Offense braces for Utah lineman Lotulelei
This might be the fourth straight week that ASU has gone up against a back-up quarterback. But this will be the third time the ASU offense will face a strong offense front.
The ASU offense had success moving the ball against Illinois. Missouri was a different story.
Redshirt sophomore offensive lineman Jamil Douglas admitted he wished the battle up front was different.
“I think we had too many mistakes as a unit,” Douglas said. “First time on the road, we can’t let those types of things get to us. We got to get better prepared for this week.”
Last week the defensive star was Sheldon Richardson. He had nine total tackles including one for loss.
The defensive star for Utah is appropriately named Star. Senior defensive tackle Star Lotulelei won the Morris Trophy for best conference defensive lineman last season.
He has picked up right where he left off this season recording 10 solo tackles, one sack and 2 forced fumbles.
ASU offensive coordinator Mike Norvell said preparing for Lotulelei is a large part of the offensive game plan.
“He’s a big force,” Norvell said. “We have to keep him off balanced a little bit and obviously do different things. He’s a guy that presents a great challenge.”
As a guard, Douglas will spend a good portion of Saturday’s game matched up against Lotulelei and is ready for that responsibility.
“Star’s going to do him. I got to be physical with him I can’t let him dictate where he wants to go,” Douglas said. “We’re going to have a game plan for him. We’re going to be alright for Star.”
Lotulelei is a 6-foot-4, 320 pound interior lineman. He is larger than ASU’s 6-foot-2, 271 pound Will Sutton. But both defensive linemen have similar skills and are very explosive for their size.
Douglas said he and Sutton have faced off every chance they can in practice. Sutton has given the offensive line a good look to prepare for Lotulelei.
Lotulelei is the anchor of the Utes defense. Norvell said that ASU cannot over-prepare for him though.
“Their entire defensive front is solid with quality players,” Norvell said. “If you focus all of your attention on him then it isolates other guys in one-on-ones. We definitely have to do a great job of executing.”
As a unit, Douglas said that the offensive line has to be aggressive early this week against the strong Utah front.
He said last week the team started off slow against Missouri. They picked up in the second but it was not good enough. The team will be looking to the offensive line to set the tempo this week.
Graham against injury report
Coach Todd Graham was asked about a possible Pac-12 universal injury report and said that he would be against it. He said that in college football, some information should remain private.
“We don’t want to take a chance putting kids in jeopardy,” Graham said. “These guys are student athletes.”
To be specific about the status of certain players is not something Graham would like to do. For example, if his quarterback suddenly has a sore shoulder, he does not want that information released for other teams to know.
Monday Graham said that freshman running back Terrell Davis will not see the field this year. The plan is to redshirt him.
Senior defensive lineman Corey Adams again spent practice at muscle beach yesterday. He will not play this Saturday.
Reach the reporter at email@example.com