It has been a tough offseason for the Sun Devils, from key injuries to player departures. Perhaps because of the adversity, the team has banded together and looks to 2011 with a strong sense of confidence.
Starting quarterback Brock Osweiler calls the vibe around the team a "family atmosphere." Head coach Dennis Erickson feels he has strong leaders on both sides of the ball in Osweiler and middle linebacker Vontaze Burfict.
Erickson went as far to say that he was 'proud' of the growth Burfict had shown during the offseason, noting that he "matured a heck of a lot."
Osweiler and Burfict are two of the main reasons that ASU is dreaming of playing in the BCS Championship Game, to be hosted by the Sugar Bowl on January 9, 2012.
"If you guys have been in this building since we started our winter workouts from day one to the end of summer conditioning, you guys would all understand why we're saying what we are," Osweiler said. "This team has worked harder than any team I've ever been a part of in my life."
"The mindset of this team is unbelievable right now. The confidence we have, the energy, the family atmosphere that we've created around the building -- there's a lot of really special things going on around here. We're not destined for a 6-6 bowl game. We're not destined for a 7-5 bowl game. We know this team can do bigger things."
Regardless of what Osweiler believes, Erickson knows that there is a lot of work left to be done.
"I feel like we can win a lot of football games," Erickson said. "but we've got to go out and do it. Talk's cheap, so we've just got to go out and play."
With just three and a half weeks to go before the Sun Devils take the field against UC-Davis, the time has almost arrived for ASU to walk the walk.