John Chavis is underpaid.
To say tonight's defensive performance was night and day over last year is an understatement. Everyone looked better. Every single player on the defense looked better. In fact there wasn't a single time where I had a negative comment about a defensive player's performance.
Fun game. Fun fun game. Let's break this down.
Strange game on the whole for the offense. Given the fact that we have two new offensive coaches it was going to take time for us to gel, but the quarterbacks not taking care of the ball was an odd thing. The old adage is that if you have two QBs then you don't have one, but we've got two really good QBs...both of whom serve a unique purpose. Kyle runs the offense better. Kyler is more explosive. How do you square the two? How do you make a decision between the two? It's hard to say, but it's a problem that's good to have and one that we can figure out over the next few weeks. Kyler gave us the spark we needed and Kyle finished it off. All's well that ends well.
WRs and RBs played well. If you give Tra Carson an opening he'll be off to the races. The offense moved better when we had White and Carson in the game at the same time, but Tra carried the load well to the tune of 96 yards. Christian Kirk is the real deal. 5 star player making 5 star plays. His punt return was electric (first TD punt return we've had by a freshman since 1996), and his long TD was exactly what we needed at that moment.
The offensive line struggled. Our interior line struggled and it wouldn't be surprising to see a shakeup over the next couple of weeks. The tackles played well...but the interior line needs some work if this team is going to continue playing at a high pace.
Play calling...who knows? You tell me. On one hand it's difficult for any OC to call plays with an OL that won't block and WRs that were struggling to get off press. On the other we seem to have this habit of trying to out-talent teams rather than out scheme them--basically we want to play best on best and beat them, which is fine when we are clearly the more talented team, but iffy when playing teams that are as talented as us. What did you think about our play calling?
PAY THE MAN HIS MONEY! The John Chavis hire will go down as the single smartest thing that Kevin Sumlin has ever done. Think about it...we had that defensive performance without Obioha, Alaka, Hilliard, and Walker. With all those guys out we held them to less than 300 yards. To put that in perspective in 2014 ASU averaged 36.9 ppg and 442 yards. We held them to 17 points and 291 yards. Wow.
Defensive line was dominant. Myles Garrett did Myles Garrett things and proved that he's the best defensive player in the country bar none. How about the rest of the DL? When was the last time that we had dominant performance by our DTs? Walker, Wililams...all of our interior guys played their asses off...not to mention a budding superstar in Daylon Mack. What Garrett is on the outside, Daylon has the potential to be just that on the inside. And how about Daeshon Hall? What did he have...like 2 sacks? At least?
Linebackers played admirably, and by that I mean they did their job and weren't liabilities which is pretty remarkable given that it was basically Shaan Washington and a bunch of unproven players (hell we played a walk-on most of the game-and he had a damn good game!)
Secondary. This is where the magic happened. Coming into this year I was hugely concerned about our LBs and our corners, but figured that our safety play would make up for that. Then I stopped being worried about our corners because I heard Williams was playing well and Devante was doing Devante things. Brandon Williams played a whale of a game for his first game at corner. He was physical, covered well and did his job. Devante is a different player altogether. I'm telling you--I'm president of his fan club so get on the bandwagon quickly.
Safeties...What can be said about Evans, Watts and Donovan Wilson? Wilson is that X factor player that was all over the field and managed to get upfield to blitz the QB over and over again. ASU did not have an answer for him. And Evans is a flat out angry headhunting man who likes to hit people. I can't really think of the last time we had safeties like this.
ASU is a talented team who will go on to win several games this year. And despite that, and despite the three turnovers we had we still beat them by 3 touchdowns. WE BEAT A RANKED TEAM BY 3 TOUCHDOWNS. And it was a team effort all the way through.
We've got plenty of time over the next few weeks to both figure out the OL and develop a long-term plan for QB play. This was the best kind of win to start the year with--it was dominant but still gave the coaches plenty of content to coach from.
Great game. Great freaking game.
BTHO ball state!