Football preparing for hostile environment

TAKE TWO: Redshirt junior quarterback Steven Threet takes a snap during last weekend's 41-20 win over NAU. Saturday's game against No. 11 will be Threet's second look at the Badgers, who he beat while starting at Michigan in 2008. (Photo by Scott Stuk)

Redshirt junior quarterback Steven Threet has seen it.

The ASU football team (2-0)?

Not so much.

Threet, who played against Wisconsin when he was with Michigan, and his Sun Devils teammates spent Tuesday preparing for their upcoming road game against the No. 11 Badgers (2-0) at Camp Randall Stadium on Saturday.

“There was obviously a lot of attention being spent,” ASU coach Dennis Erickson said. “This is a little bit different than the first two weeks in terms of our preparation and who we play.”

The Badgers, in many ways, epitomize stereotypical Big Ten Conference football. They’ve finished 15th, 14th and 21st in the country in rushing yards the last three years, they have a monstrous 255-pound running back — Heisman hopeful and redshirt junior John Clay — and their offensive line averages over 320 pounds per man.

Erickson said he wouldn’t know if his defense is up for the task until he sees helmets collide Saturday.

“It will be a tremendous challenge for us,” Erickson said. “All of those guys [on Wisconsin’s offense] are back and have been starters for three years now. We haven’t really seen that since I have been here. It’s hard to simulate that sometimes how they are going to come after you.”

Erickson said that Stanford, which featured a large, powerful running back in Toby Gerhart, a big offensive line and also ran out of power running formations against ASU in 2009, is comparable to the Badgers’ offense.

Toby Gerhart and Stanford blew out the Sun Devils last season 33-14.

“[Clay and Gerhart] are both very physical,” Erickson said. “Clay is a little bigger. They are a little different. Clay is really a powerful guy; Gerhart moves a little better.”

Clay finished last season with 1,517 yards rushing and led the Big Ten with 18 touchdowns. He has 260 yards and four touchdowns through two games this year.

Threet played UW while he was the Wolverine’s starting quarterback in 2008, a game where UM came back from a 19-0 deficit to win 25-27.

Threet recorded an 89-yard run and threw a touchdown pass.

“I remember all of it,” Threet said. “It was a tough game. They played pretty well and we were able to come back.”

While Threet has never played in Madison, he’s traveled there as a recruit and almost committed to Wisconsin.

“It’s a big time stadium,” Threet said. “It will be intense; 80-something thousand [people] and it will sell out. The score is what will affect the crowd noise the most. They are a great team and it’s an opportunity to see how we do in a hostile environment. ”

According to the official UW Athletics website, UW has ranked among the top 16 in the nation in attendance since 1972.

Notes

Erickson said junior offensive lineman Mark Marcisz would be given repetitions with the first team at left guard throughout the week, a position the Sun Devils struggled with last Saturday.

Reach the reporter at nick.ruland@asu.edu