Todd Husak's Keys to the Arizona State Game
Sept. 5, 2008
Each week during the season, KTRB 860 AM radio analyst and former Cardinal quarterback Todd Husak will offer insightful analysis and breakdown Stanford keys to victory against its opponent. This week, Todd takes a look at Saturday night's Stanford-Arizona State game.
Make Arizona State One DimensionalIf Stanford is able to take away the run game for the Sun Devils, as they did against Oregon State, Arizona State will be forced to throw the ball exclusively and that is when the defense can create turnovers. If Arizona State is able to maintain balance, they are a very tough offense to slow down.
Pressure the QuarterbackWhen Stanford was able to make Lyle Moevao throw before he was ready or move in the pocket, he was erratic and forced throws which led to interceptions. When Moevao had time, he was able to pick apart the secondary. The front four needs to collapse the pocket and occasional linebacker/secondary blitzes can make Rudy Carpenter throw into coverage, and he has shown a gunslinger attitude which can work against him at times.
Be a More Balanced OffenseToby Gerhart and Anthony Kimble received good blocking from the offensive and the wide receivers, but the passing game has to be better in order to keep the running game effective. The wide receivers were unable to separate from the Oregon State cornerbacks and Stanford didn't go to the tight ends or running backs enough. Stanford needs to get creative in order to get yards in the air and Richard Sherman has to live up to his big play reputation.
Continue Turnover-Free PlayTavita didn't throw for 100 yards in the opener, but Stanford had a chance because he didn't throw any interceptions and they kept the ball off the ground. Arizona State has such a high powered offense that Stanford cannot afford to give them a short field or 6 points. The Cardinal needs to find a way to take their shots in the passing game while maintaining the conservative approach.
Get a Big Play From Special TeamsArizona State has a ton of inexperience on the field, and special teams coach D.J. Durkin needs to find a way to exploit that youth. The special teams were outstanding last week, but a big return or blocked punt is going to be needed if Stanford is going to keep up with the Sun Devils.