Friday, August 31, 2007

Should we play Miami in '08? You obviously think so.

After taking a poll on whether we should play at Miami to open up the 2008 season, the response was overwhelmingly positive. 89 out of 97 voters thought we should take NAU off the schedule and play a competitive out of conference schedule. The full story can be read here.

Meet Your Captains

Jeff Metcalfe of the Arizona Republic profiles ASU's four captains, Mike Pollak, Josh Barrett, Ryan Torain and Michael Marquardt. Kind of interesting that Rudy Burgess isn't a captain, even though he has been battling nagging injuries during the offseason.

Pac-10 Baseball News: George Horton leaves Cal State Fullerton to coach Oregon

According to Janis Carr of the Orange County Register, Oregon's baseball program will be coached by Cal State Fullerton's George Horton. Over Horton's 11 years with the Titans, his teams made 6 appearances in Omaha, taking home the title in 2004. UC-Irvine's Dave Serrano turned the job down last week, and were also interested in Oregon State's Pat Casey. The Oregon baseball program begins play in 2009. I'm guessing that $100 million gift donation to the program from Nike's Phil Knight had some influence on the decision.

Opponent's Notebook 8/31

The San Jose State Spartans have been digging into the vault to figure out what Dennis Erickson will throw at them.

Quarterback Cody Hawkins makes his debut for Colorado at Invesco Field in Denver on Saturday against Colorado State.

Oregon State seriously injured four Utah players in their 24-7 win last night, breaking the leg of running back Matt Asiata.

Lacking quality depth, Washington State will start true freshman Chima Nwachukwu at cornerback this weekend against Wisconsin at Camp Randall. No pressure, kid.

Speaking of debuts, Washington's Jake Locker makes his tonight.

Cal prepares for Tennessee, who may or may not have star quarterback Erik Ainge in the lineup on Saturday.

Over at Bruins Nation, they can't wait for the season to start, but Karl Dorrell just wants his team to finish.

USC will play 6 true freshmen Saturday against Idaho.

One More Day






Day Until Kickoff

Koetter strikes again

We all know the story of Sam Keller getting the starting job last season, and then Koetter going back on his word and giving the starting job to Rudy Carpenter. Well, it's happened again, and this time the victim is Jaguars quarterback Byron Leftwich. David Garrard was the star druing the preseason, but Leftwich was very confident early in camp that he would be leading the offense this season, saying to the Jacksonville Times-Union:

"It's almost like my offense," Leftwich said. "I feel as though it was meant for me and coach [Dirk] Koetter to work together. These are the types of things that I've always done before I got here. These are the types of things that made me that first-round pick, made me the seventh pick of the draft. Every day I come out here, man, I know he [Koetter] has all the belief in the world in me. I can't let that man down."

Guess he doesn't have much belief in you, Byron. Leftwich will reportedly be either traded or released by the Jaguars as it seemed the fans we're fed up with Byron. The offense struggled during the preseason for the Jaguars, and with Leftwich's big cap number and lackluster stats, he was an easy target to be the scapegoat. Jack Del Rio officially made the decision and has every right to name whoever he wants at quarterback, but it is kind of ironic that Dirk Koetter is a key decision maker at offensive coordinator.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Great Injury News for the Devils

Jeff Metcalfe of the Arizona Republic is reporting in his blog today that DE Luis Vasquez and WR's Rudy Burgess and Brandon Smith are all healthy enough to participate in this Saturday's game with San Jose State. This is a big boost to ASU, especially on the defensive line, which has been decimated by injuries so far during th preseason.

All three of these players have missed significant amounts of time during training camp, and it was reported for quite a while that Vasquez' injury might keep him out until the San Diego State game. Luckily, his recovery process went by quickly and he will make his debut for the Devils this weekend. Burgess has been plagued by injuries over the past year and Smith is being counted on this season as a speedy change of pace for Dennis Erickson's bunch.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Pitchfork Nation at your Tailgate Party

Do you want bragging rights as the best tailgate at ASU? Pitchfork Nation will be out at the tailgates shooting video and interviewing fans on Saturday before the Sun Devils crush Dick Tomey and the Spartans, so if you want your tailgate to be featured on the site, send us an email at pitchforknation@gmail.com and we'll make sure we witness your pre-game action first hand. Also, you can always shoot your own video and send it to us, and more than likely we'll put it up on the site. Hopefully we'll find a tailgate that surpasses the USC game tailgate from a few years ago featured on Jimmy Kimmel Live:

Ainsworth and Carnahan are both training camp casualties

As expected, Jesse Ainsworth was cut by the Browns yesterday without getting a real shot to prove himself. I really wanted Jesse Ainsworth to make an NFL team. I thought he was an impressive kicker during his college career. Some of his highlights included that 48 yard field goal to go into the half against #14 Iowa in the 2004 44-7 beatdown, and of course the 20 yard chip shot to seal the deal against Arizona in '05.



I don't know what separates Ainsworth and another rookie kicker, Justin Medlock, who has been consistently inconsistent this preseason with the Chiefs as seen on HBO's Hard Knocks but is still easily going to make the team. I think Ainsworth deserves to be brought into another training camp to compete. Maybe Dallas can pick him up to compete with U of A's Nick Folk.

In related news, Andrew Carnahan was cut by the Jacksonville Jaguars. Andrew didn't see much of the field during the preseason nursing a knee injury, presumably the same injury he suffered at Memorial Stadium in Berkley last year.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Sun Devils vs. Hurricanes in '08?


The Miami Hurricanes need an opponent to line up against to open up their 2008 campaign. Why not have our Arizona State Sun Devils travel to Miami as the Hurricanes play their first home game at Pro Player Stadium? Right now, we are currently set to play Northern Arizona on August 30, 2008. Why not just give Northern Arizona whatever money they were going to get in television rights and go to Miami and get a huge payday from the Hurricanes? How big of a national story would it be if Dennis Erickson came back to Miami to face the team with which he won national championships in 1989 and 1991? Besides, the Hurricanes have always been gracious hosts:



If we went to Miami in week 1 of the 2008 season, our schedule would look like this:

Aug. 30 - @ Miami
Sept. 6 - Stanford

Sept. 13 - UNLV
Sept. 20 - Georgia
Oct. 4 - at California
Oct. 11 - at USC
Oct. 18 - Oregon
Nov. 1 - at Oregon State
Nov. 8 - at Washington
Nov. 15 - Washington State
Nov. 22 - UCLA
Nov. 29 - at Arizona

That would easily be the #1 toughest schedule in the nation, and we can make it a home and home series in 2009 by kicking Idaho State off the schedule. There is no reason to play these cupcake games early on in the season. I'm tired of seeing two home games early on in the season every year where we easily win by 30 points, and then lose once we play stiff competition, like against LSU and USC in 2005 after we had walked all over Temple and Northwestern in our first two games. This year, we have 3 cakewalks, with a depleted SJSU, a rebuilding Colorado and a team trying to find its identity in San Diego State. In 2008, we're most likely going to be a top program with Rudy Carpenter back for his senior season, a very experienced Keegan Herring and Shaun Dewitty in the backfield, and an established receiving corps of Michael Jones, Kyle Williams, Chris McGaha and Kerry Taylor, with T.J. Simpson beginning to establish himself. If Rudy stays for his senior season, we should be unstoppable on offense.

The cynic says, "What happens if we get pummeled in Miami?" I say, IT DOESN'T MATTER! The benefits outweigh the costs big time. Win or lose, going into a hostile environment like Miami is going to increase our chances of succeeding when we play Georgia at home and for the road games at Cal and USC. Let's follow up this season's 9 or 10 win campaign with an exciting opening game road trip to Miami!

Monday, August 27, 2007

Press Conference Confidential: Week 1

Each week, I'll be attending the weekly Dennis Erickson press conference and bringing you the most important notes, quotes and observations. Erickson meets the press every Monday at noon, so expect these blogs around this time every Monday night.

Dennis Erickson
Erickson appeared calm and confident at his first weekly press conference. He had a ton of kind words to say about his coaching counterpart from San Jose State, Dick Tomey. One of his more humorous comments of the day came when a reporter asked him about his relationship and previous match-ups with the former Hawai'i and Arizona head coach:

"I'll never forget the first time we played him, we played them over in Hawaii when I was at Wyoming. We came over there and they had a heck of a team, and we jumped on them early and we were ahead of them. He called timeout and brought the whole team to the sidelines. I'll never forget that. I said `uh-oh, watch out.' They started doing those dances. That stood out, and then we had good battles when I was at Oregon State. We've had a lot of fun. I've had fun four times and he had fun five times, I guess is what the match-up is."

One of the things that I appreciate about Erickson is his appreciation and excitement for the game, even after winning two national championships. He admitted that he still gets nervous before every game and that if he didn't, he wouldn't be in the business anymore. That to me is the sign of a coach who has his head on straight and who's ready for a season where he needs to build the trust of administration, players and especially the fans.

During today's press conference, Erickson confirmed that Kyle Williams will be returning most punts and that Justin Tryon, the team's leading returning kick returner, will carry the load on that detail to start the season. He referred to Williams and Tryon as "dangerous," something that we saw a bit of near the end of last season and that Sun Devil fans should be excited about.

Erickson did make one comment about being uncertain and nervous about every position, but fans should not take that out of context. I believe the uncertainty comes simply from never having seen his team play in full-speed game situations. In past years, at least Dirk Koetter had some semblance of an idea of what to expect on opening night. Erickson has only observed game tape and practice. By around 11 PM on Saturday night, the uncertainty will be gone.

Erickson's quote of the week: "I just stay the heck away from him. It's like screwing with a guy's golf swing. You don't even want to deal with that one, just stay away. It's worked before, and hopefully it's going to work now." -On Thomas Weber, ASU's freshman kicker

With only 5 days until kickoff, here's the latest Sun Devil Football Links

Rudy Burgess won't be at full health for the San Jose State game, and I wouldn't blame DE if he is a scratch with that calf injury. In other leg news, Thomas Weber was named the starting kicker after a less than impressive preseason effort. - Dan Zeiger, East Valley Tribune.

Justin Tryon is talking a big game. Let's hope he can back it up this season. - Jeff Metcalfe, Arizona Republic

Ironing out the Glitches - Sam Good, The State Press









Days Until Kickoff

Opponents Notebook, 8/27

San Jose State may have a capable quarterback, but their wide receivers have been less than spectacular during camp.

The Buffaloes are all about being out with the old and in with the new.

San Diego State's rebuilding process can't begin until they have something that resembles an offensive line. Meanwhile, every quarterback not named Kevin O'Connell is fighting for the backup spot.

He's baaaaaack.

You might not like what Stanford head coach Jim Harbaugh has to say, but he's just keeping it real. Behind this fearless leader, you can bet on Stanford to put a scare into a few teams this season.

My fearless prediction; Washington State will go 0-12 this season.

Ty Willingham has said that practices this week will include artificial crowd noise while preparing for Friday night's game at Syracuse.

Bad news first: Cal's offense has improved since last year, and that's saying something with the departure of star halfback Marshawn Lynch. The good news: Keno Walter-White will not be covering anyone (so I guess nothing has changed).

Oregon might need someone besides Jonathon Stewart to step up at running back if he has another injury plagued season.

If you don't know the name Khalil Bell, you will by mid-season. With the Bruins depleted at fullback, Bell will get a lot of snaps to take the load off of starter Chris Markey.

Southern Cal has already set its sights on the National Championship in New Orleans. They really need to focus on Pac-10 play first, even though all of the mainstream media has already awarded them the National Championship.

And in international news, U of A is notably inexperienced on special teams. We're not so different after all.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

At least I'm not the only Sun Devil who loses big in Vegas

The women's volleyball team looked to build off of the momentum from their NCAA tournament appearance at the Las Vegas Tournament, only to end up leaving Sin City with 3 losses, winning 2 sets the entire weekend. They say what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas, and let's hope the poor play stays there too. ASU will face tougher competition once Pac-10 play starts, with 5 conference opponents being listed in the Division I Top 25 Coaches Poll. The women host four teams this coming weekend in Tempe, and if you want to get to the football game early to beat the traffic, head over to the arena and support the women's volleyball team as they play Iowa State at 1 pm on Saturday.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Opponents Notebook, 8/25

San Jose State linebacker Matt Castelo was given the cold shoulder as a recruit, but proved himself to be a viable college linebacker by leading the nation with 165 tackles last season.

I'm starting to think Oregon State is going to be a force to be reckoned with when they visit the House of Heat on September 29th, even if they are still without Sammie Stroughter.

Stanford prepares for UCLA by filling up their last O-Line spot a week before the opener.


Jahvid Best is all the rage up in Berkeley.

Torain, Herring and Dewitty should have an easy time against Oregon when the Sun Devils visit Autzen Stadium

UCLA's defense wants to put some points on the board this season.

USC is having issues at tailback despite having 9 of them on their roster. In related news, former Trojan running back and SI coverboy Emmanuel Moody is debating a transfer to Florida.

Mike Stoops believes that his team is as physically capable as any other team in the country, but the mental side just isn't there yet. By the way Willie, I hope all those concussions don't make you forget to file your TPS reports.

2007 ASU Preview: Secondary and Special Teams

Now that ASU has named a starting kicker…we can go on with the final preview!

Secondary
If being the top ranked free safety in EA Sports NCAA Football 2008 is wrong, then Josh Barrett doesn’t want to be right. He’s the anchor or a talented and experienced group of defensive backs for Arizona State in 2007.

A group of veteran corners and safeties will be expected to keep big plays to a minimum, a tall order when going up against the likes of Patrick Turner, DeSean Jackson and several other extremely talented wide receivers in the Pac-10.

The biggest contributors in this group are all either graduate students or seniors, giving them three to four years each working through the ASU system and getting ready for their chance to step into the spotlight as starters. However, the marquee player of this group might end up being the kid who held the Pac-10 hostage on signing day as we awaited his commitment.

Cornerbacks
Returning to anchor the corner spots are seniors Justin Tryon and Chris Baloney and graduate Littrele Jones.

Tryon transferred to ASU last season and made an immediate impact, finishing second on the team in tackles and leading the squad in pass deflections. His biggest asset is consistency; Tryon brings the same high energy and athleticism on every play and is probably the Sun Devils’ best man-on-man corner. He’ll draw the most talented receiver from ASU’s opponent every week because of how stingy he is on and off the ball. In a pinch, look for Tryon to be used on special teams as well.

Baloney is a hard luck story from 2006, having a standout first half of the season but missing the 2nd half due to injury. He made an instant impact right out of the chute, returning an interception against Northern Arizona in the season opener for what ended up being the game’s decisive score. Baloney’s 6’1” frame makes him the tallest and rangiest returning cornerback. He possesses good field vision but lacks the speed and hands it takes to be a dominant corner.

Jones, a graduate student from Southern California, has spent most of his ASU career on special teams, but he will battle for more time as a reserve corner this year. His disruptiveness on the defensive side of the ball and on special teams could become a vital asset in long yardage situations.

Before moving on to the newcomers, we at Pitchfork Nation would be remiss if we did not mention senior Chad Green, who was critically wounded in a car accident in Tempe at the end of the Spring Semester. Chad is recovering near his home in Van Nuys, CA. If you’d like to send a note or words of encouragement to Chad, the ASU Athletic Department requests you send it to:

Chad Green c/o the Sun Devil Football Office
Arizona State University – The Carson Center
P.O. Box 872505
Tempe, AZ 85287-2505

The biggest coup for Arizona State during recruiting occurred when prep standout Omar Bolden, on television in California, tossed away hats from Washington, Oregon State and even USC in favor of donning a maroon Sun Devils cap. Not only did he lead his league in rushing yards (2,003), he also recorded 80 tackles, two blocked punts and an interception. A dynamic, skilled and extremely fast athlete, Bolden has impressed everyone in camp so far and figures to be a major piece of the Sun Devils secondary this season.

Phoenix College transfer Jarrell Holman also could see playing time as a bruising corner with good hands. With his greatest asset being his tackling ability, Holman looks to more than capably fill the shoes of departed corner Keno Walter-White.

Safeties
There’s really not much more to be said about Josh Barrett at the free safety position. You’ve read the reviews, you’ve seen him play, you’ve heard about his honors and, yes, you might be a member of his Facebook fan club.

The nation is about to take notice of this skilled, talented and explosive safety. Barrett led ASU with 82 tackles in 2006 along with three picks. Even more impressive might be his 7.5 tackles for loss last season coming from the deep secondary. You wont see many opposing quarterbacks throw toward Josh Barrett if they can help it this season, because he is a quick tackler, a monster in zone coverage and catches whatever comes near him.

With junior college transfer Troy Nolan missing time due to injury, junior Jeremy Payton will get the majority of the reps with the 1st team at strong safety. Payton bounced in and out of the lineup in 2006, but his versatility earned him more playing time (Payton has played every defensive back position and even spent time at wide receiver early in his career). Nolan burst onto the scene during the Spring and grabbed the top spot on the depth chart as a result of his tackling ability and quickness. When he returns from injury, look for Payton slip back to the corner.

The depth at safety is slim though, as Rodney Cox, Angelo Fobbs-Valentino and Brett Nenaber will see most of their action on special teams.

Special Teams
Four year starting kicker Jesse Ainsworth is gone, as is dynamic return man Terry Richardson. However, there’s still plenty of talent in the kicking and return game.

Kicker
Surprisingly, the most intriguing position battle in 2007 has been for…kicker! Thomas Weber entered the spring as the replacement for Ainsworth, but he was given a run for his money by walk-on Zach Richards throughout Camp Tontozona. Possibly the most fun thing to watch this preseason has been when coach Dennis Erickson has had the entire team gather around Weber and Richards as they try to hit narrowly placed, long and high pressure kicks. Yesterday, Weber was named the starter. Weber possesses a strong leg but needs to work on his accuracy; ironically, those were the same problems that ailed Ainsworth early in his career, but he ended up being one of ASU’s most reliable kickers in history.

Punter
Jonathan Johnson struggled mightily in 2005, having several of his punts blocked, including the decisive miscue against LSU when his rugby-style 4th quarter punt was blocked and returned for a score. Johnson is regarded as one of the top returning punters in the Pac-10 who has improved his kick length and placement.

Kickoff and Punt Returns
Justin Tryon figures to return a majority of kickoffs for ASU; he’s the team’s returning leader in this department. However, the rest of this unit is a complete toss-up. The favorites are Rudy Burgess and Kyle Williams, but don’t be surprised to see Chris McGaha, Brandon Smith and even Rodney Glass receiving kicks.

Other Positions
Jason Perkins will take care of long snapping, replacing Jason Burke. Jonathan Johnson will serve as the holder, with quarterback Rudy Carpenter also available to hold that duty as well.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Nine Days







Days until kickoff

9 wins = $150,000, 10 wins = $350,000


A tidbit out of an opinion article by Greg Hansen of the Arizona Daily Star about the contract incentives for Dennis Erickson:

Arizona State will pay Dennis Erickson a $150,000 bonus if the Sun Devils finish the regular season 9-3. If the Sun Devils win a 10th game, the bonus soars to $350,000.
It is not an entirely ridiculous proposition. The Sun Devils play eight home games and oppose the league's two weakest clubs, Stanford and Washington State, on the road.

By comparison, Arizona's Mike Stoops is contracted to receive $50,000 if the Wildcats win nine regular-season games. If the Wildcats win a 10th game, Stoops is to get $60,000. (And the sun will rise in the west.)

If Erickson doesn't care about the incentive of bragging rights when beating U of A at Sun Devil Stadium on December 1st, he is going to have a monetary incentive as well. The game will probably be either the ninth or hopefully the tenth win for the Sun Devils. In other news, Mike Stoops isn't expecting a Christmas bonus this year.

Gameday Essentials in Tempe

If you're in need of a bar to go to before the game, I suggest referring to this map. If there's any place I should add, leave me a comment or send an email to pitchforknation@gmail.com.


View Larger Map

Sun Devil Football Notebook

Dan Zeiger, East Valley Tribune - Redshirt D-Day

Ryan Finley, Arizona Daily Star - UA Loses Verbal Commit to ASU

Jeff Metcalfe, Arizona Republic - Torain Showcases Skills

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

The Countdown Continues






Days Until Kickoff






By the way, the last of the position previews will be posted tonight.
(Photo from Bob Kline of Cactus Ranch)

Opponents Notebook, 8/22

Even if Josh Barrett knocks San Jose State quarterback Adam Tafralis out of the game early, the Spartans have reserves who can step in at a moment's notice.

Colorado is having some issues with its defensive line.

Lynell Hamilton, a former freshman All-American running back for San Diego State, is having trouble staying on the field due to chronic knee problems. Don't expect Mel Kiper to be talking about this guy come April.

Sammie Stroughter, Oregon State's All-American Wide Receiver and Punt Returner, is taking an indefinite leave of absence from the team, citing the deaths of prominent male role models in his life. Sammie is a senior, but has not used up his redshirt status yet.

Washington State's inexperienced offensive line is looking towards Vaughn Lesuma, a 25-year old native of Fiji, to provide leadership.

The Huskies seem excited about a middle linebacker they've dubbed a "diamond in the rough."

Some Cal bloggers break down the Arizona State football program. Try and find out what the point of the post is, because I still can't figure it out.

Oregon's professors are pretty pissed off about that whole $100 Million Nike donation to the athletic program.

UCLA has some major problems with their backfield
, with backup safety Christian Rameriz shifting to running back and linebacker Fred Holmes moving to fullback.

Pete Carroll puts USC up in a hotel on the night before their scrimmage to mimic gameday situations.

U of A sophomore kick returner Devin Ross says he plans on "returning one kick for a touchdown every game."

Sun Devil Football Notebook

Sam Good, The State Press - Football Team Shows Improvement After Layoff

Jeff Metcalfe, Arizona Republic - Szakacsy Named ASU's 3rd-String QB

Taylor Price, SIonCampus.com - Camping With the Devils

Matt James, Fresno Bee - What a Long, Strange Trip It's Been- This article details former ASU clipboard holder Derek Shaw and his journey to becoming the starting quarterback for Fresno City College. At best, he's going to get his head together enough to put together a Colt Brennan style career of transferring from a junior college after getting in trouble at the D-I ranks, and then reemerging victorious. He does have a long road ahead of him, though. Speaking of former Sun Devil quarterbacks, Sam Keller officially received the starting job for Nebraska. I wonder what the record for most career TD's thrown against USC is, because Sam has to be close to setting the record.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Monday, August 20, 2007

Opponents Notebook, 8/20

Cal has an entire section of their site devoted to the DeSean Jackson Heisman campaign, including highlight videos, a photo gallery, and DeSean's advice to freshmen. The video you see here is not on the site, but happens to be my favorite.

USC is taking preemptive steps in the fight against ignorance of the parents of players by conducting seminars to inform them how to prevent being a part of an NCAA violation.

UCLA's offense underperformed in their scrimmage, with Karl Dorrell and quarterback Ben Olson saying the purpose was to keep opposing scouts in the dark. I wish ASU could have used that excuse for its own poor offensive effort in Friday's scrimmage.

Not much in football news for Arizona, but in basketball news, Richard Jefferson has donated $3.5 Million to U of A to build a practice facility baring his name.

Oregon's defensive line has taken a hit due to the transfer of senior end Victor Filipe.

Chris Johnson is a long way from home, but now has his time to shine at Oregon State.

One writer up in Pullman thinks his quarterback isn't being treated fairly by the Wazzou fans.

Colorado has released their depth chart, with coach's son Cody Hawkins leading the team at quarterback. Freshman standout receiver Josh Smith is out indefinetly with a bruised kidney.

More Woes for the D-Line

There's a new twist to the struggles the ASU defensive line is having staying healthy, and it involves a player switching to the other side of the ball.

Florida transfer defensive lineman Tranell Morant, as expected by Pitchfork Nation, will be out at least seven weeks after having cartilage removed from his knee. Morant was plagued with injuries in 2006 and, obviously, his knee problems have stretched into this preseason. Morant, at the earliest, might be expected back when ASU makes road trips to either Oregon or UCLA.

To help alleve some of the problems, TE Dane Guthrie has left that spot on the depth chart to join the D-Line. So far in training camp, the Devils have seen Morant, Luis Vasquez, Kellen Mills and Saia Falahola miss time due to injury. Guthrie will see most of his action on the line at defensive end.

With Guthrie leaving his TE position, look for Tyrice Thompson or Andrew Pettes to get more reps with the offense alongside incumbent starter Brent Miller.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Last Semester of College Starts Tomorrow

My last semester at ASU starts tomorrow. I just hope it doesn't storm like it did last year on the first day of school. Wait until about 1:48 of this video, and you can see lightning hit a light tower at Sun Devil Stadium.

Gameday Essentials in Tempe

Need to know where to go on Game Day in Tempe. Well then check out this map. This map will be updated with bar specials regularly, so be sure to book mark it.

Friday, August 17, 2007

2007 ASU Preview: Linebackers

Coming out of training camp, it looks like the most dominant force on defense for Arizona State in 2007 will be their linebackers.

2006 was a year of transition for ASU at this position with the departure of dominant LB Dale Robinson and the infusion of several talented but unproven players. Throughout the season though, the corps began to come together, but there was no point during last season in which three Sun Devils stepped forward and grabbed the starting jobs with any certainty.

A group of promising returning players, a large amount of youth and an intimidating junior college transfer all add up to what could end up being one of the most feared linebacker units in the Pacific-10.

Strong Side LB
Sophomore Travis Goethel emerged during Camp Tontozona as the clear starter at SAM. The California native was one of the top players landed in Dirk Koetter’s last recruiting class and showed an immediate impact. Goethel appeared in all 13 games in 2006, mostly on the weak side, recorded 29 tackles and a sack and earned a Freshman All-American honorable mention from the Sporting News. He found himself running most reps with the 1st-string during the spring and was moved from the weak side to the strong side during that time. Goethel is quite possibly the quickest of the linebackers and follows the ball carrier with exceptional field vision, especially after just one year in college football.

Middle LB
In a recruiting class in which Dennis Erickson landed a handful of outstanding junior college transfers, there might not have been more excitement about one of them than the hype surrounding Morris Wooten. Wooten, unlike the other JuCo transfers, was able to participate in Spring Football after starring for NJCAA powerhouse Glendale Community College. At GCC, he recorded 104 tackles and four sacks, earning the NJCAA Region-1 Defensive Player of the Year award and being honored as one of the five nominees for national Defensive POY. Wooten is big, strong and fast, reminding many of the aforementioned Robinson. He follows the ball well and is quick to drop into coverage, giving ASU the force they need in the middle of the field.

Weak Side LB
With Travis Goethel moving to the strong side, Dennis Erickson has found senior Robert James as the perfect complement to him on the other side of Wooten. James missed much of the final games of 2006 with the lingering effects of a concussion and most of Spring Practice due to illness, but is back at full strength for this season and has become Coach Erickson’s go-to guy on the weak side. Through Camp T though, James has emerged as the senior leader of the linebacker corps and has logged time at several positions through his time at Arizona State. He has good hands and field vision, and though his tackling skills are not as strong as those of the other two starters, he makes up for it with his other skill sets.

Backups
The other two sophomores other than Goethel who got significant playing time in 2006 as true freshmen are Gerald Munns and Mike Nixon. Munns looks to be the top backup to Morris Wooten at MLB after playing in all 13 games last year. Munns is the tallest of the linebackers on the roster at 6’4” but despite his large frame, he can move around the field well.

Nixon, who spent 2002-05 as a prospect in the Los Angeles Dodgers minor league system, got time as a 25-year-old freshman last year and four games on the strong side. Nixon seemed lost on the field and missed several tackles early on in the season, but as he was given more time to work out the kinks in game action, the more confident he looked. Part of that struggle can be attributed to his move from defensive back to linebacker, but now that he’s had an entire camp to play one position, more is expected out of him, especially because he can play either on the strong or weak side.

Some quick notes about other linebackers who are lower on the depth chart include…
-Ryan McFoy made the shift to linebacker after spending last season as a starting safety, but his progress on the strong side has been slowed due to a nagging ankle injury.
-Jamarr Robinson, who redshirted last season and suffered a severe knee injury in the Spring Game, is still a promising prospect for Arizona State in the future, but he will still miss a significant amount of 2007.
-Another junior college transfer, Derrall Anderson, has had a decent camp and has showed good range and athleticism. He will most likely redshirt this season.
-Possibly the player who made the most progress during the spring was the standout of last years scout team, sophomore Chad Lindsey. If he continues to progress after a redshirt season, he could challenge for playing time this season. His strongest competition to be Travis Goethel’s main backup is 2006 JuCo transfer Garrett Judah, who is a dominant tackler.
-Along with Nixon, look for redshirt freshman Jeff Bereuter to compete for a backup job on the weak side. Bereuter has been said to be one of the better all-around athletes in the corps.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Sun Devils in the NFL: Training Camp News and Notes

Jason Simmons is now starting at strong safety for the Texans due to a season ending foot injury to starter Glenn Earl.

Jamar Williams will probably take over for Lance Briggs next season at weak side linebacker.

Yet another story on Adam Archuleta trying to regain his 2005 form.

Lions Quarterback Jon Kitna sees a lot of promise in Shaun McDonald this season.

Derek Hagan wants to be more consistent this season for the Dolphins.

2007 ASU Preview: Defensive Line

One of the biggest criticisms about Arizona State in 2005 was the lack of consistent pressure the defensive line was putting on opposing quarterbacks. In 2006, however, the D-Line more than tripled its amount of sacks and showed great resilience. While the unit stayed mostly healthy throughout the season, however, the members of the corps were raw and inexperienced. This season, several key members of the line return and hope to create havoc in other teams’ backfields. This unit is led by assistant coach Grady Stretz, one of the only coaches to remain with the program after Dirk Koetter was fired.


Defensive End

The anchors at end for the Sun Devils include sophomore Dexter Davis, who led the teams in sacks last season as a true freshman, and junior college transfer Luis Vasquez. However, Vasquez’ availability as the season begins is in question as he suffered an injury at Camp Tontozona and may miss as many as the first two games of 2007.

Davis burst onto the scene last season, leading the team in both TFL and sacks as a true freshman. His 6 sacks ranked behind only Terrell Suggs’ 10 as the most in a first season at ASU. He was first among defensive linemen in tackles as well and earned accolades from the Pac-10 and The Sporting News. Due to injuries throughout this preseason, Davis will move, at least temporarily, from right to left end.

Much is expected from Vasquez, who earned back-to-back NJCAA 1st-team All-American honors at Arizona Western in 2005 and 2006 and the NJCAA Region 1 Defensive Player of the Year award last season. He led the nation over the last two seasons with 31 sacks, 16 of them coming in his highly touted last year at AWC. Head coach Dennis Erickson coaxed him to Tempe with the idea of him immediately coming in and starting opposite Dexter Davis and he has seemingly earned the job. However, he sprained his ankle earlier this week and may miss up to
two weeks of the regular season.

The likely favorite to replace Vasquez is athletic senior Kellen Mills, who was listed ahead of Vasquez on the depth chart after Spring Practice. Mills has shown phenomenal athleticism on the field and in the weight room and is injury resistant, as evidenced by him missing only one game in his career. However, Mills was also hobbled by an ankle injury during Camp T but returned by the end of the Devils time up north. Beyond Mills, ASU can expect their backups at DE to include freshman James Brooks, who going into Camp T was expected to redshirt but will likely get playing time with Vasquez out.

Other backups at end will include Wes Evans, who added 14 pounds of muscle this past off-season, and junior Eric Tanner, a junior college transfer who went to Skyline High School in Mesa. Transplanted from tackle is Florida transfer Tranell Morant, but he will miss significant time this season after arthroscopic knee surgery.

Defensive Tackle
Michael Marquardt, the senior who transferred from BYU in 2005, excelled last season, starting 12 games and earned an honorable mention from the Pac-10 in their postseason all-star teams. He recorded 3.5 sacks last year and is expected to be the Devils strongest run stopper this year. Marquardt has shown better footwork this off-season and looks to have significantly improved his upper body strength, letting him get more leverage on opposing blockers.

The other starting position, vacated by Jordan Hill, looks to belong to Chandler native David Smith. In reserve duty last year, Smith picked up 14 tackles and a sack. Smith spent the majority of his summer in the weight room, gaining several pounds of muscle and earning time on the first string alongside Marquardt throughout the Spring and Fall camps.

Marquardt’s main backup figured to be Saia Falahola, but a torn triceps will keep him out for the majority of 2007. Now, the backup job seemingly will go to junior Alex Asi (neĆ© Alex Fa’agai), a versatile lineman who can play both end and tackle. Two others returnees, Zach Niusulu and Tashaka Merriweather, will struggle to find meaningful playing time.

Erickson landed one of the top defensive tackle prospects in the country during recruiting when 6’0, 330-pound Jonathan "Tank" English committed to ASU. English benched 455 pounds during high school and looks to be an imposing force for the Sun Devils at tackle in the future. His greatest asset, however, is his ability to break through offensive linemen and grab running backs behind the line, evidenced by his foot speed and sheer strength. English, who was temporarily displaced during high school due to Hurricane Katrina, is featured in the recently released book Hurricane Season.

O-Line Preview

Backfield Preview

Quarterback/Receiving Corps Preview

And by the way...














Days
until kickoff

Opponents Notebook, 7/16


USC running back #29 Emmanuel Moody(left) is transferring.

Colorado head coach Dan Hawkins seems to be leaning towards naming his son, Cody, starting quarterback over JuCo transfer Nick Nelson

Luke Laolagi looks to make his presence felt at middle linebacker for San Diego State this season.

Even with Sammie Stroughter sidelined by nagging injuries, Oregon State isn't worried about their wide receiver situation.

Oregon will be practicing at Nike Headquarters on Saturday.

Good luck pronouncing the name of the new walk-on kicker for Washington State.

Washington fullbacks Luke Kravitz and Paul Homer excited to see the endzone more with the new spread offense incorporated by offensive coordinator Tim Lappano.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

I'm Back...and Just In Time

Thanks again for visiting Pitchfork Nation for all the latest news and analysis on ASU sports. We've got some exciting stuff rolling out as football season nears, so stay with us!

I'm back from my trip to the Bay Area and ready to resume my duties bringing you previews and other good stuff about ASU Football as September 1 approaches.

Look out for the D-Line Preview tonight. I had to rip up the old one and redo it as a result of everything that's happened injury-wise over the last few days.

16 Days







Days until kickoff

The Life and Times of a Tank


Mike Triplett of the Times-Picayune has a great interview with Sun Devil and current New Orleans Saint fullback Mike Karney. It is evident from this piece that Karney believes he was born to be a professional fullback in the NFL. He's pictured here single handedly dismantling the Cowboys and also taking me out of my fantasy football playoffs.
(Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

17 Days








Days until kickoff






(photo: sundevilgridiron.com)

1.5 Million Reasons why ASU is Looking for a New Shortstop

(Chris Graythen, Getty Images)

Cale Iorg, who had committed back on July 21st to play shortstop for ASU next season, signed a $1.5 million dollar deal with the Detroit Tigers today. Iorg was a sixth-round draft pick out of Alabama, who hasn't played baseball in two years due to being on a Mormon mission. Iorg initially said that he was transferring to Arizona State because, "Arizona State has a bigger population of people with my religious beliefs." Now, he might BE the Mormon population in Detroit. I guess the price was right.

Monday, August 13, 2007

The Countdown is On







Days until kickoff.





(Picture from SunDevilGridiron.com)

Opponents News and Notes, August 13th, 2007

During San Jose State's first scrimmage, ex-ASU tackle Bradis McGriff hurt his knee and a walk-on earned a ticket to Tempe for blocking a kick.

Dan Hawkins is trying to toughen up his team up in Boulder

San Diego State thinks their redshirt freshman defensive end B.J. Williams can put a scare into some quarterbacks this season.

In order to compete with the better funded University of Oregon, Oregon State's Sports Marketing Department has started a new campaign to sell tickets.

Just like Rudy Carpenter, Cal quarterback Nate Longshore enters the season without a quarterback controversy on his mind. Unlike Rudy Carpenter, he has dyed his hair nine shades of blue.

Meet Oregon middle linebacker John Bacon.


UCLA's offensive linemen are trying to get noticed by slimming down.

John David Booty and his #1 target Patrick Turner have been rooming together during camp.

U of A starting running back Chris Jennings is hungry to prove himself as a senior and former walk-on.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Some great photos from Camp T over on 4VRADVL.com

And here is the link...

Opponents Notebook

Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post reminds us not to overlook Oregon State (September 22nd, 7 PM, Sun Devil Stadium)

Washington State players looked sluggish during a scrimmage due to the heat with temperatures reaching all the way into the mid-80's. Coach Larry Doba didn't sound too concerned as he said, "It's not like we're playing tomorrow." Looks like someone is going to be challenging Stanford for last place in the Pac-10 this season.

UCLA news and notes courtesy of Bruins Nation, including a diary entry on the reinstatement of Wide Receivers Coach Eric Scott.

Stanford Head Coach Jim Harbaugh found his new defensive coordinator on the internet.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Submit your Camp T Photos to Pitchfork Nation


If any fans take photos at Camp Tontozona, please submit them to pitchforknation@gmail.com , and I will put them on one continuous post on my website called Camp T '07. Mainly, I am looking for pictures from Saturday's scrimmage, but any pictures from the camp will help. If you submit them, I will give you any photo credit you want. This is just a way to combine all fan photos on one board, and I will be featuring fan photos every game this season.

AZ Republic: Defensive Tackle Saia Falahola to undergo surgery

Falahola will undergo surgery today to repair his left triceps muscle. Falahola will miss an extended period of time, possibly the entire season. This picture was actually taken before the injury happened, and I'm guessing he'll be doing a lot of this over the next few weeks. Let's wish him a speedy and full recovery. By the way, who the hell is wearing socks with sandals in the background? (photo: David Kadlubowski, AZ Republic)
Who will step up on the D-line for the Sun Devils? Well, Justin Karp's defensive line preview is coming very soon, so you'll be able to find out then. In the mean time, you can always look over a preview of the offense.

Opponents Notebook

Apparently, Lute Olson was a big fan of the text messaging that is now outlawed in recruiting. I think he can get his own T-mobile Sidekick deal with T-Mobile like Dwayne Wade has with the Sidekick 3, with big keys and an extra large screen. He can totally corner that aging baby boomer market. They can call it the Sidekick 73 Silver Edition.

A reporter in Boise is all for the idea of his team playing Oregon in China during the 2009 season, and details what needs to get done before it happens. I give it a 2% chance of happening. Write that down, stat boy.

Chuck Long is in year two of the "rebuilding" process of the San Diego State Aztecs football program. Rebuild...rebuild to what? The last time San Diego State was somewhat relevant, Marshall Faulk was in their backfield.

Washington cornerback Jordan Murchison was arrested for failing to show up to a July 16th arraignment hearing on a felony assault charge, and was released on $10,000 bail. Note to self: Pay ridiculous $123 jaywalking ticket I received on Mill Avenue on Saturday. If anyone knows how I can get out of that, please, send an email.

Also in the police blotter, it looks like UCLA receivers coach Eric Scott will not be charged after being arrested following a burglary in Norwalk, California. Looks like no witnesses were willing to talk. Now that Scott's past criminal history has been made public, I don't find it likely that he will be back on the sidelines for the Bruins anytime soon.

Assistant head coach Steve Sarkisian got to take over the reins for a day at USC camp, while head coach Pete Carroll attended Bill Walsh's memorial service. Sarkisian is hoping to take over a college program soon, I just hope he doesn't end up in Tucson next year.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Updates on ASU Injuries

Earlier this week, we reported that S Troy Nolan was injured in practice and a sprained shoulder was suspected, an injury which could keep him out anywhere from a few days to a few weeks.

Jeff Metcalfe of the Republic is reporting today that the injury is a strain and that he's expected to miss two weeks, which should still let him be ready for the season opener on September 1 if his recovery schedule goes well. The good news is, Metcalfe reports that Nolan was not wearing his arm in a sling up at Camp Tontozona.

However, the prognosis for backup DT Saia Falahola isn't as good. Falahola tore a tendon in his elbow during practice at Camp T yesterday and is back in the Valley to have it evaluated. Head coach Dennis Erickson said the extent of the tear would determine how much time it would take him to recover, but if it's completely torn, Falahola is most likely out for the season.

Falahola came to ASU as an offensive line prospect, but the amount of depth at the position caused him to change positions and join the defense this season. The depth on the D-Line is pretty thin beyond the first string.

Other quick notes...Dan Zeiger of the East Valley Tribune reports the following:

-As if losing Falahola isn't enough to thin out the defensive line corps, fellow backup Alex Asi is nursing a knee injury and defensive end Kellen Mills is suffering from an ankle injury. Neither participated in practice yesterday.

-WR
Brandon Smith continues to be bothered by his ankle. If he continues to miss time, freshman recruits Kerry Taylor and TJ Simpson could see more practice reps with the 1st and 2nd stringers.

-Senior tight end
Tyrice Thompson has been wearing an orange, non-contact jersey at practice due to the lingering effects of a concussion. With the spotlight being heavily turned on the effects of concussions over the past few months, I wouldn't be surprised if the medical staff is taking it slow and easy with him in terms of getting back to contact and full speed action. It's a chance for Dane Guthrie, Andrew Pettes and even Lance Evbuomwan to get more full-speed reps.

I'm Out of Town, ya'll

First off, thanks to everyone who has visited us and read our stuff so frequently. Your support is making Pitchfork Nation take off, and please stay with us as we expand going into football season.

I'll be out of Arizona until next week, so posts from me (Justin) might be few and far between. Mark, though, will make sure to keep you up to date on everything going on with the Sun Devils.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Pac-10 News and Notes

Oregon is looking into the possibility of playing a game in China in 2009, against Boise State. Can someone tell Oregon that just because the children of China make new jerseys for the program every year doesn't mean they have any interest in attending a game.

U of A defensive end Louis Holmes has a court date in Scottsdale next week on charges of criminal damage and disorderly conduct after a fight at Pussycat Lounge in Scottsdale during the morning of July 1st. Let's hope he gets back on the field quickly and doesn't miss any significant playing time, just so the Wildcat fans can't use this incident as an excuse to why they couldn't beat us or make a bowl game.

There's a quarterback controversy happening at Oregon State, and coach Mike Riley's solution might be just to play them both.

Patrick Turner looks to be the new go to receiver at USC.

Washington quarterback Carl Bonnell is trying to finally get some time in as the Huskies quarterback.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Bonds Watch...Update

San Francisco Giants left fielder and former Sun Devil Barry Bonds is in the starting lineup tonight against the Washington Nationals. He's still one HR away from breaking the all-time home run record.

Stay with Pitchfork Nation as this former ASU star pursues the most prestigious record in sports.

Look at that. Right when we start covering the chase, he hits it. Don't you wish ESPN could be this efficient? Back to football.

Local Spotlight: Point Nine

I want to introduce a Local Spotlight feature to Pitchfork Nation. This is Point Nine, a local live act from right here in Tempe, shown in the video below playing with former ASU student Stefan Iwanchuck on drums. This show was performed at Big Fish Pub over on University Drive just east of McClintock.

Point Nine

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Point Nine's Official Myspace Page

If there are any local live acts that you know of that want more recognition, please, send us an email at pitchforknation@gmail.com, and we'll be sure to profile them.

8/7 News and Notes

Football
ASU starting strong safety Troy Nolan, the 6'2" junior who transfered from the College of the Canyons and redshirted last year, injured his shoulder in today's practice, according to Jeff Metcalfe of the Arizona Republic.

At this point, head coach Dennis Erickson has speculated that Nolan suffered a sprained shoulder and spent the remainder of practice on the sidelines with the shoulder wrapped in ice. The injury could keep Nolan out from anywhere to a couple of days to a few weeks.

If Nolan has to miss any significant amount of time, look for junior Jeremy Payton, the 1st-string SS out of Spring Practice, to get time at the position next to Josh Barrett.

Basketball
The brackets were set for the 2007 EA Sports Maui Invitational, the tournament in which Arizona State will compete in this season. The Sun Devils will open the tournament against Illinois of the Big Ten Conference in the fourth game on November 19. The game will be televised by ESPN2.

The other three first round match-ups on that day include Chaminade/Marquette, LSU/Oklahoma State and Princeton/Duke.

The Sun Devils will take on a perennial contender in Illinois, a program that went to the 2005 NCAA Title game but lost in the 2nd round of last year's tournament.

Arizona State holds a 7-5 all-time record in the Maui Invitational, including winning the championship in 1994. Their last appearance in the tournament was in 2002.

Eric Sogard Update

Eric Sogard is hitting .278 for the Padres Single-A affiliate Eugene Emeralds of the Northwest League. He hit homeruns on consecutive nights, including a grand slam on July 26th that earned him $200 since it went over a sponsor's billboard. When asked about his thoughts on Barry Bonds passing of Hank Aaron for most homeruns, he said he's been "cheering for him all the way." Thanks to Wayne Eastburn of The Register-Guard for the picture.

Related Article: Persichina and Retherford Shine Together at Next Level

A Feature on Dane Guthrie

A few weeks ago, I wrote in my QB/WR preview that should Brent Miller slip up just a bit, Florida transfer Dane Guthrie could step in and become the team's #1 tight end.

Now that head coach Dennis Erickson is using more two-tight end sets in practice (and presumably in game action this season), don't be surprised to see Guthrie getting some significant playing time throughout the 2007 season, especially if what they say about his blocking ability is true.

A fine article, written by Norm Frauenheim, in the Arizona Republic says that Guthrie is currently behind both Miller and senior Tyrice Thompson on the depth chart. However, from what I've observed over the past year, I don't think it will take much more improvement for Dane to be bumped up.

Read the article: ASU Tight End is No Stranger to Change (AZ Republic)

The Stevin "Hedake" Smith Pac-10 Football Conference Standings

Here's how notorious ASU game fixer Stevin "Hedake Smith" would presumably see the Pac-10 shaking out. Even though this site does not support online sports gambling in accordance with the Federal Wire Act , we bring you the odds that BoDog.com has put on their website for winning the Pac-10 this year in football.

USC 1/3
Cal 3/1
UCLA 7/1
ASU and Oregon 12/1
Arizona 15/1
Oregon State 25/1
Washington 35/1
Washington State 40/1
Stanford 60/1

USC is the clearly the favorite, while Arizona State is at 12 to 1 odds to win the Pac-10. That's kind of ironic, because I'm pretty sure #12 (Rudy Carpenter) to #1 (Michael Jones) is going to be a pretty familiar combination this season. There is a disparity though between these odds and the Pac-10 media poll as far as Oregon State is concerned; they're given the 7th best odds of winning the conference while the Pac-10 coaches think they're going to finish 5th. Meanwhile, both offshore gambling firms and the majority of the Pac-10 media haven't gotten the message from Jim Harbaugh that Stanford is for real.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Less punching and more boards, Awvee


NBA TV is reporting that the Milwaukee Bucks, who are known recently for the following three things:
1) Not making the playoffs
2) Drafting Andrew Bogut, whose dingo actually ate Luc Longley's baby
3) Yi Jianlian
...have signed former ASU forward Awvee Storey to a two-year contract.

If you haven't been following Awvee Storey's career since leaving Arizona State, well...we at Pitchfork Nation don't blame you. So here's a quick recap.

Awvee led the Pac-10 in rebounding in 2000-01, pulling down 9.1 boards per game. He was also one of the better defenders in the league at the time and showed great versatility by playing almost every position on the floor. He faced his share of injury problems however and was not drafted, but later signed with the New Jersey Nets in 2004. Through the end of 2006, he had played in only 34 games between the Nets and Washington Wizards.

And that's where it started to go all wrong. Last December, he and former UA star Gilbert Arenas were arrested for disobeying police orders in Miami. Then, this past January while playing for the NBDL's Dakota Wizards, he gained national attention by slugging teammate Martynas Andriskevicius (not to be confused with Golden State's Sarunas Jasikevicius) during a practice. The assaulted was left with a fractured skull and a severe concussion. Needless to say, Storey was cut and suspended by the league.

So, congrats to Awvee for latching on in the Association again, and here's to hoping he keeps his fists away from Brian Skinner.

Apparently, Mark Schlabach loves former ASU Quarterbacks

Today's lead story in the college football section of ESPN.com included a "What's Hot and What's Not" article by NCAA pigskin columnist Mark Schlabach. And apparently, while Arizona State will be involved in one of his "grudge matches to look forward to," he also seems to be infatuated with recent quarterbacks that have transferred from ASU elsewhere, and takes a bit of a shot at current starter Rudy Carpenter.

What's Hot: Grudge matches. Several coaches will meet their former teams in much-anticipated contests this season. LSU vs. Nick Saban's Alabama. Boston College vs. Tom O'Brien's NC State. Rice vs. Todd Graham's Tulsa. Miami vs. Butch Davis' North Carolina. Oregon State vs. Dennis Erickson's Arizona State.

What's Hot: Transfer quarterbacks. Several teams have transfer players in the mix at quarterback: Nebraska's Sam Keller (from Arizona State), Cincinnati's Ben Mauk (Wake Forest), Baylor's Michael Machen (Kent State), BYU's Max Hall (Arizona State), Maryland's Josh Portis (Florida), Houston's Al Pena (Oklahoma State) and Wisconsin's Allan Evridge (Kansas State).

What's Not: Struggling quarterbacks. These quarterbacks are hoping to turn around their careers after largely struggling in 2006: Virginia Tech's Sean Glennon, Miami's Kyle Wright, Florida State's Drew Weatherford and Xavier Lee, Arizona State's Rudy Carpenter, Oregon's Dennis Dixon, Ole Miss' Brent Schaeffer, Auburn's Brandon Cox, Iowa State's Bret Meyer, and South Carolina's Blake Mitchell.

For the rest of Schlabach's article, check it out here.