“This is a game to show up.”
Simple words from Arizona State defensive back Lloyd Carington but they cut right to the point. After three straight underwhelming performances against Texas A&M, Cal Poly, and New Mexico, No. 19 USC is the litmus test for Arizona State. On Saturday we’ll find out what ASU is made of but in practice this week everything is back to normal as they prepare for their home slate against the Trojans.
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‘Normal’ meaning there is no more of the always challenging triple option offense. After facing two straight triple-option teams, Arizona State is looking to build upon their most recent defensive performance. They kept the Lobos to only 10 points and held them to only 3.9 yards per carry despite some injuries to key players, one of which was Armand Perry.
Lloyd Carrington believes that while the team is excited to get away from the triple option offense, it made them better as a defense.
“It was a good way for us to get more physical ‘cus there’s more contact and more opportunities to make tackles,” said Carrington. Still, the secondary is glad that they’re getting back to having more work.
“[There] wasn’t too much [in] passes. It was all runs. So we couldn’t get as much of a feel as a secondary.”
Now the entire defense is ready for a change of pace and the new task ahead of them is preparing for a completely different offense. Defensive back and team captain, Jordan Simone knows as a whole the defense is relieved to get to the standard pro-style offense, heading up by quarterback Cody Kessler.
“I know the d-line didn’t like getting cut. I’m sure their ready for that to be over.”
Moving on to USC this weekend, Kessler and his talented core of players on the roster will push what is one of the strength’s of the Sun Devils and that’s their defensive secondary. Still, Simone knows where the specific areas of the defense will be challenged and they’re ready to step up to the challenge.
“We got the best secondary in the country and the best defense in the country. They’re probably asking the same question over there,” said Simone. “This is what we do. We play in the Pac-12. Those couple games were just quick and easy and now were on to Pac-12 play and were excited to play them.”
Replacing the injured Armand Perry, the duo of Kareem Orr and James Johnson did a solid job against New Mexico with five total tackles. Combining that with the backfield of Solomon Means, James Johnson, Lloyd Carrington, Jordan Simone, and Kweishi Brown should be able to cause havoc on Kessler and they are embracing the challenge. In practice today, both Orr and Means picked off passes in the tempo drills.
Granted going up against the Trojan offense is no easy task but if there’s anything that the Devils have shown in the first three games its that their defense is the real deal.
Arizona and USC face off this Saturday at 7pm at Sun Devil Stadium.
– De’Chavon (Gump) Hayes, Christian Sam, and Kalen Ballage were all in green non-contact jerseys. Ballage and Hays participated in opening stretches and did skills work on sidelines during drills.
– After practice Coach Graham said that Gump Hays, Ami Latu, Devin Lucien, and Kalen Ballage are good to go for this weekend.