See what our staff thinks about tonight's season opener.
It's the first Sun Devil gameday of the year, and that means it's time for the first gameday roundtable of the year. Our staff answered a few questions about tonight's game against Weber State, and as always, feel free to add your thoughts in the comment section.
Justin Emerson: Managing Editor (@J15Emerson)
Nick Krueger: Managing Editor (@NickPKrueger)
Cory Williams: Editor Emeritus (@cwilliams2k4)
Jason Galvin: Columnist (@Jason_Galvin)
Ryan Bafaloukos: Staff writer (@RyanBafo)
Shane Theodore: Staff writer (@shane_writes)
Who is one specific Sun Devil you're watching tonight?
Emerson: Lloyd Carrington. This guy is going to be a big part of the defense as one of the returning players, and more so than what he does on the stat sheet, I'm looking to see if he carries himself like the leader coach Todd Graham hopes he will be.
Krueger: Edmond Boateng. He's really getting thrown into the fire at Devilbacker after just a week of practice there. He came on extremely quickly as a starter so Todd Graham must really see something special in him. He has the physical size and presence of the Devilbacker, but I'm not sure he has the speed that the position requires at times.
Williams: I want to see Jaxon Hood have a big game. I'm obviously interested in D.J. Calhoun and Christian Westerman as well. These three players are going to need to have huge seasons for us to move forward as a team in 2014.
Galvin: Jaxon Hood. He's the most experienced Sun Devil on defense, and he has to be the player who elevates his game to an elite level. The staff is counting on him to be the teams next version of Will Sutton, but Hood has missed a lot of camp for personal reasons. Is he ready?
Bafaloukos: I will be watching Demario Richard, the freshman running back from California. We all know about DJ Foster and Kalen Ballage gets a lot of attention because of his size, however I think that Richard will have a major impact on the team this year. I am interested in how he plays in his first college game.
Theodore: Not so much one specific Sun Devil, but rather all of the wide receivers not named Jaelen Strong. Arizona State won't necessarily need big numbers from a unrenowned guy to beat many of the opponents on their schedule, but the Sun Devils will need consistent production from at least one other WR to have chance to compete with the upper echelon programs in the Pac-12.
Which side of the ball needs to show up more: offense or defense?
Emerson: Definitely the defense. The offense was lighting up actual football teams last year and not much has changed in that unit. That being said, the defense could pitch a shutout tonight and still have question marks. Facing FCS teams is pointless.
Krueger: It's Weber State, the defense can't prove that it's going to be a strength this season against an FCS team, but if the defense allows more than 14 points, that's worrisome to me. The defense definitely needs to show up more.
Williams: Defense. The unit needs to iron out some early season kinks against Weber State. The competition quickly gets much stiffer, as a road game is always a struggle, even if it's against New Mexico. Our youth will make or break us.
Galvin: Defense, no doubt. The offense is going to be fine, no matter what happens in this game. But if the team wants to avoid a week of speculation about how far this defense can really take them, the unit needs to have a solid first game.
Bafaloukos: I think that the defense needs to show up more just because of all the question marks surrounding the unit. If they give up two or three touchdowns to Weber State, people will begin to worry about the young Sun Devil defense. I want to see how the secondary plays and what kind of a pass rush the Sun Devils can put together.
Theodore: We know the offense is going to put up points on the board against any defense, but the offense isn't good enough to consistently get in firefights with other strong teams and win. The defense needs to come together in the first few weeks before Arizona State's first big test when they host UCLA.
What's the best possible outcome of the game?
Emerson: No one gets hurt. The Sun Devils are going to win, and they shouldn't have much of a problem covering the 51-point spread. I see this like an NFL preseason game: As long as no one gets hurt, I'm happy with the outcome.
Krueger: Taylor Kelly leads the offense on four solid scoring drives and Arizona State is up at least 35-0 at halftime while the defense just stays strong (it doesn't need to be flashy). Pull the starters at halftime and experiment with some of the younger players later in the game while avoiding injury.
Williams: The defense shows a nose for the ball, holds their lanes effectively against the rush, and does not fall apart in man coverage. The offense picks up where it left off last season, the offensive line looks sharp, and our newcomers at WR and RB put up big numbers and handle their duties.
Galvin: Everyone coming out healthy, and a win. Honestly, the score in this game means little. Even if the Sun Devils only won by a field goal, nobody would remember this game come December. Health and a win are all that matters. Come out with both, and it's a good night.
Theodore: Offense does what they're expected to and they put the game out of reach early enough for Graham to mix and match some players that need game time to improve but aren't reliable starters yet. Win the game in the first half, get a glimpse at some of the young players in the second half. That's a win-win.
What would need to go wrong for Weber State to win?
Emerson: The extreme opposite of the best case scenario- everyone gets hurt. Like literally everyone, and Arizona State needs to forfeit.
Williams: There is no scenario in which that is a plausible circumstance.
Galvin: Either a major, demoralizing injury early to a key player (Kelly, Strong, Foster), or a sloppy opening half for the offense. Weber State isn't equipped to win a shootout, but you never want to give David the idea that he could slay Goliath.
Theodore: Taylor Kelly suddenly decides that his professional future lies in drag racing and quits the football team two hours before kickoff. Also, Damian Lillard suits up at quarterback for Weber State.
Give us your final score as well as one other prediction for the game.
Emerson: 59-6 Arizona State. Weber States does not score in the first half.
Krueger: Arizona State- 63 Weber State-10. Jaelen Strong gets 150 yards receiving and at least two touchdowns
Williams: Arizona State wins, 49-3. D.J. Calhoun has an interception. D.J. Foster gets 120 yards on offense.
Galvin: 55-10, Arizona State. Taylor Kelly runs for more touchdowns than he throws for.
Bafaloukos: Arizona State 70, Weber State 7 - DJ Foster has two touchdowns of over 50 yards.
Theodore: 45-10. Taylor Kelly throws for three touchdowns and rushes for another.
- Sports & Recreation
- American Football