As Todd Graham attempts to take the Arizona State Sun Devils to the Rose Bowl in 2013, he will need to rely on his defense to step up in a major way next season. The Pac 12 has some high-powered offensive attacks, a few of which tripped up ASU last season. While there are few doubts that the Sun Devils’ front seven will be one of the best in the conference, there are some concerns about the secondary after the unit was burned deep a number of times in 2012. One cover-man they don’t have to worry about, however, is cornerback Osahon Irabor.
Irabor didn’t exactly light up the stat sheet in 2012, recording just 37 tackles and a lone interception. But that was because quarterbacks didn’t often test him. His 13 pass breakups were reason enough why as he shut down receivers he got matched up on. He was able to stick on the very best receivers when he got on them and rarely was the responsible party when a pass play beat ASU deep.
He will need to be even better, however, in 2013, stepping up his game to truly become a leader of the ASU defense. With some of the top passing offenses in the conference on the Sun Devils’ schedule next season, a stout pass defense will be absolutely critical to their chances of winning the Pac 12 South and punching their ticket to Pasadena next January.
That will mean more turnovers. Last season, Irabor created just two turnovers with his interception and a forced fumble. To turn the tide of games in his team’s favor, he must become a better playmaker for the ball and give possession back to his offense.
His coverage skills are unmatched at ASU and he will be one of the best in the conference, but there’s more he can do to take ASU to the next level in 2013.