September 21, 2008

Notebook: Bolden has rough outing

As a true freshman, cornerback Omar Bolden could seemingly do no wrong.

What a difference a year makes.

For the second week in a row, the opposing offense picked on the sophomore and had a lot of success.

Bolden, a Freshmen All-American last season, was left on an island most of the night. On multiple critical plays in the first half he was beaten badly by Georgia receivers. He also had a 15-yard face mask penalty.

"He struggled early," Coach Dennis Erickson said. "He's a talent and he'll get better all the time but he has to believe in his own ability and come out and play."

Georgia's top receiving target was true freshman A.J. Green, and most of his 159 yards came against Bolden.

But even though Bolden has struggled as of late, his teammates haven't lost faith in their No. 1 cornerback.

"Omar is our best corner," linebacker Mike Nixon said. "We've got eight more games and we're going to need him to be the man the rest of the year. He had some ups and downs. He's faced some quality wide outs, especially this week.

"Maybe we can give him a little help. Maybe we can roll a safety over every once in a while."

Fresh faces?

Following ASU's second straight loss, Erickson might start making some changes.

He said ASU fans might start seeing some new faces on the field in the upcoming weeks.

"There are some areas on our team where we're playing with some young guys," Erickson said, "and there are some other young guys there that we need to find out who wants to play and who doesn't want to play."

Some of the guys who may see more playing time in the upcoming weeks include running back Ryan Bass, wide receiver Gerell Robinson and offensive linemen Matt Hustad and Garth Gerhart.

O-line issues

The ASU offensive line had been doing a pretty good job of protecting quarterback Rudy Carpenter this season only allowing five sacks in the first three games.

But it hadn't yet faced a defense as good as Georgia's.

The Bulldogs didn't bring very many blitzes, but still got a fair amount of pressure on Carpenter and sacked the senior four times.

And even when he wasn't sacked, Carpenter was often moved out of the pocket, and he was hit several times after he threw the ball.

Bigger problems existed with run blocking, which contributed to ASU's worse net rushing effort since 2002.

Recruits flock

Between football and basketball, there were about as many recruits in attendance as we've ever seen at an ASU football game.

Football recruits on official visits: Matthew Tucker (commit), Brock Osweiler (commit), Kody Koebensky (commit), Corey Adams, Diante Jackson, Alex Logan, Jeremiah Sirles.

Other football recruits in attendance: Chris Coyle (commit), Anthony Rose (commit), Adam Hall, Taylor Lewan, Marcus Washington, Drew Terrell, Cole Rarrick, Erik Brown, Max Smith, Sebastian Seca, David Kraus, Arby Fields

Basketball recruits on official visits: Trent Lockett (commit), Jared Cunningham (commit)

Basketball recruits visiting unofficially: Will Regan (2010), Nick Johnson (2011) Alex Kirk (2010).

Extra points

  • Terell Carr started at left cornerback over Pierre Singfield, but both saw significant playing time.

  • Linebacker Morris Wooten saw his first game action Saturday after missing the first three games due to a suspension. Wooten was ASU's leading defensive player with eight tackles.

  • Carpenter surpassed the 9,000-yard career passing mark Saturday.

  • Thomas Weber's second quarter field goal tied a school record of 15 consecutive games with a made field goal.

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