Offensive coordinator Rob Likens sat high above his team from the press box, perplexed as Arizona State’s fans were about the Sun Devils’ play.
“I told the guys, ‘I've been doing this for 30 years and I've never seen anything like that,’ “ Likens said. “We got to get it fixed, we were always just one guy away from doing something right.”
Offensively, the team finished with 395 total yards but only 91 yards on the ground. They struggled on third down, as they only converted 5 of 17 (29%) third down plays.
Specifically, Likens said that dropped passes would happen throughout the season but lack of third down conversions hurt the offense.
“Every time that we went out there and we made a big play and got inside the 10-yard line, we would lose two yards on first down trying to run the football,” Likens said. “That can’t happen and we got to fix that. We got to find out what we are good at and what we can do and then make sure we do that down there.
“If we score touchdowns in those situations, it’s a completely different mood and a totally different situation.”
With the offense continuing to find their way as the season progress, defensive coordinator Danny Gonzales doesn’t feel a burden to be the side that carries the team.
“I told them in winter conditions, ‘this is the world we are going to live in and I got no problem with it’ “ Gonzales said. “When we are playing a true freshman quarterback, there's a lot of things that the offense can’t do because they are trying to make sure he has success and continues to grow in this deal.”
As the season progresses, Likens will better understand what the offense can do that will make the offense better.
“One of the things we have to do is we got to find out what this team can do good,” Likens said. “Our offense isn’t last years offense and we cant say going into a game we will be able to do this. Well, we are finding out some things we cant do and we are finding those things out and now we have to adjust as coaches and players. We just have to execute at a high level.”
Arizona State heads to Michigan State next Saturday with a young quarterback and possible offensive linemen changes ahead, Likens said he isn't concerned with the offense.
“No, I'm not because every year it's the same thing on offense,” Likens said. “Especially when we have a lot of new guys and we are putting people places and we are trying to figure out what we do really really good. The only way you do that... is finding out through games under duress, under good competition, under guys trying to fire off the ball. We will figure it out, I am certainly not panicking.”