Posted on: August 13, 2011 1:34 pm
Edited on: August 13, 2011 1:44 pm
Posted by Bryan Fischer
The talk coming into the season was that Arizona State was a Pac-12 title contender largely due to the fact that they returned so many starters in 2011. With the season fast approaching however, the talk has turned from the Sun Devils' depth to the team's lack thereof due to injuries.
It appears you can add one more name to the walking wounded as news surfaced Saturday morning that starting linebacker Brandon Magee would miss the season with a torn Achilles tendon. In addition to several backups going down with injuries, the team has already lost three starters in cornerback Omar Bolden, leading receiver T.J. Simpson and defensive end James Brooks.
"Besides being a great player he's a great leader," head coach Dennis Erickson said of Magee. "Him and Omar were our two leaders. Some other guys are going to have to step up."
The loss of Magee cannot be understated for Arizona State's defense as he was the squad's second leading tackler a year ago behind Vontaze Burfict. Defensive coordinator Craig Bray recently told The Arizona Republic that though Burfict was listed by many as the conference's preseason defensive player of the year, Magee actually out performed the star linebacker last season.
"Our best defensive player last year was Brandon Magee, and you don't hear anything about him," Bray said.
Senior Oliver Aaron was Magee's backup but he is recovering from an ankle injury suffered last week and is expected to miss three to four weeks. Carl Bradford and Collin Parker are also expected to compete for the open spot.
Posted on: August 8, 2011 2:42 pm
Edited on: August 9, 2011 5:08 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
Arizona State running back Cameron Marshall collected 787 rushing yards and an All-Pac-10 honorable mention nod as a sophomore, but he and the Sun Devils each have much loftier goals in mind for their first season in the new Pac-12 South.
Marshall spoke to CBSSports.com's Adam Aizer about the Sun Devils' 2011 season, head coach Dennis Erickson, the height of projected starting quarterback Brock Osweiler, and the recent post-practice incident involving lightning-rod linebacker Vontaze Burfict. You can listen to the interview here:
Posted on: August 8, 2011 11:09 am
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
When a news story proclaimed Arizona State linebacker Vontaze Burfict the team's new defensive leader over the summer, we couldn't help but have a little fun with it, since "natural leadership qualities" haven't exactly been the most noticeable of the hotheaded All-American's abundant gifts.
But of course, there was always the hope -- there has always been the hope in Tempe -- that Burfict was on the verge of turning over a new self-controlled leaf and becoming the potential national Defensive Player of the Year his talent suggests he can be. Unfortunately, it appears Dennis Erickson is going to have to wait for that leaf to turn a little longer; the Arizona Republic has confirmed that Burfict threw a punch at teammate Kevin Ozier in a post-practice altercation last week.
According to the Republic, Burfict waited for Ozier in the Sun Devil locker room following an argument during practice, and each player exchanged punches (Burfict's coming first) before the fight was broken up.
Though the website Sports by Brooks implied Burfict could have been withheld from the program's recent media day and had seen a magazine photo shoot canceled because of the incident, ASU spokesman Mark Brand called many of the site's reports "completely false." Burfict has not missed any practice time and what punishment he's received, if any, is being handled in-house.
In fact, if this wasn't Burfict, this would likely be just another "boys will be boys" story that appeared in a local beat writer's notebook and was ignored everywhere outside of Tempe. But because the player in question is Burfict, with his towering talent and temperamental history, it's much more than that. It's common knowledge that if Burfict can just get his emotions under control on the field this fall, the Sun Devils stand an excellent chance of winning the inaugural Pac-12 South title and of turning around Erickson's stagnating program. So it's not surprising that every move Burfict makes in camp is going to be watched.
And unfortunately for the Sun Devils, this latest move does make it seem much less likely that Burfict will, in fact, keep his emotions in check. The question has to be asked: if he can't keep his temper when dealing with his own teammate, how is he supposed to do it with his opponents?
Posted on: July 26, 2011 11:51 pm
Posted by Chip Patterson
Arizona State was selected by the media to finish second place in the new Pac-12 South, right behind USC. If final standings shake out that way, the Sun Devils would find themselves in the Pac-12 title game due to USC's sanctions. Head coach Dennis Erickson was asked on Tuesday if they would have any problem taking that bid.
"I don't care," Erickson joked. "Lot of things in life you take anyway you can get it, you know. But the playoff is really fun. You can have a bad game, come back, and get into that championship game, which is what it's all about, to go to the Rose Bowl. But to answer your question, like I said, I don't care. I'll take it anyway we can get it."
Here are some other highlights from Arizona State's time with the media on Tuesday:
- Erickson is very happy with his defense heading into the fall. Says the unit is two-deep at every position, and will likely be the best part of the team. He noted the loss of defensive back Omar Bolden setting them back a bit, and identified it as one place to improve.
- On the offensive line Arizona State will return "7 or 8" offensive linemen with game experience, not to mention all five starters. The line should help 6-foot-8 quarterback Brock Osweiler, who also drew praise from Erickson for his work in the offseason.
- There is no timetable for a return for running back Deantre Lewis. After suffering a gunshot wound in the back of the leg, Erickson insisted that his return is up in the air. The wound hurt his hamstring worse than many people think, and is obviously still dealing with the emotional issues of being shot. Erickson seemed to hint that he would either sit out the first 3 or 4 games or redshirt the entire season.
Posted on: June 28, 2011 9:30 am
Edited on: June 28, 2011 10:53 am
Posted by Chip Patterson
Former Arizona State wide receiver Kerry Taylor was not been pleased with the job that coach Dennis Erickson did during Taylor's last years as a Sun Devil. In speaking to Channel 3 TV in Phoenix, Taylor made his opinions on the Arizona State coaching job known, and his comments have caused quite a stir in the ASU community.
Taylor even went on to retweet Tim Ring, from the station, who clearly realized after the interview that he had a bigger story on his hands than catching up with a recently graduated wide receiver. (via Twitter)
A lot of people are asking about the Kerry Taylor interview. This will NOT air on Ch 3 tonight. Coach Erickson will get time to respond.
The interview will be properly vetted with both sides getting a fair chance to have their say. The piece tentatively will air NEXT Sunday.
Erickson's first season at ASU produced a 10-3 record and a share of the Pac-10 regular season title. Since then, however, the Sun Devils have gone 15-21 and failed to reach the postseason. With USC being ineligible to play in the first Pac-12 Championship Game on Dec. 2 because of NCAA sanctions, Arizona State expects to be in a good position to lock up the South Division's berth to the title game.
Until we hear Taylor's interview next week and then Erickson's response; it will be difficult to determine how this will resonate throughout the program. But my feeling is that someone like Erickson will not get ruffled by the grumblings of a recent graduate to a local television station.
As for the players on the team?
Their best move is to follow the lead of their coach, regardless of doubt. He is not going anywhere before the fall, and the Sun Devils have a great opportunity to put themselves back in Pac-12 title contention if they can keep their focus on-field rather than on off-field distractions.
Posted on: June 24, 2011 4:45 pm
Edited on: June 24, 2011 4:50 pm
Posted by Bryan Fischer
CBSSports.com Senior Writer Dennis Dodd unveiled his 2011 Hot Seat Ratings for college football and if you pull out the Pac-12 coaches, you'll find the seat is quite toasty - or could be quickly - for at least half of the conference. While Utah's Kyle Whittingham and Washington's Steve Sarkisian don't have anything to worry about, Pac-12 media days might feature a few new faces next year. It almost seems as though the conference has to move to a "hot couch" to fit everybody on it. Here's the list of coaches on the West Coast in order from 5 (brushing off for-sale signs) to 0 (buying second beach house).
Washington State's Paul Wulff: 5.0
UCLA's Rick Neuheisel: 4.0
Arizona State's Dennis Erickson: 3.5
Arizona's Mike Stoops: 2.5
USC's Lane Kiffin: 2.0
Cal's Jeff Tedford: 2.0
Stanford's David Shaw: 1.5
Colorado's Jon Embree: 1.0
Oregon State's Mike Riley: 1.0
Washington's Steve Sarkisian: 0.5
Utah's Kyle Whittingham: 0
Oregon's Chip Kelly: 0
Wulff is the only coach in the country to receive a 5.0 from Dodd. His winning percentage is south of the Mendoza Line (.135 entering 2011) and he probably needs to get the Cougars close to a bowl game in order to get another year. He's an alum of the school and poured all his efforts into rebuilding things on the Palouse but it's hard to overlook his overall record. He's got some talent on offense, notably quarterback Jeff Tuel, so there is some hope.
The coach with the best chance to get off of the seat is Erickson, who has a team full of upperclassmen and is primed to make a run at the first ever Pac-12 South title. He is just barely over .500 in his time in Tempe and has only finished in the upper half of the conference standings once, which is why his seat is third hottest in the conference.
It seems as though Neuheisel has "been on the cusp" of breaking through after two good recruiting classes a few years ago but he'll have to combat a tough schedule to prevent the temperature from rising further. Many have speculated that the school's financial situation is the only thing keeping him around for another year.
Tedford finds himself in the middle of the pack but he knows the situation is fluid. Cal fans' expectations will likely raise next year with the re-opening of Memorial Stadium so while the quarterback guru is probably safe this year, he's not too far away from having his name move higher on the list if things don't go well in 2011. Dodd accurately pegs Kiffin as having a pretty lukewarm seat, unlike what some fans outside Southern California might think. However, like with Chip Kelly, any NCAA trouble will find him shooting up to near the top of the list.
The hot seat is crowded in the Pac-12 and it should be fun to see who gets off of it this season.
One way or another.
Tags: Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado, David Shaw, Dennis Erickson, Hot Seat Index, Hot Seat Rating, Jon Embree, Kyle Whittingham, Lane Kiffin, Mike Riley, Mike Stoops, Oregon, Oregon State, Pac-12, Paul Wulff, Rick Neuheisel, Stanford, Steve Sarkisian, UCLA, USC, Utah, Washington, Washington State
Posted on: June 2, 2011 3:26 pm
Edited on: June 13, 2011 9:54 am
By the Eye on College Football bloggers
To celebrate the (now fewer than) 100 days remaining until the first Saturday of the new college football season, this is the CBSSports.com College Football 100: our countdown of the 2011 season's 100 most influential players, coaches, administrators, venues, or any other related things in college football. It's like that other "most influential" list, but, you know, more important. Also: it's supposed to be fun. Enjoy.
50. COWBELLS, traditional noisemakers, Mississippi State. On the one hand, yeah, it's just a bell with a stick attached to it and (usually) a State logo affixed to one side. But on the other, it's a huge reason why trips to Starkville have become a gigantic thorn in the side of SEC favorites since Dan Mullen took over the Bulldog helm. The cowbells create a tremendous amount of noise during their designated usage periods (touchdown celebrations, timeouts, etc.), but there's plenty enough State fans willing to use them during non-designated periods that Davis-Wade Stadium can become just as loud and disruptive as SEC stadiums with twice its capacity.
And in 2011, how loud Davis-Wade can get will matter. A lot. The Bulldogs will play host to both of the consensus SEC West favorites and the closest thing the preseason has to an SEC East favorite--LSU visits Sept. 15, South Carolina Oct. 15 and Alabama Nov. 12. A State victory in any one of those three games could immediately turn the entire conference on its head--and given that this is Mullen's most experienced team yet, the guess here is that thanks in part to those cowbells, the Bulldogs will come away with at least one of those scalps. -- JH
49. DOAK CAMPBELL STADIUM, home venue, Florida State. The Seminoles' home field will play host to one of the biggest non-conference matchups of the season--and it takes place on the third weekend of football. On September 17, Oklahoma -- expected to be one of the top-ranked teams in the nation -- will visit Doak looking to repeat last year's thumping of FSU in Norman. The Seminoles return 17 starters from last year's team that finished the season as the ACC runner-up and Chick Fil-A Bowl champion, though, leading many to tap Florida State as the 2011 ACC frontrunner. It's safe to say head coach Jimbo Fisher has brought the hype back to Tallahassee in just his second year.
So the two juggernauts will collide in Doak Campbell Stadium. A win for Oklahoma would be a huge confidence boost after struggling in a few crucial road games over the last couple years. A win for Florida State would not only bring the Sooners' title hopes to a screeching halt, it would transform the home team from ACC favorite to national title contender. The 'Noles also get Maryland, N.C. State and Miami all at home, making Doak not only a key destination for the national title picture but the key venue for the ACC Atlantic race. If the Seminoles can escape the month of September undefeated, it could be their race to lose down the stretch. -- CP
48. AL GOLDEN, head coach, Miami. The Hurricane coaching search was heavily publicized and tossed around flashy names like Jon Gruden and Dan Mullen, but the final decision was on the decidedly less-flashy, hard-nosed Golden. Since joining the program, Golden has talked about changing the "culture" of Miami football. After watching the team prepare for the Sun Bowl, Golden said he wanted to practice faster, hit harder, and increase the toughness up and down the roster. His winter conditioning program produced players' tales of being worked harder than ever, and his gritty demands continued well into spring practice.
But Golden needs to be more than a strength coach and philosopher for the Hurricanes. He needs to be the face of the program moving forward, and the team needs to believe in his word. There is a roster full of talent in Coral Gables that has not come close to sniffing a conference championship. Since joining the ACC in 2004, the Hurricanes have yet to produce so much as a Coastal division title. Golden's arrival has brought a lot of excitement back to The U, but also the expectations for winning. If Golden is going to get the trust of Randy Shannon's team, he will need to show them that his "culture" produces championship-caliber football. -- CP
47. THE BIG TEN THANKSGIVING DINNER, new-and-improved rivalry weekend, November 25-26. The Big Ten, for better or worse, has always been unusually staid about its traditions--that means Saturday conference games only, no conference games after November 25 (which usually ends the season before Thanksgiving), and Michigan-Ohio State to end the conference season, always. That has worked out pretty well for the Big Ten for the most part, although Buckeye fans in particular have long rued the six weeks of layoff between a pre-Thanksgiving conference finish and a January BCS bowl game (since the SEC and most other conferences would only have four weeks).
Say goodbye to that disparity, though, because the Big Ten has moved the end of its regular season to Thanksgiving weekend. That decision plus the conference championship game equals football in December in the Big Ten, just like everywhere else. And what a regular season finale week the Big Ten has lined up for its fans this year: Michigan-OSU is still there, as fans demanded en masse when scheduling was going on, but now it's not the only show in town. Iowa and Nebraska have set up a season-ending rivalry for the next four years (one expects this to be made permanent if fans respond well to the new rivalry), and breaking with all sorts of conference tradition, it'll be on Friday. There's also a key showdown with Penn State at Wisconsin, and if Ohio State's not in contention for the (sigh) Leaders Division title, PSU-Wisconsin will likely have heavy implications for that bid to the championship. Same goes for Michigan State at Northwestern in the Legends Division. That's a heck of a way to spend a Thanksgiving weekend, isn't it? -- AJ
46. KELLEN MOORE, quarterback, Boise State. Kellen Moore's career thus far seems to have taken an arc we usually only see in TV shows. Last season was the "championship run" season, where Boise State was as poised as it ever was to crash the BCS Championship before fate conspired to take down the heroes. And make no mistake, Moore was a hero last year, leading the nation in passing efficiency and racking up 35 touchdowns to just six interceptions. He may not have had a chance to overtake Cam Newton for Heisman consideration, but his fate was sealed in the Broncos' 34-31 loss to Nevada--even though Moore threw a downright miraculous 53-yard bomb to Titus Young that put Boise in position to win the game.
If last season was all about the team taking its best shot at the title, this year's all about Moore; his top two receivers, Young and Austin Pettis, are both off to the NFL now, and key reserve RB Jeremy Avery is also gone. The Broncos find themselves in a tougher conference, too, though they still look to be favorites to win the Mountain West championship. If there were ever a time for Moore to erase the last of the doubts about his ability to play quarterback, this'll be it, and with any luck, this season'll end on a much more crowd-pleasing note for Moore and the rest of his teammates. -- AJ
45. THE PAC-12 HOT SEAT, conference furniture, Pac-12. When Pac-12 media days roll around next year, there's a good chance there will be a few different faces from this year's edition. While every conference has their fair share of coaches on the hot seat, it seems as though the Pac-12 has a hot couch with so many people to fit on it. Washington State's Paul Wulff, UCLA's Rick Neuheisel, Arizona State's Dennis Erickson and Cal's Jeff Tedford are those that are feeling the heat ... and a bad year by USC's Lane Kiffin could find him starting to sweat as well.
The coach with the best chance to get off of the seat is Erickson, who has a team full of upperclassmen and is primed to make a run at the first ever Pac-12 South title. Erickson is just barely over .500 in his time in Tempe and has only finished in the upper half of the conference standings once. Needless to say, it's put up or shut up time. Wulff's winning percentage is well south of the Mendoza Line (.135 entering 2011) and he probably needs to get the Cougars close to a bowl game in order to get another year. Neuheisel and Tedford both have upset fan bases and a really bad year will likely mean they're out; financial considerations might be the only thing that could keep them around. The hot seat is crowded in the Pac-12 and it should be fun to see who gets off of it this season -- one way or another -- first. -- BF
44. OKLAHOMA'S BUMPY ROAD, scheduling hurdle, Oklahoma. Oklahoma seems to be the popular pick to be ranked No. 1 in the preseason polls, which gives the Sooners an edge in its pursuit of a national championship. All it has to do is go undefeated -- that's it! -- and the Sooners will find themselves in the BCS Championship Game. Obviously, winning every single game on the schedule is not an easy thing to do, particularly when you've got that giant target on your back ... and things could be even tougher for Oklahoma when you look at their schedule.
Over the last two seasons, Oklahoma has played nine games on the road -- not counting neutral site games -- and the Sooners have gone a distressing 3-5. Last season the Sooners won two games on the road, against Cincinnati and Oklahoma State, but only won those games by a combined eight points. This season two of Oklahoma's toughest games will be on the road, as it travels to Florida State during the second week of the season and will finish the year against those same Cowboys in Stillwater. Then there's the neutral site battle with Texas. It wouldn't be a shock to anybody if the Sooners came away from those three games with at least one loss on the marker. And given that there's no longer a Big 12 title game that could help boost the Sooners' profile at the end of the year, that loss could singlehandedly derail the team's 2011 title hopes. -- TF
43. WILL MUSCHAMP, head coach, Florida. In some ways, Muschamp will have less pressure on him this season than the other two head coaches in the SEC East's "Big Three"; Mark Richt is firmly in win-or-else mode, and Steve Spurrier has to know his career won't last long enough to see talents like Marcus Lattimore and Alshon Jeffery come around again. Muschamp, meanwhile, may need a couple of seasons to get his favored pro-style offense working and his aggressive defense completely in place.
Then again, this is Florida. And Muschamp is replacing a coach with three SEC East titles and two national championships in the last five seasons alone; transition or no transition, a second straight year bumbling around the 7-5 mark with an offense barely fit to wear the same jerseys as the Spurrier Fun n' Gun or the Tim Tebow/Percy Harvin spread juggernaut won't go over well at all. The easiest way for Florida to improve, fortunately, is Muschamp's specialty: defense. The Gators have all the athletes needed to dominate on that side of the ball, and if Muschamp's going to extend his coaching honeymoon past the season's first month, they'd better. -- JH
42. BIG EAST CONFERENCE TIEBREAKERS, potential title-deciders, Big East. Since 2003, the Big East title has been split four times. Two of those times were between at least three teams, most recently last season when Connecticut won the tie-breaker over West Virginia and Pitt. As the conference's front office continues to eye expansion and the addition of a conference championship, the eight teams participating in conference play this fall will all be fighting for the BCS berth awarded to number one team in the standings.
With the seven game conference schedule (which is backloaded, for most teams), there are less games to separate the teams in the standings. Unless one team goes undefeated (West Virginia in 2005, Cincinnati in 2009), there is a good chance that there will be a tie at the top of the standings. In the final month of the season the Big East title hunt will become a wild collection of if/then scenarios, with each conference game carrying a tie-breaker significance. -- CP
As a redshirt junior in 2011, Griffin will be playing his fourth season with the Bears, and should be better than ever--a scary proposition for Big 12 defenses already struggling to stop him. While Baylor's defense will likely keep it from having a real shot to win the Big 12 this season, odds are that RG3 is going to have a big say in who ultimately does win the conference ... meaning that he could have a big impact on the national title picture as well before the year is finished. -- TF
The 100 will continue here on Eye on CFB tomorrow. Until then, check out Nos. 100-91, 90-81, 80-71, 70-61 and 60-51. You can also keep up with the 100 by following us on Twitter.
Tags: ACC, Al Golden, Alabama, Alshon Jeffery, Arizona State, Austin Pettis, Baylor, Big 12, Big East, Big Ten, Boise State, Cal, CBSSports.com College Football 100, Cincinnati, Connecticut, Dan Mullen, Dennis Erickson, Doak Campbell Stadium, Florida, Florida State, Illinois, Jeff Tedford, Jeremy Avery, Jimbo Fisher, Jon Gruden, Kellen Moore, Lane Kiffin, LSU, Marcus Lattimore, Mark Richt, Maryland, Miami, Michigan, Mississippi State, Mountain West, N.C. State, Nevada, non-BCS, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Pac-12, Paul Wulff, Percy Harvin, Pitt, Randy Shannon, Rick Neuheisel, Robert Griffin III, SEC, South Carolina, Steve Spurrier, Texas Bowl, Tim Tebow, UCLA, USC, Washington State, West Virginia, Will Muschamp
Posted on: April 22, 2011 1:10 pm
Edited on: April 22, 2011 1:27 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
To a man, all of us here at the Eye On College Football blog had a bit of a chuckle when we came across a headline we saw in the Arizona Republic on Friday morning. That headline was "ASU's Vontaze Burfict embracing leadership role." Don't get us wrong, it's not as if any of us don't think Burfict is a very good football player; we know he is. It was just, given his penchant for personal foul penalties, we wondered if having Burfict as your defensive leader on the field is really the smartest decision for Arizona State to make.
I mean, is this really the kind of example you want your team to follow?
And that's just one incident, head on over to YouTube and watch all the others for yourself if you like. Just know that Dennis Erickson benched Burfict for his behavior on the field last season. And now he's going to be the leader on defense? So, eventually, the discussion amongst us turned to possible headlines we may see about Arizona State next season, and they were too good not so share with the rest of you.
Just remember that it's all in good fun. So, here you go.
Week 4: "Arizona State falls to USC; Matt Barkley unsure whether he'll press charges"
Week 6: "Utah announces its return to Mountain West after victory over Arizona State"
Week 7: "Devils embracing Burfect leadership; Oregon assistant to be released from hospital tonight"
Week 8: "Chicago gang decides to stop wearing Arizona State merchandise following visit from Vontaze Burfict on Devils' bye week"
Week 10: "Sun Devils stand behind Burfict, say hospitalized umpire 'had it coming'"
Week 12: "Devils refuse to give up hostages, ATF says cafeteria 'impregnable" for time being"
January 2012: "NCAA unanimously approves 'Burfict Rule'"
So, as you can see, it should be an interesting season at Arizona State.