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Sun Devils on football media day

August 03, 2008

Graduate QB Rudy Carpenter:
On his weight this year compared to last year:
"Last year I never used to eat right. Now, I eat healthy and work out a lot. Last season I played at 205 pounds, and right now I'm 225, so I put on about 20 pounds. Hopefully it will help me through the long haul this season. I thought I was a little small at 205 and I worked out a little bit toward the end of the year, and I felt that if I put on some weight and muscle, I could maybe last a little longer and be stronger towards the end of the season. So, that's pretty much my goal."

On the wide receivers:
"I think our wideouts are probably the most talented group we have on the team. Obviously, Mike Jones and Chris McGaha are our proven guys who made a lot of plays for us. I think Kerry Taylor is going to have a really good year this year. He has worked hard and he's good. Kyle Williams is another guy who has had a great summer and is going to really help us this year. Also, our freshman, Gerell Robinson, is the guy who is the most ready to play. He spent a lot of time with us in the off-season and I think he will make a difference for us this year."

On the coach spreading things out more this season:
"I think it will really help us out. Like I said, we need to have all those guys in the field, like those wideouts because they're our best group. We can't have them sitting on the bench and I think if we can just get the ball in my hands and get it to those guys fast and let them make plays, that will be a key in our passing game and help from people blitzing us so much."

On avoiding blitzing this year:
"It's hard to make a big play when you're going through short routes and you have to get it out. I'm more worried about doing what is best for our team and helping the team out, so if they have to get it out of my hand, then that is what I am going to do."

On the high expectations:
"To be honest, I don't really know. I do know we are ranked No. 16 in the coaches' poll and No. 2 in the Pac-10, but expectations are expectations. I expect to have our team win as many games as we can. All the expectations will take care of themselves at the end of the year. I think we just have to be worried about taking one game at a time."

On the stretch of playing highly ranked teams:
"Part of me loves it, because it will be a great opportunity for us as a university and as a football team to show what we can do against some of the best teams in the country. We are going to be in front of the national media, which is going to get us out there even more than last year, if we can do well. Then again it's pretty rough, because we have Georgia, Cal, USC and Oregon all in row and two of those four are on the road. So, that can be a pretty difficult stretch if you don't take care of things, because we could be hurting by that time of year."

On how a kicker like Thomas Weber affects the offense:
"It's unbelievable. Thomas is really a huge asset to our team because we can put points on the board from all over the field. He really helped us out last year, because we had trouble scoring sometimes, so it is great having a good kicker and it is great having faith in a kicker."

On the new wrinkles put in offensively:
"I think they will help, hopefully. We'll find out when we start practice tomorrow. As soon as we start playing against our defense we'll see if it is going to help us out. But, I think if we can run those new things we put in effectively; it will slow down some teams from really blitzing us like they did last year."

On staying in Tempe for preseason practices:
"I think it will be better, because we have all of our facilities here: technology for film, our weight room and our training facilities for when guys get hurt. We don't have all that stuff up there, so I think it makes it a lot easier being here and it's more convenient. Guys get more rest and sleep better without all the traveling. It will at least help make guys more enthusiastic during camp when it starts to get hard and we'll be better because of that."

On the comfort level of being under Coach Erickson for the second year:
"I think we just know what to expect from the coaching staff. We know how they are, how they run practices and do everything on and off the field. They also know how we are. We all have a better feel for how things go and obviously it's much different than from when Coach Koetter was here and we're all adjusted to that. We've adjusted to the new teams on offense and defense and I think the second year will be better than the first year."

On his consecutive start streak:
"It means a lot to me actually because it's rare that people start a lot of consecutive games. For a couple reasons, people always want somebody else and on top of that, injuries can happen, so I'm thankful and I'm grateful that I have had the opportunity to play a lot of games and I have been healthy to do that. I also know that experience usually helps a lot throughout the course of the season, especially at my position."

Junior LB Mike Nixon
On using the same base team defense, with a few wrinkles added:
"The less you blitz, the better off you are. You're a little more sound across the board. If our front four can get pressure and we can sit seven deep, then that's going to be great for our pass defense. It's when teams keep six or seven in, that's where we can get creative and find new ways to get pressure. We're going to put a couple of blitzes in. Were definitely going to blitz and if we're having trouble getting pressure then were going to create a little more. Hopefully our front four, especially with our ends, will be able to minimize that as much as possible."

On the progression of the linebackers unit:
"Spring helped quite a bit. Robert James did a lot of the blitzing for us last year and we need somebody to step up and fill that whole; be able to get pressure and create movement in the pocket. If we can't find that in the fall, then were just going to have to find another way to get pressure."

On who he sees replicating the job Robert James did last year:
"A couple of the young guys with Ryan McFoy and Oliver Aaron. They really have that burst that Robert had. They just got to be a little more consistent throughout fall camp and they will be able to help us out a lot come fall."

Graduate DT David Smith
On what he has seen so far from fellow DT Jonathan English:
"So far over summer, he is making all the times. Jon is fast and he should help us, but he has a lot of things he needs to work on; like being disciplined and taking it all in. He's also still young too, but he should help us a lot."

On the defensive tackle position:
"Usually you know before the play if you're going to be doubled team or not, just by playing a shade or a 3. It's tough, but at times you have to make a play and you'll find a way to do it. Hopefully, I can make some this year."

On how he progressed with the playing time he received last year:
"Most of it is experience with the speed of the game. When you got a 12-play drive compared to a 3-play drive, it's a lot different and it got me ready for my senior year. I just can't wait and those long plays won't even hurt me with the experience."

On the competition for the other defensive tackle spot:
"There's a lot of talk about who is going to fill the left side and whose going to back me up on my side. There are no spots right now and I'm even fighting for a spot."