“We are closer together than ever,” Carr described. “We have lost three games in a row and it bothers us, but we are practicing harder than ever. We have worked hard all year and are coming out and practicing with great intensity. We came out here and flew around the practice field and gave great effort.”
Deveron Carr believes that one of the main reasons for this team’s positive attitude and perseverance is the leadership of Head Coach Todd Graham.
“We will never let up, I can guarantee you that,” Car claimed. Coach Graham would never let himself slip, and I feel he cares more about us than he does himself.”
Under Graham’s leadership, the players have a new attitude and different approach to practice this year, regardless of the outcome in the previous week.
“Last year guys were quitting,” Carr admitted. “This year we are focused on picking ourselves up and focusing on the next game. I feel like that’s the mindset of our whole team. It doesn’t matter if we win or lose, our attitude at practice is the same.”
The whole coaching staff has been setting a great example for the young Sun Devils, and the senior cornerback believes they set the tone and motivate everyone during every practice.
“The coaches play a big part, as they come out here every day and coach us hard,” Carr remarked. “They come out to practice with so much intensity, and they are working long hours. They are only getting three to four hours a sleep every night, while we are able to leave the stadium every day before them.
“We feel like if they are putting in that much work, then it’s on us to put in the work during practice.”
Even though there are a lot of noticeable improvements in the Sun Devils’ defense this year, this group is still focused on correcting their mistakes and making adjustments instead of being satisfied with their progress thus far.
“We like that we have fewer penalties and are more disciplined,” Carr explained, “but we are focused on what we need to do to improve our weaknesses. I want to watch what I did wrong so I can correct it and make myself a better player. That’s the attitude of everyone on defense.”
That approach was clear when Carr was reflecting on the defensive performance last week against Oregon State.
“I feel like we could have done better,” Carr confessed. “At the same time you can’t dwell on what happened last Saturday and you need to focus on the next game. If you dwell on the past, you are slowing your progress and we are focused on progressing. We need to focus on bringing it this week.”
That focus will be put to the test as Deveron Carr and the rest of the ASU defense must prepare to face USC and its high powered offense led by senior quarterback and one of the top NFL draft prospects in Matt Barkley.
“I feel like USC might have the best receivers in the country,” Carr said, “and they have a great quarterback. It’s a great challenge for our defense. This is the best receiving core that we will see all year. They are all ball hogs that constantly try to run away from you.
“It’s going to be a great challenge for our secondary. We need to focus on limiting the big play and play fundamental football on defense. It’s easier said than done, but that’s when the hard work pays off.”