ASU Football Pac-10 Media Day Release

July 27, 2007

Complete Release (pdf)

TEMPE, Ariz. - The Arizona State University football team is less than one week from opening its practice schedule as it prepares for its 2007 opener against San Jose State at 7 p.m. on September 1 on Frank Kush Field at Sun Devil Stadium.

Dennis Erickson ERA BEGINS
When Dennis Erickson was named Arizona State University's 22nd head coach on Dec. 11, 2006, the Sun Devils gained one of the most successful and well-known figures in college football. ASU brought into the fold a leader with a tradition of being a 'players' coach,' having guided an extensive list of college football award winners, All-Americans, and NFL draft picks.

Coach Erickson brings to brings a resume to Tempe that goes widely unmatched throughout current college head coaches, having won a pair of National Championships while posting a career college football coaching record of 148-65-1 (.694), owning the 11th-most wins among active head coaches.

ASU's offense is led by junior quarterback Rudy Carpenter, who has started 18 consecutive games for the Sun Devils. The driving force of the ASU offense is its incredible stable of running backs, highlighted by the dangerous combination of senior Ryan Torain and junior Keegan Herring. The Sun Devil offensive line features five graduates, including standouts Mike Pollak, Brandon Rodd and Zach Krula, while senior wide receiver Rudy Burgess and senior tight end Brent Miller round out the top skill position athletes.

• Junior QB Rudy Carpenter has totaled more passing yards and touchdowns than any Sun Devil passer through his freshman and sophomore seasons and is the Pac-10's active career leader in pass efficiency.
• Senior RB Ryan Torain ranks 13th nationally and second in the Pac-10 among returning runners after recording the top rushing season by a Sun Devil back since 1975.
• Sophomore RB Keegan Herring is one of only four active running backs in the Pac-10 Conference to have rushed for over 500 yards in each of the past two seasons.
• Senior WR Rudy Burgess is the only active player in the Pac-10 Conference to have surpassed 1,000 yards rushing and receiving during his career.
• ASU's offensive line includes five players who earned their undergraduate degrees this past spring.
• Sophomore DE Dexter Davis' sacks total last season (6) ranks behind only Shante Carver (1990) and Terrell Suggs' (2000) 10 for most by an ASU freshman.
• ASU showcased the most productive crop of freshman defenders last season, led by Davis, linebackers Travis Goethel, Mike Nixon and Gerald Munns, and safety-turned-linebacker Ryan McFoy.
• Senior Josh Barrett, one of the biggest and most athletic safeties in college football, was ASU's Defensive Player of the Year and is a preseason national honors and awards candidate.
• Senior P Jonathan Johnson headlines ASU's drastically improved punting game, which featured a net punting increase of 6.9 yards from the previous season, the greatest turnaround in the Pac-10.

Thur., Aug. 2 - Practice #1 (helmets), 6:40-9 p.m. (Kajikawa Practice Facility)
Fri., Aug. 3 - Practice #2 (helmets), 6:20-9:30 p.m. (Kajikawa Practice Facility)
Sat., Aug. 4 - Media Day, 1-3:30 p.m. (Dutson Theater, Carson Center) and Practice #3 (shells), 6:05-8:20 p.m. (Kajikawa Practice Facility)
Sun., Aug. 5 - Practice #4 (shells), 5:30-7:50 p.m. (Kajikawa Practice Facility)
Mon., Aug. 6 - Practice #5 (pads), 7:15-9:15 p.m. (Kajikawa Practice Facility)
Tues., Aug. 7 - Practice #6 (shells), 8:45-11 a.m. (Kajikawa Practice Facility) and Practice #7 (pads), 7:15-9:15 p.m. (Kajikawa Practice Facility) ... (depart for Camp Tontozona at 10:30 a.m.)
Wed., Aug. 8 - Practice #8 (pads), 4:30-6:30 p.m.
Thur., Aug. 9 - Practice #9 (shells), 8:50-11:05 a.m. and Practice #10 (pads), 4-6:15 p.m.
Fri., Aug. 10 - Practice #11 (pads), 3-5:15 p.m.
Sat., Aug. 11 - Scrimmage, 11-1 p.m.
Sun., Aug. 12 - Practice #12 (pads), 3-5:15 p.m.
Mon., Aug. 13 - Practice #13 (shells), 8:50-11:05 a.m. and Practice #14 (pads), 4-6:15 p.m.
Tues., Aug. 14 - Practice #15 (pads), 3-5:15 p.m.
Wed., Aug. 15 - Practice #18 (shells), 10:05-12:15 p.m. (depart for Tempe at 3:30 p.m.)
Thur., Aug. 16 - Practice #19 (pads), 7:15-9:15 p.m. (Kajikawa Practice Facility)
Fri., Aug. 17 - Scrimmage, 7-9:30 p.m. (Sun Devil Stadium)
Sat., Aug. 18 - No Practice
Sun., Aug. 19 - Practice #20, 5:45-8 p.m. (Kajikawa Practice Facility)
Mon., Aug. 20 - First Day of Classes, No Practice
Tues., Aug. 21 - Practice #21, 5:45-8 p.m. (Kajikawa Practice Facility)
Wed., Aug. 22 - Practice #22, 5:45-8 p.m. (Kajikawa Practice Facility)
Thur., Aug. 23 - Practice #23, 4-5:30 p.m. (Kajikawa Practice Facility)
Fri., Aug. 24 - Mock Game, 6:15 p.m. (Kajikawa Practice Facility)
Sat., Aug. 25 - No Practice
Sun., Aug. 26 - Practice, 5:45-8 p.m. (Kajikawa Practice Facility)
As always, interviews will be held after all of these practices/scrimmages. Media are allowed to shoot all of these workouts until the team returns to Tempe from Camp Tontozona. Then, beginning Thursday, August 16, media can shoot the first 30 minutes of non-team drills.

As Arizona State's starting quarterback during the past 18 games during his freshman and sophomore seasons, Rudy Carpenter has solidified himself as one of the most accomplished at his position among his classmates. Compared to other signal-callers to be juniors in 2007, Carpenter ranks second in touchdown passes (40) and passer efficiency rating (150.51), fourth in career passing yards (4,796), fifth in completed passes and passing attempts (340-of-560) and sixth in completion percentage (60.7-percent).

Carpenter also ranks among the very best in the Pac-10 conference, standing as the conference's active career leader in passer efficiency rating and ranks second to only Alex Brink of Washington State, who is a year of eligibility ahead of Carpenter, in passing attempts, completed passes, passing yards and touchdown passes. Additionally, the Westlake Village, Calif., native has enjoyed seven career games with over 300 passing yards, the most among active Pac-10 quarterbacks.

Carpenter followed his record-setting freshman campaign with a solid sophomore season, ranking third in the Pac-10 in touchdown passes while throwing for 2,523 yards. When compared to those of his predecessors, Carpenter's combined freshman and sophomore year passing totals rank as the very best in the history of Arizona State University, exceeding the totals compiled by some of the finest athletes in the history of the program.

No team in the Pac-10 Conference showcased as many talented defensive freshmen as ASU did in 2006, headlined by defensive end Dexter Davis and linebacker Travis Goethel, both of whom earned Pac-10 All-Freshman and honorable mention Freshman All-America honors by The Sporting News. Davis was one of ASU's most consistent defensive players, leading the team in sacks (6.0) and tackles-for-loss (10.5) as a starter in all 13 games. Goethel and fellow linebacker Mike Nixon both appeared in all 13 games, each starting four and Goethel compiled 29 total stops, while Nixon totaled 32 tackles, eight tackles-for-loss and three sacks. Safety-turned-linebacker Ryan McFoy started eight contests, totaling 34 tackles and two interceptions and linebacker Gerald Munns started a pair of games, tallying 15 total stops. In total, six rookies saw action for the Sun Devils last season, four of whom were true freshmen and the group combined for 151 total tackles, 21.5 tackles-for-loss, 11.0 sacks and six forced fumbles.

Sophomore defensive end Dexter Davis enjoyed one of the most sensational freshman seasons by a Sun Devil defender in school history last season, earning Pac-10 All-Freshman honors and honorable mention freshman All-America recognition by The Sporting News. The Phoenix, Ariz., native recorded a team-best and Pac-10 freshman season-high 6.0 quarterback sacks, the third-most by a Sun Devil rookie in school history. Davis' total trails only those by Terrell Suggs (2000) and Shante Carver (1990), who each posted 10.0 sacks as a freshman and in total, Suggs (44 career sacks) and Carver (41) rank first and second on ASU's all-time career sacks list. Also, Davis totaled 40 tackles on the season, the most by an ASU freshman since TSN freshman All-American safety Jason Shivers' team-high 89 total stops in 2001. Davis proved to be a threat to opposing ballcarriers in a variety of ways, posting an ASU season-high and Pac-10 freshman best three forced fumbles, the most by a Sun Devil freshman since Suggs' four in 2000 and the fourth-most among freshmen in school history.

Entering 2007, the Sun Devils will showcase one of the most experienced and honored offensive lines in the Pac-10 Conference, as ASU boasts the only unit of linemen in the conference which returns all five starters from the conclusion of the 2006 season. Also, ASU returns three offensive linemen that received All-Pac-10 honors in 2006, trailing only Oregon State for most in the conference and five Sun Devil linemen, including four projected starters, have already earned their undergraduate degree. The Sun Devil front five is led by second-team All-Pac-10 center, graduate Mike Pollak and honorable mention All-Pac-10 recipients junior guard Paul Fanaika and graduate tackle Brandon Rodd. Graduate guard Robert Gustavis and graduate tackle Julius Orieuwku also provide starting experience for 2007. Last season, Gustavis and Pollak started all 13 games at right guard and center, respectively, while Rodd started all 11 games in which he played at left tackle. After injuries suffered by 2006 seniors Andrew Carnahan and Stephen Berg, Faniaka started the season's final 10 games, while Orieukwu was a starter in the final seven contests. Sophomore tackle Richard Tuitu'u adds depth in 2007 after filling in as a starter for Rodd last season. Graduate Zach Krula will be welcomed back to the line in 2007, having earned a sixth-year of eligibility from the NCAA after missing the majority of the past two seasons due to injury. A starter in eight of 16 career games at guard, Krula was moved to right tackle in the spring, showing tremendous promise at the position. In 2006, the Sun Devil blockers helped enable ASU to gain its greatest rushing total since 1999 and showcase the team's first 1,000-yard runner since 2001, while protecting quarterback Rudy Carpenter and help allow him to become only the second Sun Devil quarterback in the past 10 seasons to start every game of the season.

After having six total punts blocked by opposing teams during the 2004-05 seasons, ASU enjoyed the greatest net punting improvement in the Pac-10 Conference in 2006, jumping from a ninth-ranked 30.3 net average in 2005 to second in the conference last season, averaging 37.2 net yards-per-punt. Leading the turnaround for the Sun Devils was first-year punter and former junior college transfer Jonathan Johnson, who averaged 41.5 gross yards on 54 punts, placing 12 within the opponent's 20-yard line, forcing nine fair catches with only three touchbacks and did not suffer a blocked punt all season. Aiding Johnson's efficiency was ASU's special teams coverage squad, which allowed only 148 total yards on 20 returned punts, 54-percent of which occurred on one return, an 80-yard dash by California's All-American punt returner DeSean Jackson. With the exception of that one return, the Sun Devils blanketed the conference's best return men, allowing only 68 total yards on the remaining 19 returned punts (3.6 yards-per-return). The Sun Devils limited second-team All-Pac-10 returner Sammie Stroughter of Oregon State to -3 total yards on three punt returns and Arizona's first-team All-Pac-10 returns specialist Syndric Steptoe was only able to return one of five punts kicked by Johnson for merely six yards. Also, in six of 13 games on the year, ASU allowed negative or zero total punt return yards. Runnin' With The Devils: After establishing itself in recent years as a national offensive powerhouse predominately predicated on its passing attack, ASU proved it could attack opposing defenses with a punishing ground game last season. Entering 2007, the Sun Devils boast the most potent running backs combination in the Pac-10 Conference, as senior Ryan Torain and junior Keegan Herring combined for 1,778 rushing yards in 2006, more than any pair of returning Pac-10 teammates. In total, ASU showcases three of eight active Pac-10 ballcarriers to have surpassed 1,000 career rushing yards, including Herring and Torain as well as senior wide receiver Rudy Burgess, who is a dangerous all-purpose threat whenever he is in possession of the football and was ASU's starting tailback during the 2004 and 2005 seasons.

After breaking ASU's freshman rushing record by totaling 870 yards in 2005, junior Keegan Herring rushed for 549 yards on 94 carries in 2006 as part of the most dynamic rushing combination in the Pac-10 Conference. One of the quickest athletes in the Pac-10, Herring led all Sun Devil runners last season averaging 5.8 yards-per-carry and is one of only four active ballcarriers in the conference to have rushed for over 500 yards in each of the past two seasons. In 25 career games, the Peoria (Ariz.) High School product has totaled 252 carries for 1,419 yards and 13 rushing touchdowns.

Senior running back Ryan Torain enjoyed one of the most incredible rushing seasons in school history in 2006, totaling 1,229 rushing yards on 223 carries. Torain became the first Sun Devil to surpass 1,000 rushing yards since Delvon Flowers in 2001 and produced the greatest single-season rushing output since Sun Devil great Freddie Williams' total of 1,427 for head coach Frank Kush's legendary 1975 squad. The 6-1, 213-pounder earned second-team All-Pac-10 honors while rushing for over 100 yards in four games and more than 80 yards in eight contests. A Maxwell Award watch list member, Torain enters 2007 as one of the top backs in college football and is poised to be a focal point of the Sun Devil offense.

What makes Torain's remarkable 2006 season additionally impressive is that it was his debut season with the Sun Devils and his first at the Division I level, having transferred to ASU from Butler Community College in El Dorado, Kan. Torain created an instant impact wearing maroon and gold, scoring five total touchdowns in his first four games and rushing for a team season-high 191 yards on 24 carries in his Pac-10 debut at No. 21 California. In all, the Shawnee Mission, Kan., native collaborated one of the most prolific debut seasons in Pac-10 history, ranking fourth all-time among rushing yards by first-year players.

Entering 2007, Ryan Torain ranks 13th nationally and second in the Pac-10 among returning rushers.

Senior safety Josh Barrett enjoyed a terrific season in his first year as full-time starter in 2006, earning honorable mention All-Pac-10 honors while leading the Sun Devils in total tackles (82) and interceptions (three) as a starter in all 13 contests. The Reno, Nev., native also ranked second on the squad in pass deflections (six) and third in tackles-for-loss (7.5) and is the third-leading returning tackler among Pac-10 defensive backs. For his career, he has totaled 136 tackles (94 solo), 11.0 tackles-for-loss, 10 pass deflections, five interceptions and two sacks. An incredible athlete and a member of the Bednarik Award, Lott Trophy and Nagurski Trophy Watch Lists, the 6-3, 231-pound Barrett has often times been clocked as ASU's fastest player on the entire roster and is expected to continue to be a major contributor and defensive leader as a senior in 2007.

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