September 1, 2008
Carpenter feeling comfortable with offense
The development of Rudy Carpenter was apparent Saturday night.
The senior quarterback is making better reads, his footwork has improved and his throwing motion is more compact and efficient.
But most importantly for Carpenter, the game is slowing down.
"I have a better grasp of the offense now and it allows me to make decision faster," Carpenter said Monday. "So it does feel like the game has slowed down for me and I can just pick what I want to do."
And against Northern Arizona Saturday night, Carpenter was doing exactly what he wanted to, completing 22 of his 28 pass attempts for 388 yards and one touchdown in just two and a half quarters of work.
"Hopefully it keeps on working out that way," he said.
Carpenter said that as the 2006 season was coming to a close, the college game was beginning to slow down for him.
But then the program underwent a major transformation when Coach Dennis Erickson was hired following the 2006 season.
Carpenter was forced to learn a whole new system, and he admitted that he was not as comfortable as he wanted to be in 2007.
"I had to get used to a new offense and a new scheme and a whole new set of rules for me and new protections for me," Carpenter said. "I wasn't as comfortable as I would have liked to have been last year."
But Carpenter has put in a lot of work since ASU's 2007 season came to a close last December.
Over the summer, he spent countless hours working with the receiving corps, and the relationship he built with those guys has helped him as much as anything.
"I'm very comfortable with all the guys that we got," Carpenter said.
And Erickson has noticed how well Carpenter and the wide receivers have gotten along.
He said their faith they have in each other will make a huge impact in the passing game.
"They've played together a long time, they spent a lot of time this summer," Erickson said. "They've got confidence in each other. Rudy has a pretty good feel of where they're going to be. He's been working with Mike (Jones) and Chris (McGaha) and Kyle (Williams) and Kerry (Taylor), those four in particular, for a long period of time."
And the time Carpenter spent with those receivers has already paid dividends.
Against NAU, those four totaled 15 receptions for 347 yards and Taylor was the recipient of Carpenter's touchdown pass.
Of the core group of receivers, Carpenter said he feels the most comfortable with Jones.
The two entered the program at the same time and have worked together for the past four seasons.
Carpenter said Jones has really improved in every aspect of his game since Coach Eric Yarber arrived prior to the 2007 season.
Jones was Carpenter's top target Saturday, but Carpenter still wants to get more out of his fellow senior.
"I told Mike after the game he needs to get a track coach," Carpenter joked, "because I should have had two more touchdown passes but he got caught."
Carpenter was referring to two third quarter passes to Jones that went for more than 45 yards each. Jones had a chance to score both times but didn't.
On the first, Jones had the ball punched out at the 1-yard line. On the second Jones chose the wrong alley to run through and was stopped at the 14-yard line.
Another aspect of Carpenter's game that was on display Saturday was his mobility.
He led the team with 40 rushing yards.
Running with the football was something Carpenter did his first two seasons in Tempe, but backed off of in 2007.
Carpenter said he prefers to throw the football, but will run if he feels he needs to.
"That was one kind of the reasons why I tried to put on a little bit of weight, get a little bit bigger and in better shape so I can do that a little bit more," he said.
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