Seniors to relish final home game Friday

11-25-08 Football
ASU quarterback throws a pass during a game against Oregon at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe Oct. 25. (Matt Pavelek/The State Press)
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Tuesday, November 25, 2008
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Attention couldn’t be drawn away from the ASU football team’s upcoming senior day during coach Dennis Erickson’s weekly press conference Monday.

“To me, senior day is really important that we all get together and let them go out the right way at home,” Erickson said. “That's what this week is all about as far as I'm concerned."

Even Monday’s practice ended with the chant, “seniors,” as ASU prepared for its final home game of the season Friday against UCLA (4-6, 3-4 Pac-10).

That’s understandable.

ASU (4-6, 3-4) has 15 seniors on its squad, including quarterback Rudy Carpenter, who couldn’t help but reminisce about his career at ASU while looking ahead to his final home game.

“I know I had a successful career here, and I’m proud of what I did here,” Carpenter said.

Carpenter will end his career with ASU as the second winningest quarterback in school history, in part because he was able to throw for more than 10,000 yards and has started 41 straight games.

“I thought it was [going to be] cool,” Carpenter said of senior day. “But now I’m kind of like, ‘Man, I wish I had a couple of more games.’ It’s pretty weird I guess.”

Nevertheless, make no mistake about his poise. Carpenter consistently referred to the Sun Devils’ remainder of 2008 as a “one-week season” as ASU makes its final push for a bowl game.

Lauding the big guys

In response to improved running performances, both Erickson and his quarterback had nothing but praise for an ASU offensive line that has been criticized for much of the season.

Junior offensive tackle Shawn Lauvao was specifically called out by his quarterback.

“Shawn has done a great job,” Carpenter reiterated. “He’s played two positions, which is extremely hard at the offensive line position, especially when you’re playing tackle; that’s hard. The footwork and the technique is so, so different.”

Lauvao has started every game this season. Injuries to the offensive line forced Lauvao to make the move from guard to tackle, something he had not done since high school.

“It was hard. They needed me to step up and that’s what I’m here to do,” Lauvao said after practice. “You really have to push more and it changes what you’re used to doing.”

Bye, bye, bye

The team now looks forward to its Friday matchup against the Bruins after enjoying their third bye of the season.

“It seems like we’ve had a hundred byes,” Erickson said.

UCLA, who also needs to win the rest of its games to earn a postseason bowl invite, presents a defense that Erickson called one of the best in the conference.

Carpenter agreed, saying he would be ready for more than just senior day as his team looks to extend its winning streak to three games Friday.

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