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ASU Football: ASU Football: Rob Likens press conference notebook (10/15)

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Heading into a tough matchup

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 06 Sacramento State at Arizona State Photo by Kevin Abele/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Offensive coordinator Rob Likens has a tough task in front of him as the No. 17 Arizona State Sun Devils travel to Salt Lake City to face the No. 13 Utah Utes. Having to call a game plan against a defense that has allowed the 10th least amount of yards per game and eighth fewest points allowed per game. Here are a few takeaways from his weekly press conference.

A general idea of the Ute defense

Likens compared the Utah defense to Arizona State’s week three opponent, Michigan State, in terms of style, but the numbers show the Utes are far better.

“They’re very strong and physical. They do everything right, they’re always where they’re supposed to be. Football seems to be changing, everybody’s moving around and doing all kinds of crazy stuff where they still just, very similar to Michigan State, they know who they are. Their system has been together for a long time. Their coaching staff, they are who they are, they don’t try to hide it. They’re just going to line up and try to do things better than you do and hit you really, really hard. They tackle well, prevent big plays and make you earn everything that you get.”

Running back depth

On Monday, head coach Herm Edwards talked about the team’s depth, specifically the running back unit. Likens was directly about the situation with running back Isaiah Floyd’s recent absence from practice and games. Outside of Eno Benjamin and A.J. Carter, the only running backs listed are Demetrious Flowers, Nick Johnson and Demarcus Johnson who are all freshmen without a carry.

“You do have to be careful you’re not wearing Eno out and that’s why we’ve gotten (wide receiver) Kyle Williams some reps there. I was kind of hoping to get Kyle some reps in at running back the other day but he banged his ankle up on a play. But, AJ practiced really well so he’s improving and so we feel good about getting him into the game. So as long as Eno is OK and healthy then feel like we can, I feel like it’s not a concern with me about the depth because we did move Kyle Williams over there for a period of time and let him learn everything. He could play running back.”

The connection between Jayden Daniels and former Sun Devil quarterback, now graduate assistant Mike Bercovici

More and more at Arizona State’s practices, Jael Mary hero Mike Bercovici appears to be more hands-on at practice in his role as a graduate assistant. Likens believes he’s been a major help to freshman quarterback Jayden Daniels.

“Heck yeah. Mike does a really good job of just talking to him about his experiences and things like that. Some of the drills, and I let Mike just run the quarterback individual drills. We do it together, and I’ll let him lead it, because I want him to get experience coaching, because that’s what you do with graduate assistants. They need to coach to be better coaches so that they can go on and move on, and he does a tremendous job. And the more that he does, the more I trust him, the more I give him, and he does a great job with him, especially with his feet in the pocket. And a lot of drills, you know, he’s been several places, in the NFL and he’s been with Philip Rivers and learning some things from him and the drills that they did and all that stuff that he’s brought here. And I’ve learned a lot of stuff from it too, it’s been really good. Now, he’s been a tremendous help.”