Redshirt freshman Finkenberg looking to stick at tackle

FILLING THE VOID: Redshirt freshman Evan Finkenberg (62) inherited an important role on the offensive line when two expected starters were forced to end their football careers due to nagging injuries. (Photo by Scott Stuk)

For the ASU football team to succeed in 2010, the newly revamped offensive line must significantly improve last season’s performance.

The unit gave up just under two sacks per game in 2009, ranking the Sun Devils 63 out of 120 Football Bowl Subdivision teams in the category.

Unfortunately for ASU, fifth year senior guard Jon Hargis suffered a torn ACL during a spring practice and is expected to miss the majority of his senior campaign.

Adding to the offensive line woes, expected starter and redshirt junior left guard Matt Hustad recently decided to end his football career due to nagging knee pains stemming from two separate season-ending injuries.

With Hustad and Hargis out of the picture, the Sun Devils’ probable front five will feature no one with more than 10 career starts.

Hoping to become a staple in Tempe for years to come is 6-foot-6-inch, 290-pound redshirt freshman Evan Finkenberg, who spoke with The State Press about his transition from left to right tackle, proving critics wrong, and even some off-the-field eating habits.

State Press: How thrilled are you to get your first start?

Evan Finkenberg: I’m excited. You know, the season is almost upon us. I’ve just been working really hard this whole year so now it’s almost here.

SP: What’s been the biggest adjustment for you personally since you’ve gotten to ASU?

EF: Just trying to get the footwork down now that I’m on the right side. I’m getting more and more comfortable each day with it.

SP: Are you guys, as the front five, ready to surprise some people who may doubt you?

EF: For sure. I think our whole offensive line is really athletic this year and we’re going to start opening up some big holes for the running backs to run through. It’s going to be a big year for us.

SP: What’s the relationship between you and the rest of the line, are you all friends?

EF: We’re all pretty tight. We all go out to dinner sometimes. We eat lunch together. Every meal pretty much. We’re just a tight group.

SP: How important is it for whomever the starting quarterback may be to trust that the line can create and maintain a pocket?

EF: All the quarterbacks are going to lead us out on the field. They know that we are going to perform for them and make it a good year.

SP: The running game is going to be key for this offense, has it looked up to par through two-a-days?

EF: It looks good. The running lanes are getting wider and wider each day. We’re getting better at run blocks and just really gelling as a unit.

Reach the reporter at tyler.emerick@asu.edu