The Arizona State Sun Devils have lost three in a row and are in danger of seeing their season unravel. Rich Gray of Bold Saguaros breaks down the problems his team has faced.
The Arizona State offense seems to be fading down the stretch. Any idea why the Sun Devils had so much trouble against the Beavers?
I think opponents are finally realizing Arizona State does not have a legitimate threat at wide receiver. Rashad Ross and Kevin Ozier had big games earlier in the year, but they have been pretty much non-existent. I mean, running back Marion Grice has been the best receiving threat for ASU in the last few weeks. That's not good.
That puts more pressure on Taylor Kelly to improvise, which leads to him making more mistakes. The run game showed signs of struggling even while ASU was winning and that remains an issue.
Bottom line, the Sun Devils are just an average team at best. That 5-1 start was full of smoke and mirrors that many, including myself, were conveniently overlooking. But like I've said before, a 6 or 7 win season plus a bowl game should be considered a success for Todd Graham in his first year. Though I doubt many will feel that way.
Were there any positive aspects from the ASU loss you could take?
I don't think so. ASU jumped out to another quick lead for the third week in a row, only to see that lead vanish before halftime. Granted, against Oregon it vanished it about five minutes so I guess that's progress.
I pegged this team to win 4 games at the start of the season for a lot of the reasons were are seeing right now. The defense can't tackle, only Will Sutton (who has surprised many with his play) can generate a pass rush, the secondary can't cover talented receivers and ASU doesn't have any playmakers at wide receiver.
The only positives remaining this season is getting a victory against Washington State or Arizona (It ain't happening against USC). Do that, become bowl eligible, beat whatever team comes out of the MWC and hopefully build off that next season.
Is ASU in danger of a 2011 repeat? How is this season similar and different to last year?
I think the comparisons to last season are a little short-sighted. Last year's Sun Devils were far more talented than this year's bunch, but undisciplined play doomed ASU. The Devils had a lot of turnover heading into this season, so to expect this team to contend for the Pac-12 South was a little ambitious. Yes, it's disappointing the season has unraveled that way it has, but last year was much worse. It was Year Five for Dennis Erickson, it's only Year One Todd Graham. I believe the program is heading in the right direction, Graham just needs to recruit the talent to get there.