clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

ASU vs. UCLA: Gameday Roundtable

Find out what our staff thinks of today's game.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Our Panel:
Ryan Bafaloukos - Co-Managing Editor | @RyanBafo
Josh Nacion - Co-Managing Editor | @Josh_Nacion
Kaelen Jones - Staff Writer | @kaelenjones
Chris Schubert - Staff Writer | @ChrisRSchubert
Connor Pelton - Staff Writer | @ConnorPelton28
Blane Ferguson - Staff Writer | @BlaneFerguson

Note: Included in this roundtable is a mixture of short answers as well as a table with predictions.

Q: On Wednesday, Mike Norvell claimed responsibility for the offensive issues. What position group or player do you feel needs to step up the most for ASU to improve offensively?

Ferguson: It's tough to pick just one group of players that needs to step up the most after the USC game because, as many know, there are a few groups of players that need to improve. That being said, I'm still waiting for a wide receiver to step up this season. The void left by Jaelen Strong has yet to be filled and maybe that's an impossible task this season, but it would be nice to see a receiver have a solid performance throughout the course of a game.

Jones: Quarterback. While the offensivel line has certainly been an issue, Bercovici is a fifth-year senior, but still makes mistakes one would expect a young quarterback to make. I get that he's relatively inexperienced and is in an offense that doesn't cater to his skill set, but it's already Week 5... Time for him to turn it around and have a big time performance.

Schubert: The quarterback. The offense is like a train, with the quarterback as its conductor. A bad conductor means the train doesn't function well. Mike Bercovici needs to step it up.

Nacion: Offensive line. Mike Bercovici needs time to throw the ball in order to really operate the offense. It's been hard to credit that group for the team's rushing success, and maybe the receivers can have more chances if the play opens up for more than two seconds.

Pelton: It has to be the receiving corps. Granted, Mike Bercovici hasn't looked sharp all year long, but a little help from his wideouts wouldn't hurt. They need to be running better, sharper routes, and then actually catch the balls thrown their way. We knew that losing Jalen Strong would hurt, but I don't think anyone expected it to be this bad.

Bafaloukos: I agree with Connor and Blane that it is the wide receivers. Bercovici is too smart of a quarterback to continually throw the ball into traffic, so instead he holds the ball or checks down. The wide receivers need to create separation for the passing offense to work and they face a tough test with this UCLA secondary.

Q: Through four games, which player have you been most surprised with and which player have you been most disappointed with?

Ferguson: I've been surprised, and I probably shouldn't have been, with the consistency of Demario Richard. I'm surprised at how good he has looked even when the rest of the offense has looked less than stellar. We saw toward the end of the season last year that we could be witnessing a special talent at running back with Richard and he hasn't disappointed us.

I think the easy way to go for disaapointment would be to say Mike Bercovici, but I'm going to say D.J. Foster and it's not even his fault with why I'm disappointed. I'm disappointed that he hasn't gotten the ball more. He is one of the best playmakers in the conference and so far he has only one receiving touchdown this season. He's got to get more focus going forward.

Jones: Kareem Orr (9 tackles, 1 INT, 1 PD) has impressed me the most showing versatility and displaying his talent when he's gotten the chance to. While Bercovici is a likely choice for being the most disappointing, for me it's been D.J. Calhoun. I really expected him to take the next step in becoming the team's best pass rusher, but he's yet to register a sack this year.

Schubert: Most surprised: Demario Richard Most disappointed: Bercovici

Nacion: Tim White is my biggest surprise. Before the season, you couldn't go wrong with picking any of the athletes on the receiving corps that would stand out, but White is practically carrying that position and has outshined D.J. Foster in that group.

Pelton: I've been most surprised by Tim White. On the other end, the play of De'Chavon Hayes has been fairly concerning. The return man is definitely explosive, but his focus on ball security needs to be increased.

Bafaloukos: My biggest surprise so far this season has been the play of Armand Perry and Kareem Orr. Coming into the season, that spot in the secondary was the biggest question and you could argue that position has been the best through four games. My biggest disappointment has been Hayes, not only with his lack of production on offense but also on special teams as well.

Q: Give me a bold prediction for today's game against UCLA.

Ferguson: ASU will keep it close going into the fourth quarter. UCLA is missing some key defensive players and I expect the Sun Devils to come out motivated and hungry after such a disappointing performance last weekend.

Jones: The Sun Devils force three turnovers.

Schubert: ASU wins the turnover battle.

Nacion: ASU won't score more than 17 points against UCLA.

Pelton: Arizona State takes a lead into the fourth quarter before losing a close one.

Bafaloukos: The Sun Devils score a defensive touchdowns or on special teams.

More Predictions:

Bafaloukos Nacion Ferguson Schubert Jones Pelton

Most important ASU

player today?

Foster Bercovici Bercovici Bercovici Richard Bercovici
Biggest key to victory? Explosive Plays

Find a rhythm

on offense

Capitalize on

UCLA mistakes


the run

Get Richard

20 touches

Win the

turnover battle

Hayes: Bigger impact

on offense or defense?

Defense Offense Offense Defense Offense Defense

Over/Under: Two turnovers

for the ASU offense?

Under Over Push Under Under Under