Arizona State Sun Devils Football Season Preview History
2012 ARIZONA STATE SEASON PREVIEW:
The Arizona State Sun Devils have been one of the most-improved programs in the PAC-12 over the past several years, and the 2011 season showed glimmers of the potential the team has going forward. With wins over top-notch programs like Missouri, USC, Oregon State and Utah, the Sun Devils looked like they were poised for a big season, but ended up losing six of their last seven games to finish with a 6-7 record overall. This year, new head coach Todd Graham looks to tighten the ship and help the squad become more consistent so they have a chance at making the leap to PAC-12 title contenders during his first year at the helm.
The Sun Devils will have to overcome losses on both sides of the ball this year, but the biggest changes will come on offense with redshirt sophomore Taylor Kelly expected to start. Kelly's potential as a passer and a runner could help the Sun Devil's offense compensate for their lack of playmakers. At running back, last year's 1,000-yard rusher Cameron Marshall will return to carry the rock, but runners James Morrison and Kyle Middlebrooks should also see more playing time. The receiving corps looks like one of the most promising units on offense, with seniors Jamal Miles and Rashad Ross back in their roles as starters. The offensive line still features two stalwarts in Brice Schwab at tackle and Andrew Sampson at guard, so they will play an important role in helping out the new underclassmen in the unit.
On defense, the Sun Devils have also experienced major changes but have gotten much healthier from a year ago. Defensive tackle Will Sutton is one of the stalwarts on the defensive line, and he should prove to be a valuable mentor for younger players like Gannon Conway and Carl Bradford. In the linebacking corps, the coaching staff is excited for the return of Brandon Magee, who should be the anchor of a relatively young group. While the secondary has suffered a few losses, it is surprisingly one of the most experienced squads on the team, including cornerback standout Osahon Irabor and safety Keelan Johnson.
Along with their tough PAC-12 opponents like Oregon, USC and Oregon State, the Sun Devils will have to match up with tough non-conference opponents like Illinois and Missouri. Thankfully, the Sun Devils have the talent and the new direction to surprise during the 2012 season, which could prove to be one of the most exciting in recent memory.
2011 Arizona State Football Preview:
No, it wasn’t a mirage in the desert—coach Dennis Erickson led the ASU Sun Devils to respectability after a horrid four-win 2009 campaign. Most of that credit goes to offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone, who came in an immediately made ASU a top-flight offense, which would eventually rank 15th in the country. Unfortunately, while their defense was stout, it just never seemed to line up perfectly for the Sun Devils. Four of their six losses came by less than four points, which makes Erickson’s squad an interesting one to watch. Will their luck stay stuck in the middle, or does it break well or bad?
Offensively, the Sun Devils may have lucked out of a bad situation. Their sort-of-new quarterback, junior Brock Osweiler, took over last season with two games left when Steven Threet decided that the four concussions he suffered in his collegiate career were too many. So now it’s up to Osweiler to lead the high-octane offense, a sample of which he showed to positive effect during a thrashing of UCLA, throwing for 380 yards and four touchdowns.
Defensively, while there were some losses, the team stays stout with a front line that boasts Junior Onyeali, last year’s Pac-10 Defensive Freshman of the Year, and collectively three players that collected at least four sacks each. It may be up to them, and the list of 30 returning players, to make sure that the promise shown in 2010 continues to come through in 2011.
2010 Arizona State Football Preview:
Before winning just 9 games over the past two seasons, the Arizona State Sun Devils enjoyed a stretch in which they competed in four consecutive bowl games and captured a Pac-10 conference championship. Coach Dennis Erickson will need a big boost from his offense if the team is to return to its form from 2007, when the club won the Pac-10 in Erickson's first season as coach. Last year, the Sun Devils' offense ranked ninth out of the conference's ten teams.
Entering the 2010 season, Erickson hired the former New York Jets assistant Noel Mazzone as an offensive coordinator and quarterback coach. Since last year's leading passer, Danny Sullivan, graduated, Mazzone will be focused on developing a new quarterback to lead the team back to glory. Many Arizona State fans expected the Michigan transfer Steven Threet to win the starting job, after throwing nine touchdowns for the Wolverines in 2008 and sitting out the 2009 season. However, sophomore QB Brock Osweiler has given the transfer a run for his money, leading the Sun Devils through the team's spring games.
The last game of the season could be vital as the Sun Devils take on their arch rival, Arizona, in The Duel in the Desert. Depending on both teams' season-long performances, this showdown could be the factor that keeps one team out of postseason play.
2009 Arizona State Football Preview:
The Arizona State Sun Devils head into the 2009 season with a strong team. Head Coach Dennis Erickson leads a Sun Devils squad that is going to air it out in the Pac 10. ASU will need their defense to step up, but their offense should not have much trouble putting points on the scoreboard at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe.
2008 Arizona State Football Preview:
The Arizona State Sun Devils football team is one of the most exciting teams in all college football this season. The team has proven itself to be a national championship contender this year, and has a bright future. The Sun Devils are trying to regain their past glory under legendary coach Frank Kush in the '60s and '70s by starting the 2007 strong and vying for a national title. Dennis Erickson takes over the team for his first year, amid speculation about how successful he can be considering both the triumphs and failures of his previous teams. A game this season at historic Sun Devil Stadium is sure to be an experience you won't forget.