Spring Football Gets Underway This Week

March 24, 2008

TEMPE, Ariz. -

2007 Pac-10 Coach of the Year Dennis Erickson and his 2007 Co-Pac-10 Champion Arizona State Sun Devils begin spring practice this week in Tempe. With starters like QB Rudy Carpenter and S Troy Nolan returning from last year's squad, the 2008 Sun Devils have high hopes for the season as they begin spring workouts.

Brought to Arizona State University with a reputation for creating immediate success, head football coach Dennis Erickson lived up to the high expectations in his first season in Tempe in 2007, earning Pacific-10 Conference Coach of the Year honors after leading the Sun Devils to a 10-3 record, a split of the Pac-10 Conference Championship and the team's fourth consecutive postseason berth.

Year two of Coach Erickson's tenure at ASU expects to provide similar fireworks, as the Sun Devils return dangerous offensive firepower and a potent defensive attack, aided by a 2008 national letter of intent signing class which ranked in the nation's top-20.


The Sun Devil offense will again be guided by fiery leader Rudy Carpenter, who returns for his senior season having started more consecutive games under center than any active passer in the nation, and ranks among the very top in all major career passing categories in the histories of both ASU and the Pac-10 Conference.


Joining Carpenter in the backfield is fellow senior Keegan Herring, who is the top returning running back in the Pac-10 Conference from last year and enters his final year at ASU ranked 10th among the school's all-time rushers, while the dynamic wide receiver tandem of senior Michael Jones and junior Chris McGaha combined for 107 receptions and nearly 1,600 yards in 2007, which earned both players All-Pac-10 recognition.


The Sun Devils boast one of the most disruptive pairs of defensive ends in the Pac-10, as senior Luis Vasquez and junior Dexter Davis both earned All-Conference honors last season, combining for 15.0 sacks and 25.0 tackles-for-loss.


Second-Team All-Pac-10 safety Troy Nolan ranked among the nation's leaders in interceptions last year and enters his senior season as one of the top defensive backs in the country while youngster Omar Bolden quickly solidified himself as a top-notch cornerback, earning Freshman All-America honors during his first season on campus.


ASU boasts the luxury of having the nation's best placekicker, Thomas Weber who, as only a redshirt freshman last season, connected on 24-of-25 field goals and earned the Lou Groza Award,  presented to college football's top kicker, as well as First-Team All-America and All-Pac-10 honors. Weber also took over punting duties midway through last season and may maintain those responsibilities as a sophomore.


Junior Kyle Williams doubles as a stand-out returns specialist and wide receiver target, notching First-Team All-Pac-10 recognition at punt returner while also ranking second on the team with six touchdown catches in 2007.


The 2008 season kicks off Aug. 30 and the Sun Devils host four home games to begin the season, including a rare second week Pac-10 Conference match-up with Stanford, shortly followed by an eagerly anticipated meeting with defending Nokia Sugar Bowl Champion Georgia on Sept. 20, before completing the remainder of the Pac-10 slate which features home meetings with Oregon, Washington State and UCLA and road contests at California, USC, Oregon State, Washington and Arizona.

March 25 -- 4-6 p.m. At Kajikawa Practice Facility

March 26 -- 4-6 p.m. At Kajikawa Practice Facility

March 27 -- 4-6 p.m. At Kajikawa Practice Facility

March 29 -- 10 a.m.-12:15 p.m. At Kajikawa Practice Facility


April 1 -- 4-6 p.m. At Kajikawa Practice Facility

April 2 -- 4-6 p.m. At Kajikawa Practice Facility

April 3 -- 4-6 p.m. At Kajikawa Practice Facility

April 5 -- 3:30-5:30 p.m. At Sun Devil Stadium


April 8 -- 4-6 p.m. At Kajikawa Practice Facility

April 9 -- 4-6 p.m. At Kajikawa Practice Facility

April 10 -- 4-6 p.m. At Kajikawa Practice Facility

April 12 -- 9:45-11:45 a.m. At Sun Devil Stadium


April 15 -- 4-6 p.m. At Kajikawa Practice Facility

April 17 -- 4-6 p.m. At Kajikawa Practice Facility

April 19 -- 1 p.m. Spring Game at Sun Devil Stadium



Aug. 30          Northern Arizona (7 P.M.)

Sept. 6           Stanford (7 P.M.)

Sept. 13         UNLV (7 P.M.)

Sept. 20         Georgia

Sept. 27         Open

Oct. 4             at California

Oct. 11           at USC

Oct. 18           Open

Oct. 25           Oregon

Nov. 1            at OregonState

Nov. 8            at Washington

Nov. 15          WashingtonState

Nov. 22          Open

Nov. 28          UCLA (7:30 P.M.) ESPN2

Dec. 6            at Arizona (6 P.M.) ESPN or ESPN2

*All times local to site.  Dates and times subject to change.


Under new head coach Dennis Erickson, the ArizonaStateUniversity football team finished 10-3 overall and 7-2 in the Pacific-10 Conference, sharing the conference title with USC.


ASU began its season 8-0, its best start in more than 10 years.  The Sun Devils showed a penchant for comebacks in their unbeaten start.  They trailed Colorado, OregonState and California by double digits after the first quarter, yet came back to win all three games.  They also trailed at halftime in five of their seven Pac-10 wins.

The Sun Devils climbed as high as No. 4 in the Bowl Championship Series standings, and they got their first win over a ranked opponent since 2004 when they defeated No. 21 California 31-20 on Oct. 27.


They lost twice in November, to No. 5 Oregon 35-23 and to No. 11 USC 44-24, but they finished the regular season with a 20-17 victory over Arizona, their third straight win over the rival Wildcats.


ASU finished No. 11 in the BCS rankings, making them the second-highest ranked team to not get a bid to one of the five BCS games.  Instead, they went to the Pacific Life Holiday Bowl, where they fell to Texas 52-34.

Junior quarterback Rudy Carpenter started all 13 games, throwing for 3,202 yards and 25 touchdowns.  Junior running back Keegan Herring led the team with 815 rushing yards, as he stepped in as the starter when senior Ryan Torain suffered a season-ending foot injury in October.


Sophomore wide receiver Chris McGaha had a team-high 61 catches and 830 yards, while freshman kicker Thomas Weber made 24 of his 25 field goal attempts and won the Lou Groza Award given to the nation's best kicker.

On defense, senior linebacker Robert James led the team with 106 tackles, sophomore defensive end Dexter Davis had 10.5 sacks and junior safety Troy Nolan had six interceptions.




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