Thursday, October 18, 2007

Put down the poison pill, folks

I know I'm going to take some flak for this. I don't care. It needs to be said.

I'm as upset as anyone that Ryan Torain will be missing the rest of the season with a busted toe. It sucks. Ryan Torain is an extremely talented running back with almost unlimited potential. He really has made an impact on the transformation of ASU into a running force in the Pac-10. He should still be a high draft pick in the NFL Draft and the Devils will surely and sorely miss his presence on the field.

But am I the only one NOT:
A) banging my head on the wall?
B) using this as the second reason this decade that God hates the Sun Devils? (Number one...of course)
C) crying buckets of tears into a Four Peaks Oatmeal Stout?
D) All of the above?

I totally feel like I am. And when you really look at the grand scheme of things this season, especially in the Pacific 1o Conference...are you surprised?

USC is missing J.D. Booty. Oregon is without top receiver Cameron Colvin and RB Jeremiah Johnson for the rest of the season. Cal's loss to Oregon State can be in some way attributed to the absence of veteran QB Nate Longshore. Hell, even Stanford is missing T.C. Ostrander, but I don't think Cardinal fans seem to mind. The fact is, nearly every team in the Pac is missing a top performer, and ASU wasn't going to be spared.

And now, I'll finally say it. While losing Torain is big, it's not the worst thing that could have happened to the Sun Devils. It will make a difference in their short running game for sure, as Torain is without a doubt the best between the tackles runner on the roster. They'll miss him against USC and California for sure.

ASU is a team now recognized (imagine this!) for being able to break off a big run at any time during a game. Against Stanford, Washington State and Washington, either Dmitri Nance or Keegan Herring have been the guys to break off game changing scampers. Those guys have the potential to be momentum swingers as the Devils enter the meat of their schedule.

Unfortunately, I don't think Ryan Torain is a momentum changer. ASU can only hope that Herring or Nance inherits Torain's prowess for being able to ram the ball down the throats of opponents, but he hasn't yet showed me the ability to change the game on one play. Herring and Nance can do that.

Obviously if Arizona State loses to Cal next week and has no sign of a functioning run game, I'll be eating crow. Lots of it. And I'll admit to it on this site on October 28 if that happens.

But all I'm saying is...don't panic, Pitchfork Nation. Let us see what Keegan and Dmitri can do.


Scott Jones said...

Please. Nobody thinks this is a fatal blow to the team. Nobody thinks this is the worst thing that could have happened.

Just because people are concerned that we just lost our best player doesn't mean they think the sky is falling.

Hello! We just lost our best player. Of course people are going to be disappointed. But I'm not sure what message board you're reading where fans are banging heads against the wall, thinking we're cursed, or shedding a single tear.

Nope. All I've heard and read is that we have a couple of very capable backups, and that while they can't replace Torain, they can certainly play and might in fact bring additional assets to the table.

I also think you're wrong about being a game changer. He is. It may not be the flashy 70 yard run that his earlier pounding made possible, but he's played a huge factor in games. Hell, that gutsy 4th down pickup against WSU was a far bigger play than Keegan's long run last week.

Anyway, I'm looking forward to seeing what KH and DN can do in the Cal game, and I hope you'll join me in wishing a great NFL career to Train. Glad to hear he'll remain a captain.

Justin said...

I hear where you're coming from man. Thanks for the feedback.

To be honest, I avoid the message boards. I try to base my own opinion on what I watch and what I talk to people about. And, for the most part, many of those who I've talked to are in stage 3 freak out mode.

Don't worry about me supporting Torain, I still want the best for him without a doubt. I've loved what he's brought to the table at ASU and, like I said, he's been the major focus of ASU's reestablishment of any sort of running game. He's what I begged for for four years while we trotted out guys like Cornell Canidate, Mike Williams, Loren Wade, Randy AND Hakim Hill and even Rudy Burgess were in the backfield.

You, Scott, are the voice of reason I've been trying to find out there. Thanks for the feedback.

Justin said...

Gus Frerotte and I are choosing option A.