My three things to keep a close eye on throughout tomorrow's game against the Lumberjacks:
1) Nance will carry the load. Dimitri Nance had a bust out game against Cal last season in a game just after Ryan Torain went down with his Lisfranc injury, scoring three touchdowns to pace the offense in the big come from behind win over the Golden Bears. Tomorrow, however, might be another coming out party for Nance. With Keegan Herring a game time decision and almost surely very limited in action if he plays and Shaun DeWitty definitely out with that hamstring, Nance will have another chance to show what kind of talent this kid really has. My gut feeling is that Nance will get about 90% of the carries tomorrow night with Jarrell Woods (one of DE's favorite backs) getting the ball in short yardage. Ryan Bass will surely see some action to change the pace of the game and don't be surprised to see James Morrison get some reps in the 4th quarter when ASU has it put away.
2) Who will play better opposite Omar Bolden? JuCo transfer Terrell Carr and walk-on Pierre Singfield have both impressed coaches throughout fall camp and Erickson hasn't settled on a full time starter, so both will get major playing time tomorrow night throughout the game. NAU has some pretty big time receivers so it will be interesting to see how each can display their speed and route shadowing. They might have a little extra time to test out both Carr and Singfield because after NAU gets out of town, Stanford comes, and their pass offense looked terrible last night against Oregon State. This might turn into a two-game tryout.
3) The O-Line should wear "Hello, My Name is..." stickers. The new look offensive line will take the field for the first time. The vets are Paul Fanaika and Shaun Lauvao, so you should know them, but we'll get our first look at Jon Hargis (on offense, at least), Adam Tello and Thomas Altieri. NAU has got some ball hawks and serious tacklers on that team, including K.J. Gerard, so it might get a little unnerving to watch how the new line performs early on. Frankly though, after last season, we should be used to it by now...shouldn't we?
Photo Credit: US Newswire