Now that we are less then 48 hours away from kicking off the 2014 Arizona State football season. It is time to write the blueprint for how the Sun Devils are going to beat Weber State.
Granted, the Wildcats were just 2-10 last season and did not win a game on the road last season. That said, the Sun Devils will not take Weber State lightly. Here are the keys to an Arizona State victory.
1. Establish the running game: Last season, Weber State gave up an average of over 242 rushing yards per game. Their defense surrendered over 41 points per game. This is an excellent opportunity for the Sun Devils to get their running game going early in the season, especially with players not named D.J. Foster.
2. Get to the quarterback: Wildcats QB Billy Green has played in one game in his collegiate career. He saw time in BYU's November victory over Idaho State, but did not record any stats. Green led the BYU scout team last year and will start his first game in college against the Sun Devils. Arizona State needs to pressure him and make him feel uncomfortable. The secondary is replacing three starters so it will be important for the front seven to create some pressure.
3. Limit mental mistakes: There is no doubt that Arizona State is the more talented team. However, the mental part of the game is something that people rarely discuss. Players in the wrong positions, blown coverages, miscommunications along the offensive line. This is the equivalent of a preseason game for Arizona State so limiting the mental errors will be important.
4. Limit big plays on defense: This key goes along with No. 3, as most of the time mental mistakes lead to big plays. It is important that if Weber State is going to score, the Arizona State defense makes them go the length of the field on a long drive. Todd Graham mentioned earlier in camp how their biggest weakness last year was surrendering deep vertical passes, it is important that Arizona State limits the big plays of the Wildcat offense.
5. Establish the lead early: Arizona State has been dominant under Graham against FCS competition. They always get the lead early and offer no hope for the Weber State's of the world. Last year, against Sacramento State the Sun Devils were up 42-0 at halftime. The longer Weber State stays in the game the more confidence they will play with. The bigger lead early will also allow Arizona State to test the waters in the second half and get the underclassmen involved.