One advantage of being a college football head coach is that you can sit by whoever you’d like to on road trips.
Not surprisingly, Arizona State coach Dirk Koetter requested quarterback Rudy Carpenter as his companion for the flight back from the Bay area Saturday night.
Not to beat up the sophomore. California did that well enough in a 49-21 win that Carpenter decided afterwards that he is “not as good as I thought I was.”
Koetter didn’t hear about that comment until Sunday but wasn’t surprised.
Carpenter is notoriously hard on himself when he’s near perfect, let alone after four interceptions and three fumbles (one lost).
“I’d just take it as that,” said Koetter, who described Carpenter as tired and beat up enough to sleep during part of the flight. “When you lose, you’re disappointed. That’s why you’re a competitor. Rudy is as good a competitor as I’ve been around. He doesn’t need me to tell him he shouldn’t do this or that.
“There are a couple of things we need to get straightened out. That’s one of our top priorities this week. If we’re asking Rudy to do too much, we’ll have to back away from that. We know we have the ability to run the football.”
That’s the most salient point out of the Colorado and Cal games. The Sun Devils rushed for 182 against Colorado and 237 yards against Cal. Ryan Torain had 191 against Cal.
Torain averaged 8.0 yards per carry even though the starters on the right side of ASU’s offensive line were out for most of the game. Guard Stephen Berg from Canyon del Oro High School did not play because of a concussion, and tackle Andrew Carnahan left with a knee injury late in the second quarter.
Sophomore Paul Fanaika and redshirt freshman Richard Tuitu’u were the replacements.
Starting tailback Keegan Herring missed all but one play because of a hamstring strain.
Berg and Herring should be back Saturday against No. 14-ranked Oregon (3-0). The Ducks could be facing the smash-mouth Sun Devils (3-1) if Koetter reins in Carpenter, who is on pace for 24 regular-season interceptions.
“Most of the times I’ve got sacked or had fumbles, I put myself in that pressure,” Carpenter said. “Moving too much or trying to run or trying to do stupid things. Those are all things I’m going to need to improve on.
“I’m going to have to go back to the basics and to where I was last year, which is just being happy with a completion.”
Or with a handoff.
ASU dropped out of The Associated Press and USA TODAY coaches polls for the first time this season after the loss to California.
Huskies on way back
SEATTLE – Tyrone Willingham is determined to make Washington a respectable program with a postseason bowl game, and his singular focus was firmly displayed against UCLA.
His Huskies were less than an hour from a stirring 29-19 comeback win over UCLA on Saturday, but there was Willingham, staring at the television to catch the final few minutes of Arizona’s loss to Southern California. The Huskies play at UA Saturday.
Moments later, quarterback Isaiah Stanback joined Willingham, taking a minute to get an early look at the Wildcats. The Huskies and their fans are plenty excited about being 3-1 and halfway to the required six wins for a bowl game.
But no one is celebrating yet, especially Willingham.
“We’ve decided in here that nobody else can tell us that we can’t do it anymore,” tight end Johnie Kirton said. “We are definitely a whole lot stronger than we were the last couple of years.”
In other Pac-10 games Saturday, Washington State beat Stanford 36-10, and Oregon State beat Idaho 38-0.
By Jeff Metcalfe, The Associated Press