Arizona State Sun Devils 2009 NCAA Football Preview

Arizona State Sun Devils

Pac-10 Conference


2008 Record: (5-7, 4-5)

2008 Bowl: none

Coach: Dennis Erickson (15-9 at <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 />Arizona, 163-75-1 overall)

Offensive Coordinator: Rich Olson

Defensive Coordinator: Craig Bray


Returning Leaders

Rushing: Dimitri Nance, RB, 410 yards

Passing: Danny Sullivan, QB, 151 yards

Receiving: Chris McGaha, WR, 501 yards

Tackles: Mike Nixon, LB, 90

Sacks: Dexter Davis, DE, 11.0

Interceptions: Mike Nixon, LB, 5


Other Key Returnees: C Thomas Altieri, CB Omar Bolden, CB Terell Carr, G Garth Gerhart, LB Travis Goethel, DT Lawrence Guy, OT Jon Hargis, OT Shawn Lauvao, WR Kerry Taylor, K/P Thomas Weber

Key Losses: QB Rudy Carpenter, S Rodney Cox, G Paul Fanaika, WR Michael Jones, S Troy Nolan, TE Andrew Pettes, DT David Smith, DE Luis Vasquez, LB Morris Wooten


Arizona State had arguably the most disappointing season of any college football team in 2008. The Sun Devils were the top contender to unseat USC from the top of the Pac-10 pecking order and instead Coach Dennis Erickson’s squad failed to even reach a bowl game and had a losing record in conference play.



Much of the blame for last year’s debacle can be placed on the offense and any success the team finds this time around will be because of the defense. There is talent all over that side of the ball and none may be better than Dexter Davis. The senior defensive end tallied 11.0 sacks and 15.0 tackles-for-loss last season and is expected to have a huge final season in Tempe. With Lawrence Guy also returning to the defensive line, the Sun Devils front four should be one of the best in the conference. The group in the middle is equally talented with the return of linebackers Mike Nixon and Travis Goethel, who ranked first and third, respectively, on the team in tackles. The secondary will miss free safety Troy Nolan, but corners Omar Bolden and Terrell Carr are now both experienced upperclassmen.



Somehow Arizona State ranked 100th in the nation in total offense. That was on a team with a four year starting quarterback in Rudy Carpenter, a talented tailback in Keegan Herring and a superb playmaker in Michael Jones. Those three are now gone and it still seems the offense can only be better after a miserable 2008 campaign. However, at least on paper, the offense could be worse. Dimitri Nance is a capable rusher and Danny Sullivan is certainly a capable quarterback, but if Carpenter and Herring could not get the job done, why should anyone expect more from Nance and Sullivan? The good news is that Sullivan, a strong armed senior, will have some playmakers down field. Chris McGaha can pick up where Jones left off and Kerry Taylor showed plenty of promise as a sophomore last season.


The Bottom Line:

What Sullivan will have that Carpenter did not is an experienced offensive line. Four starters are back, led by tackle Shawn Lauvao. If the line can give Sullivan time and create holes for Nance and fellow back Shaun DeWitty, then the offense will not rank 100th in the nation once again. But that might be putting a little too much emphasis on experience. This is an offensive line that gave up nearly three sacks per game during the 2008 campaign and paved the way for an absolutely awful ground game.


2008 Team Stats:

Rushing Offense: 89.08 (113th in nation, 9th in conference)

Passing Offense: 220.33 (54, 4)

Total Offense: 309.42 (100, 7)

Scoring Offense: 22.83 (84, 7)

Rushing Defense: 126.50 (35, 4)

Pass Defense: 208.67 (59, 7)

Total Defense: 335.17 (44, 5)

Scoring Defense: 22.67 (45, 4)

Turnover Margin: .42 (33, 4)

Sacks: 1.92 (58, 6)

Sacks Allowed: 2.83 (109, 8)