• January 22, 2022
 Video+Gallery+Quotes: FSU, ASU coordinators share thoughts on Tony The Tiger Sun Bowl preps

Photo by Andres ‘Ace’ Acosta – El Paso Herald Post

Video+Gallery+Quotes: FSU, ASU coordinators share thoughts on Tony The Tiger Sun Bowl preps

Saturday morning, the offensive and defensive coordinators from Arizona State and Florida State attended a press conference, sharing their thoughts on the upcoming game and answering a few questions.

The 86th Annual Tony The Tiger Sun Bowl is set for Tuesday, December 31 at 12 p.m. (MT) in Sun Bowl Stadium.

Arizona State Co-Offensive Coordinator Shaun Aguano

Opening Statement:

Thank you for having us here and we’re excited. Our guys have been off for almost a month and now we’re getting back to practice, so we’re excited. Just being from Arizona State, it’s been awesome this week so we’re excited.

Highlights from his week in El Paso so far:

The hospitality has been incredible and out practice has been good. We’re looking at out second practice today and trying to refine everything that we’re doing.

Regarding Eno Benjamin not playing in the game and how his possible replacements look:

They look fantastic. It’s their chance to shine now. Eno took about 90% of the reps this season, but those guys are ready and it’s nice for them to step up, so we’re excited about that.

How has your job changed in the past couple of weeks?

We’ve been out recruiting so Coach Christensen has done the majority of the work back at the office, but just making sure we collaborate together in anything that he needs from the offensive side and getting ready to prepare for this game. So, it hasn’t changed much, we’re just excited to play.

Is there an advantage to playing in similar weather than back home in Arizona?

I think so, it’s our home field, we’re closer than Florida State. Our kids have been practicing outdoors, the weather is exactly the same and so it won’t be uncomfortable for our guys.

On Florida State’s Defense:

Of course, Florida State has always been very athletic and they don’t make mistakes, so we’re going to have to play our best game and not turn over the ball to be successful.

Arizona State Co-Offensive Coordinator Dave Christensen

Opening Statement:

Well it’s certainly a pleasure to be here and this is my third opportunity calling plays in the Sun Bowl. It’s been a great experience with the exception of not winning those two other games, but the hospitality is second to none. Obviously traditionally this is a great venue, I know our staff, our players are excited to be here and we’re really looking forward to playing this game.

Regarding new Title Sponsor, Tony the Tiger:

Yea, I think they’re GR-R-REAT! But I haven’t had any Frosted Flakes yet, but no it’s been fantastic to see Tony the Tiger everywhere. Again, you guys have done a fantastic job here. They take care of all of our needs, the entertainment’s been great, the hospitality, players are well taken care of. Like I said, it is second to none, I’ve been to a lot of bowl games in my 38-year career and have been treated well here each and every time.

How has your job changed in the past couple of weeks?

It’s not uncharted territory, I was an offensive coordinator for 16 years, so I’ve been in this position a number of times. Obviously, game planning, most of our staff is out. Got guys on the road and a couple of us back home so you get back in the mode of game planning again, writing scripts, drawing up practice plans and cards, just putting together a game plan. I was coaching offensive line and mainly focused on the run game and preparation for this game, obviously I had to come up with a game plan.

Regarding the two Freshman Offensive Linemen LaDarius Henderson and Dohnovan West and how far they’ve come since the beginning of the season:

It’s interesting you ask me that because LaDarius hit me up the other day and said he had a growth spurt and now he’s 6’5’’. Not only is he 6’5’’ he’s not 17 anymore, so now I got an 18-year-old left tackle. He’s grown an inch in the season but he and Dohnovan have done a fantastic job as true freshman. We’ve talked a number of times in 38 years of coaching I’ve never started two true freshmen in my entire career. I’ve started one freshman in 38 years and this year I’ve started two all season. They’ve done a fantastic job getting better each game and they’re continuing to get better and stronger but they’re still freshman.

Arizona State Defensive Coordinator Tony White

Opening Statement:

I know everybody says this, but it really is an honor to be back home, got a chance to see so many people being back, family, friends, people who have helped me out all my career. I told the guys I remember walking off that bus seeing the dancers and singers in 2000 as a player and came back one time when UCLA played here against Northwestern, and now I get a chance to coach it. This game means a lot both personally and as well calling it for the first time against a great Florida State program, a lot of tradition, a lot of great athletes over there. I think it’s going to be a great game as Mr. Olivas said and we’re looking forward to going out there and playing hard.

How has your job changed in the past couple of weeks?

Things changed a lot. I’m totally opposite of Coach Christensen, this is his first time calling it so he knows a lot. But being with Coach Edwards and Coach Lewis and then having all that NFL presence around I think it’s been a pretty eye-opening experience for me. I think we got a great staff, a lot of great football minds.

On missing players this game:

It really comes down to fundamentals, focusing on what you want to do, having your identity and making sure players play fast and execute. Again, with all guys not playing, coaching changes on both sides, you just want to make sure the players feel comfortable in the game plan.

Florida State Defensive Coordinator Harlon Barnett

Coach they are obviously missing a running back (Eno Benjamin) and receiver (Brandon Aiyuk) how does that if at all change what you guys do?

Change what we do, I wouldn’t necessarily say that, but we thank God for that, cause those two guys are really good football players. Number two and number three, they’re really good football players for them and you know, they’ll make their adjustments just like everybody else does when you have an injury or guys not playing or what have you, but as far as us adjusting any differently, yeah we don’t have to be concerned about those two guys so we’re going to stick with our plan.

Stanford Samuels III having declared did that catch you a little by surprise and how does that shuffle the depth chart at corner?

Well a place like Florida State you’re not really surprised about a guy after three years declaring and things like that, so wish him nothing but the best and told him that and if he needs me for anything, he can always call me. As far as changing around what we’re going to do we got some guys opportunity, it’s an opportunity now for a guy like Isaiah Bolden or a guy like Akeem Dent, A.J. Lytton, those type of guys to step out there and play some corner for us and do a good job and we believe they will.

What’s the scouting report on Arizona States offense?

Quarterback is good man, for a freshman, true freshman, he’s very poised, understands the offense, does a good job of running their offense, they believe in what their system tells them to do and they’ve got a deep threat in 84 (Frank Darby) at wide receiver, number 10 (Kyle Williams) is another good receiver for them. They’re a good team, offensive line works well together, so we got to go in there prepared, our guys know this and we’ll be ready to go, we’ll be ready to go, hopefully we’ll play the best game of the year, our best game of the year.”

How have the players responded to all the uncertainty in the last few weeks?

They’ve been great, believe it or not man, they’ve been great, like everything is normal, but even though they know it’s not truly normal. They’ve responded to us extremely well, they’re going out there working hard and I wish them nothing but the best. The reason why I’m even in this is because of the players and I, that’s what I truly believe and so I’m giving them everything I got, I told them that and they know that all the way till the very end. That’s why I’m in business and when you do it that way and not because of any other then you gonna be alright and they’re gonna come out and play very well for us on Tuesday, I truly believe that.

Cory Durden a guy you think you’ll have available on Tuesday?

I think so, yessir.

Our very own Andres ‘Ace’ Acosta was there and we bring you his view of the conference via this gallery.

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