Soft, a word Arizona State defensive coordinator Danny Gonzales hates more than any form of profanity. He despises it, using soft to describe a player is equal to taking away their “man-card,” in his mind. Although, Gonzales felt he needed to use that description for the play of his defense in the loss to Colorado.
“I thought we were soft on Saturday and you have to look at yourself because you ain’t doing something right at that point,” he said.
In the most Gonzales-esque way, he ran through a series of plays, recalling each and every detail, that left the Sun Devils in the dust on Saturday.
It’s no surprise Gonzales knew the exact direction the blade a grass faced when someone missed a tackle. This study on Saturday was a it different though. He needed to find out the problems, he took blame for the loss, in his mind his players weren’t prepared enough because of Gonzales.
His solution? He left Sun Devil Stadium, traded in his pillow and blanket for a notepad and pen until a time he doesn’t even remember. Gonzales discovered his team lacked aggressiveness, and that opens the door to comeback and improve that.
“Our energy showed that we have a chance because our pride got really smashed on Saturday night and there’s two ways to come back,” Gonzales said. “There’s coming back and feeling sorry for yourself and waiting for somebody to tell you that everything is going to be OK, well guess what, it ain’t It’ll be better once you fix it. They came back with the right attitude and the right attitude will give you a chance.”
For as much blame Gonzales wants to put on himself, the players don’t feel that exact way. Linebacker Darien Butler, whose dropped interception was featured in the plays Gonzales spoke about, felt they needed to be better.
“He’s a guy who felt like it was his fault the way he coached us,” Butler said. “I feel like we have to overcome coach G, and we got to execute because he’s not the one out there playing.”
Gonzales believed he overloaded his defense with information, turning them into robots in his opinion.
“If you put too much information on their plate they’re like these computers that they built,” he said. “They blow up on you and you have to buy news ones. We do that stuff to our kids we overload their system and it explodes and now they don’t play worth a darn.”
Thus safety Aashari Crosswell thinks this week against Cal with have a simpler approach.
“We just going back to the basics after that l(oss) we took,” Crosswell said. “Now we just need to go back to basics of what we’ve been doing. Going back to day one of how we were practicing.”
The Sun Devils will most likely be without safety Cam Phillips because of a dislocated elbow. Willie Harts will start if needed, maybe that’ll be a spark the defense needs. Gonzales, however, believes his team will be filled with energy in Berkeley
“Did we solve it? We’ll find out on Friday night,” Gonzales said. “But I’ll tell you what, they will be amped up, they’ll be ready to run into a brick wall. We’ll see who the most violent team is on Friday night.”