Q&A with ASU OT Jamil Douglas on next battle with UCLAPosted: Updated:
TEMPE, Ariz. -- Ring the bell, it's fight night.
No. 15 Arizona State plays host to No. 12 UCLA on Thursday night in what has become the Pac-12 South's top rivalry. Since the conference split into divisions in 2011, the winner of this game has claimed the division title each time.
There are no shortage of compelling storylines in this game, so I caught up with senior left tackle Jamil Douglas to discuss them and to get his take on what battling the Bruins for a fourth time means.
How do you feel the offensive line has done through the first three games?
JD: "I think we've done pretty well. Every week there is stuff for us to fix, but I think if you look at what we've been able to accomplish in the run game as well as the pass, I think we're doing a pretty good job. We look to build upon it this week."
This has also been your first game action at left tackle. How are you feeling at your new position?
JD: "I think it's going pretty good. There is always stuff that I'm going to have to clean up every week. I've just been working on it during the practice week."
With the extra week off, what kind of things have the linemen been working on?
JD: "Mainly technique stuff. Making sure we're sharp with our hands and our feet. Sometimes we get out of our technique a little bit, and that can get us in trouble, but we've corrected that over this bye week."
What is it like blocking for a back as dynamic as D.J. Foster?
JD "We love blocking for D.J. and seeing him get to the second level because it's not a good matchup for whoever is back there. We have a good time blocking for him, and he appreciates it, so that makes our job even more fun."
This summer, you told me ASU had the potential to be the No. 1 offense in the nation. What have the first three games of the year told you about the unit?
JD: "I think we've done pretty well. It's still a long season, so there is time for us to build up on things and get some things corrected, but we're on track to be where we should be."
The big storyline heading into the game has been the injury to Taylor Kelly and the elevation of Mike Bercovici to starter. What is the team's confidence level in him?
JD: "I think everyone is confident in him. Berco has been here for so long, his voice is already someone we listen to. He has a command for the offense, and he's taken one reps in the spring. We have a tremendous amount of confidence in him and will do the best to protect him and let him make plays."
Other than the Arizona Wildcats, the rivalry with UCLA is atop the list of anticipated games for the Sun Devils. What's your take on what this rivalry has become over your time here?
JD: "Just because of what's at stake, it always comes down to the last play. It's always a high-caliber competition. We look forward to this game every year. We know we're going to get their best shot and they're going to get ours."
What are you expecting to see from the Bruin defense?
JD: "We expect them to do some different things, because they've had a long time to prepare for us. They have a great defensive front. Their line is explosive. I'm sure we'll have our work cut out for us."
The Blackout is a big deal for fans, but does it have any impact on the players? Any extra excitement or energy generated from it?
JD: "Not really. Any game that we dress out, we're pumped up for. We like all our uniforms. The feeling you get running out of this tunnel is amazing. You can't helped but be pumped up."