What You Need To Know About The Arizona State Offense
– It would’ve been really, really nice if Billy Napier was still around as the offensive coordinator, but instead he’s off to be the head man at Louisiana. Rob Likens will step up into the OC gig after dealing with quarterbacks and receivers, he has to try keeping the momentum going from a solid attack that finished averaging 431 yards and 32 points per game.
Getting back QB Manny Wilkins is a huge help. The veteran turned in an underappreicated season – that’s what happens when you’re in a division with Sam Darnold, Josh Rosen, and Khalil Tate – throwing for 3,278 yards and 20 scores with eight picks, and he ran for seven scores. He’ll be in for a huge season because …
– The receiving corps will be among the best in the conference. Third-leading receiver Jalen Harvey will likely end up at safety, but he’s not needed with N’Keal Harry and Kyle Williams back after combining for close to 2,000 yards and 15 scores. Throwing Harvey into the mix, the top six targets are back. They all need to be great, because …
– The running game is a big question mark. Having a mobile quarterback like Wilkins helps, but losing Demario Richard and Kalen Ballage stings. Eno Benjamin is a terrific option who should shine with more time, but he was banged up this spring and didn’t get to do much, and the team is counting on some newcomers to play a role.
On the plus side, the O line will be a plus with four starters returning and with Stanford grad transfer Casey Tucker about to take over the left tackle job, and USC’s Roy Hemsley coming in to help the cause. Now this group has to be far better in pass protection after giving up 41 sacks.
Biggest Key To The Arizona State Offense
Be effective on the ground. ASU was 4-2 when averaging four yards or more per carry, and and 3-4 when it didn’t. The passing game might just be too good to care about a rushing attack that doesn’t have the sure-thing pieces in the backfield, but the big O line has to rock in pass protection – giving up 41 sacks last season were way too many – and it all tied into the yards per carry.