Sept. 25, 2001
I apologize for the gap in between the last article and this one. We had some communication problems on our end. Put that together with a busy daily routine of school and practice, and a rescheduled game and I think it makes sense.
Well, the season has already had its ups and downs and we are only two games in. We all felt the highest high against San Diego State, and followed it up with a low against Stanford on Saturday. In both games we did several things well, and the mistakes we made are correctable. With a team as young as ours we are going to have moments throughout the season when guys are simply learning how to play at this level and figuring out that games are much different than practice. As the competition gets better and better, we are forced to develop our younger players at a faster rate. That's not at all an excuse to play poorly or give guys a break, it's a simple fact. And don't take that to mean that the veterans played every play like we need to in order to win either. Take me for example. In my opinion I played terrible against San Diego State, and merely average against Stanford. The veterans need to step it up more than anyone and lead the younger players by example.
The biggest thing for us to do now is not panic. We have a conference loss. OK. Now what can we do to learn from our mistakes and improve so that we don't lose again? That's our focus and our concern at this point. The last two games are over with and there is nothing we can do to change the outcomes.
Going into this week against San Jose State we have a lot to work on, and should have no problem being motivated after being embarrassed in Palo Alto. San Jose State has an extremely talented running back and they have beaten Stanford the last two years in a row. So to think that they may be intimidated by playing at Arizona State is outrageous. We on the other hand, have the utmost respect for every team we play and cannot afford to take anyone for granted right now. There is no such thing as a sure win at this level.
I'm anxious to see how we respond this week in practice. This is the first real test of our character and I know that we will come back and play San Jose State hard. This team is not going to lay down and willow away at the first signs of adversity. We have confidence in ourselves and in our staff and we will figure out a way to get better no matter the price.
A few things are certain about this upcoming week. Number one, we will see what this team is made of. Secondly, we must work through a lot of kinks and must improve in all three phases (offense, defense, and special teams). And finally, we will be challenged on Saturday by San Jose State in Sun Devil Stadium. It should be a great game, and by all estimates another shootout. This time, expect us to hang in there and win it. We have worked too hard to let another one slip through our fingers.