Oppo Notes: The Sun Devil Defense

Doug Pensinger

We take a look at ASU's stout and opportunistic defense led by standouts Will Sutton and Carl Bradford.

Statistically, Arizona St. has a strong defense. They allow 24 points per game, 120 rushing yards, and 218 passing yards, which is good for 45th, 17th, and 41st, nationally. Those numbers alone would indicate that the Sun Devils pose a good challenge, but where the defense really excels is in forcing turnovers. The Sun Devils are 10th in the country with 25 turnovers on defense. Given the fact that UCLA had trouble hanging on to the ball last week, you can be sure that the Sun Devil tacklers will be aggressively trying to strip the ball this Saturday.

Unfortunately, Arizona St. does not issue a weekly depth chart, but they do play a lot of bodies on the defensive side of the ball, so I'll note the impact players in the following paragraphs. They also employ a very hybrid oriented defense, which blurs the lines of typical positions.

ASU's defensive line has been very good thus far this season, and they will pose a good challenge to our offensive line on Saturday. Tackle Will Sutton (6'2 285 Sr.) is the marquee name on the line. On the year, Sutton has 2 sacks and 8.5 tackles for loss from his interior line spot, which is down from last year's production. He has unbelievable quickness and power, and surprised a lot of people by coming back for his senior season despite being a projected early pick in the NFL draft.

The other starter inside is Jaxon Hood (6'0 299 So.). Hood is a big body that complements Sutton's penetrating style very well. Overall, this is one of the better tackle tandems that our line has faced all year.

Technically, ASU has one defensive end in Davon Coleman (6'1 283 Sr.), but Carl Bradford (6'1 242 Jr.) is essentially a defensive end despite being listed as a "Devil" linebacker. Bradford does have the ability to drop into coverage and will do so from time to time, but he excels at getting to the passer. The two have combined for 10.5 sacks and 21.5 tackles for loss and should provide a good challenge for our tackles.

While Bradford is a hybrid linebacker/lineman, the Sun Devil defense also employs a "Spur" linebacker which is a hybrid linebacker/safety. That spot is filled by ASU's leading tackler, Chris Young (6'0 244 Sr.), who has tallied 71 tackles.

The other linebackers are Salamo Fiso (6'0 226 Fr.) and Steffon Martin (6'1 231 Sr.). The two have 44 and 30 tackles, respectively, and they both are perfectly suited to defend spread offenses with good speed and coverage ability.

In the secondary, ASU returns two experienced corners in Osahon Irabor (5'11 180 Sr.) and Alden Darby (5'10 185 Sr.), and safeties Robert Nelson (5'11 169 Sr.), Damarious Randall (5'11 178 So.) and Lloyd Carrington (6'1 185 So.). While they lack big, imposing safeties, the group is versatile and excels in coverage. As a group, they have tallied 15 interceptions and 3 touchdowns, as well as held opponents to a 53% completion rate.

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That concludes the preview of the Pac-12 South leading Arizona St. Sun Devils. Fire away with any additional comments.

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