During Pacific Ten conference play, the Arizona State offense has struggled, to be polite, but what have been the contributing factors, to the Sun Devils' lack of productivity? Dennis Erickson has been trying to figure the issues out, along with the rest of his coaching staff. So, can the fans at Frank Kush Field expect a new and improved offense this Saturday?
Dennis Erickson's squads in the past have been perceived as a very physical team, that normally accumulates a heavy dose of penalties during the game. However, the penalties that have been assessed against the ASU offense this season, have been silly, mental errors that are easily fixed.
During practice this week, the offensive staff has taken a more hands-on approach to trying eliminate the false start penalties and the holding flags thrown against the offense. The offense this week has seemed more attentive to the little things, that can build a successful season, and everyone knows, that this season has not exactly panned out the way that fans in Tempe expected.
Aside from the penalties, the Sun Devils have been hampered by injuries all season, but it seems that the skill position players are starting to return to their envisioned form.
Senior Wide Receiver Chris McGaha is now a 100% recovered from his mid-season flu virus that held the Phoenix native out of practice for the whole Washington week. Also, receiver Kyle Williams has been participating in limited workouts this week, as he has nearly fully recovered from his hamstring injury.
There is still question as to whether Junior wide receiver Kerry Taylor will be available for the Sun Devils' upcoming game against California this weekend. Taylor is also laboring over a hamstring injury since the Washington game two weeks ago.
Also on the injury front for the Sun Devils, Senior Center Thomas Altieri will be sidelined for nearly two weeks with a knee injury. That means ASU will be starting a new player at center for the first time in two seasons.
The opening will be filled by Garth Gerhart, a Sophomore from Norco, CA. And yes he is the brother of Stanford running back Toby Gerhart, the same running back that torched the Sun Devils a week ago.
Gerhart was slated to be the starting center during camp, until he was knocked out of action with a nagging turf toe injury.
Although the injuries have piled up this season for Erickson's squad, the Sun Devils look to be regaining their health for the toughest stretch of games this season, and when Arizona State's bowl aspirations will be at stake during the next five games.
Somehow, someway, the Sun Devils will have to will themselves to two more wins, or else this season will be deemed a failure by fans in the Valley of the Sun.