New Arizona State coach Dennis Erickson inherits a talented group of players led by quarterback Rudy Carpenter (12).
As an Arizona State alum, I was one of those calling for the head of Dirk Koetter. Stewart, you even called him one of the worst coaches in college football. So Arizona State goes out and hires a proven coach in Dennis Erickson. What is it about his hiring that has left Sun Devils fans with a sense of apprehension?
--D. Padilla, Atlanta
I have to admit, I did not realize there was apprehension there. If so, I can only assume it's apprehension over the fact ASU's program is about to be overrun with a band of jucos, and that there's a 50-50 chance the school will wind up on probation. From a football standpoint, however, Sun Devils fans should be thrilled. Erickson may not be big on "character guys," but he's big on winning, and he's going to do a lot of it there in a short amount of time. The cupboard in Tempe is not exactly bare. Any coach would be lucky to walk into a program with a quarterback like Rudy Carpenter (whose confidence should be restored by Erickson), a running back like Ryan Torain, three all-conference offensive linemen and some decent defensive linemen.
While Erickson, like Koetter, is known as an offensive mind, the difference is, he actually knows what he's doing. Koetter had never been a head coach at a BCS-level school and it showed, as he constantly botched key decisions (like last year's Carpenter-Sam Keller debacle) and stubbornly stuck to a WAC-style offense in a league that actually plays some defense. Erickson comes in with far more experience, a proven track record both with Miami and in the Pac-10 with Washington State and Oregon State. He'll have ASU competing at a high level in no time -- and leading the league in personal-foul penalties.