So, here we are football fans! We have finally made it through the long drought and at last, Arizona State will be taking the field in 2014 to play a live football game. As you can imagine, we’re all excited to get going.
For Week 1, the Weber State Wildcats of the Big Sky Conference come into Tempe to take on the Sun Devils on Thursday night in a game where ASU comes in on paper as the big favorite. That said, the Wildcats come into 2014 ready for a fresh start after a very turbulent last two seasons in Ogden.
The Wildcats have been looking for some stability after last season had two head coaches with one (John L. Smith) being on the job for a whole four months. In comes Jay Hill, a first time head coach after serving as an assistant coach for the last 13 years at Utah. As the last practices wind down, Hill is ready to lead his team and improve from a disappointing 2-10 record from 2013.
On offense, the Wildcats are looking to add more punch to an offense that really didn’t have much of it, only averaging 15 points per game. In comes sophomore Billy Green under center. Green, a BYU transfer, takes the reins from Austin Chipoletti, who transferred at the end of last season. There will be challenges as a first year starter, which means players like Bo Bolen will be crucial for the Wildcats this season. The leading rusher from last year also serves as a kick returner for the Wildcats and will definitely be looked upon as a playmaker and team captain. He’s not a huge back, but he can be a load to bring down at 225 pounds. On the outside, Cam Livingston returns as the leading receiver and will look to take on a bigger role from his freshman year. He had four of the nine touchdown catches for WSU last year. No doubt, there is plenty of room for improvement for this team.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Wildcats are looking to improve on a unit that gave up approximately 475 yards and 41 points per game. In short, it wasn’t good, but the bright side is that the defense does return seven starters with a year of experience under their belt. In the secondary, look for captain Deon’tae Florence. The Boise State transfer led the team in passes deflected and had four interceptions last season. Weber State will certainly have their hands full with a Sun Devil offense that brings back the likes of quarterback Taylor Kelly, running back D.J. Foster, and wide receiver Jaelen Strong.
This first game provides a great opportunity for many of the Sun Devils to gain some confidence and get the first-game jitters out of the way. There are 26 underclassmen on the first two-deep depth chart of the season and how the young players develop will go a long way in the overall outlook of the regular season. Look for as many players to get some game experience in this one as the Sun Devils start their defense of their Pac-12 South Championship.
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