October 15, 2007

Washington: Expert observations from press row

This "observations from press row" feature is essentially a review of the important themes and events of the game, with an emphasis on analysis of what went right and/or wrong, and what stood out to us. Here is a review of the Sun Devils in their 44-20 victory over Washington.

  • On the very first possession of the game, Dennis Erickson's decision to keep his offense out on the field and go for a fourth and three on the Washington 37-yard line was the epitome of what he has brought to the program. The confident decision allowed ASU to keep the early momentum while keeping the crowd in the game. The result was an eleven-yard completion to Mike Jones, and more importantly Erickson showed his trust in his players to get the job done in a crucial spot early in the game.

    ASU would go on to convert on all three of its attempts to go for it on fourth down, another sign of good coaching. For the season, ASU has converted on 7-of-10 such attempts. That 70% rate is second in the Pac-10, behind only Oregon State.

  • Thomas Weber's right leg is quietly a major factor in ASU's No. 12 ranking in the AP poll and No. 8 standing in the BCS. Not only did he make three field goals, but the redshirt freshman has made all 14 of his attempts, which is already an all-time record at the school. It's also the most any kicker in the country without a miss. That's right, an argument can be made that Weber is the No. 1 kicker in the country throw seven games this season. All five of the kickers that have made more field goals than Weber have missed on at least two attempts. Ohio's Nick Braunstein is second in the country among those without a miss. He's made 11-of-11.

    And since he's taken over the punting responsibilities, Weber has made a huge impact in the field position game. In two games, Weber has shown that he can pin the ball deep and get it to spin back like wedge from a 100 yards out. In his first game he stuck two inside the opponent's 10-yard line. On Saturday Weber again put two of his five punts inside the Huskies' 20-yard line. Bottom line, he's been as good and as important as any player on the team at any position.

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