The 2007 Sun Devils strive to build cohesion among the players and form their identity as a team.…
Rodd Poised for Triumphant Finish
Last week in the win over Cal, Arizona State rushed for 181 net yards on one of the best defenses in the PAC-10. Left tackle Brandon Rodd was an integral part of that stat and is more than qualified enough to speak on behalf of the offensive line. "As an offensive line," Rodd said, "we have been improving every week." ASU's victory against Cal was the offensive line's best performance this season, according to Rodd. "When we started the season everyone thought that we had all this experience on the line, but we just haven't gelled together and played as a whole unit until this Cal game," he said. "It showed in the second half when we just took over and held the ball for the last six minutes," he added. Rodd said that the ability of the line to pick up the blitz has evolved from practice and experience. "Some of (blitz problems) were the offensive line, but not all of them," he noted. It is the experience, according to Rodd, that has come from all aspects of the team. "The running backs, Carpenter is seeing it better and the receivers are getting open quicker, he commented. "It has been a combination of everything and just us wanting it more," he added. Being motivated helps any team, and according to Rodd, there is a level of motivation in the ASU program that has not been there in the past. "Everyone looks forward to coming to practice this year," he said. "It's a whole different feeling." "We have had so many seasons where it has been a mediocre team and we know that winning isn't easy," Rodd said about the team's attitude. "So we know what we have to do and the things that we have been doing lately have been working." Tough game wins don't equal easy practices for the Sun Devils this year, he said. "We know on Tuesday and Wednesday that we need to come out here and practice as hard as we can. Even if we are hurting and still a little banged up we have to go out there and play hard," he said. At camp Tontozona in (August/September?) lineman Zach Krula said "it makes it a lot easier when you like the people you are blocking for," and it seems that every Sun Devil likes Keegan Herring and Dimitri Nance right now. "Without Torain it hurts us a little," Rodd said. "But with those two other guys; they stepped it up last week and showed it. I mean, Dimitri had three touchdowns." Rodd, who protects Carpenter's blind side enjoys playing for Carpenter as well, because if he misses his block (he knows he is not going to win every battle, he said) Carpenter has the ability to slip out of the pocket and avoid disaster. "That takes a little blame off of me," Rodd laughed. This Saturday the Devils are traveling to Oregon to face the Ducks, in what will be their toughest test of the season. Not only do they face a higher ranked Duck team but they will face a boisterous crowd in Autzen stadium. "We are underdogs," Rodd said. "We have to do into their place and no one thinks we have a chance. We have to show what we have." Rodd said that he feels like ASU has been playing as the underdog all season long despite their rising rank. "No one thinks that we can do anything," Rodd said about the rest of the country. "Everyone thinks that ASU is mediocre program and somewhere in the middle of the pack. This year we are trying to show that we are a real team." A win Saturday would be a great way to show the nation what they have said Rodd who is looking forward to playing on national television. "They say Oregon is the loudest stadium in the PAC 10," Rodd said about Autzen. "But we have been working on our snap count all week so we should be fine, that shouldn't be an aspect of the game." This is Rodd's last year at ASU and the nostalgic butterflies are beginning to flutter in his stomach. "Me, Mike Pollak and Brent Miller have all been talking about it," Rodd said about leaving the ASU Devils. "Even tonight it is Halloween, but we are just trying to go out of our careers right," Rodd said about making smart decisions in his senior year. "We have a legit shot to go to the Rose Bowl or maybe even the national championship. We talk about it a lot, and there is a lot more important things football wise right now than there is anything else." With the end of his Sun Devil career nearing Rodd can't help but think about a future career in the NFL. "It's always on the back of my mind," he said. "But what's important to us right now as seniors is finishing this season right. We have four more games and we have to take one at a time." "This week that is Oregon, all we think about this week is Oregon."
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