lewis (23-370-2), Aaron Pflugrad (29-329-2), Marshall (21-227-1), and Jamal Miles (25-203-4) all compiled a very busy group of Sun Devil receivers, and all but Miles averaged in double figures per catch last fall.
     Defensively speaking, the Sun Devils were a pretty easy target to pass against, given that ASU gave up 245 yards per game passing. The run defense was more dependable in that they only gave up 119 yards per game on the ground, but the pass defense was full of holes.
     Hot-headed sophomore LB Vontaze Burfict led the team in tackles with 90, averaging 7.5 per game, but he had moments in which he let his temper or hie emotions control and cloud his judgement. He was known for the stupid penalty and for playing out of control at times, much like an early Junior Seau or Bryan Cox. Fellow LB Brandon Magee finished  second in tackles with 73, or 6.08 per game. DBs Max Tabach and Eddie Elder came next with 64 and 63 tackles.
     Freshman DE Junior Onyeali has primed himself to be a star in the new Pac-12, as he finished the season as one of the premier stoppers in the conference. Onyeali finished 2010 with 11.5 TFLs in his frst campaign, meaning better things are likely to come. Jamaar Jarrett also finished with double figures, as he collected 10.5 on the season. Burfict was next with 8.5. The Sun Devils were not very adept at applying pressure to opposing QBs, however, and finished the season with only 23 sacks on the year. Onyeali led that category as well with 6.5.
     Junior Omar Bolden was the lone big playmaker in the secondary, and he needed more help. Bolden finished the season with 7 passes defended, which was by far more than anyone else in the group. Nobody else finished with more than 4 all season. Bolden also led the team with 3 picks, and returned one for a score.
     Thomas Weber had his moments as a senior last fall at the PK position, but they weren't all great. He connected on only 17 of his 24 FGs on the season, leaving a total of 21 points on the table by year end. He also managed to miss 3 PATs last fall, something that is nearly unforgivable on this level.  Trevor Hankins will be hugely missed. The senior punter nailed an average of 44.81 yards per punt last fall, finishing as one of the best punters in the nation. LeQuan Lewis and Bolden both returned kicks for TDs last fall, but it was Kyle Middlebrooks who was the return leader as he averaged 26.44 yards per return last fall. Jamal Miles averaged 8.55 yards per punt return, and he should be back to keep moving the bar upward this fall.
Final Notes
     Last season was not what it was supposed to be. ASU was supposed to climb to another level under Dennis Erickson, and it has not happened yet. Steven Threet never panned out as the savior, and now it's back to square one with Brock Osweiler, who probably should have been the starter all along if it wasn't for the failed experiment. Osweiler was more than capable, so now it all rests on him. Erickson needs to turn it around in 2011, or else he will find retirement coming just a bit early.

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