ASU’s Heap one of Pac-10’s best

  • JOHN SLEEPER / Herald Writer
  • Tuesday, October 10, 2000 9:00pm
  • Sports

By JOHN SLEEPER

Herald Writer

SEATTLE – Todd Heap doesn’t have to catch passes for Arizona State to win.

Heap, the Sun Devils’ all-Pacific-10 Conference tight end whose reputation lies in his acrobatic catches, has been largely a decoy this season, yet ASU is 4-1 (1-1 Pac-10).

In five games, Heap has 17 receptions for 310 yards and two touchdowns, well below the rate he needs to duplicate last year’s marks of 55 catches for 832 yards.

Part of the reason is because foes have double-teamed Heap, a tactic Washington likely will employ Saturday night. Another is that quarterback Jeff Krohn, who started the Sun Devils’ first three games before coming down with mononucleosis, is a redshirt freshman who presents Heap with a limited aerial package.

For example, against Colorado State, Heap had four catches for just 24 yards.

ASU coach Bruce Snyder, however, hardly is worried about Heaps’ numbers.

“In my opinion, he plays his position better than anybody’s playing that position that I’ve seen across the country,” Snyder said. “He’s a strong blocker and an excellent inside route runner because he’s very quick. He’s very difficult for linebackers to run with. He’s capable of out-rebounding defensive backs.”

Yet, the attention Heap has reaped from defenders has opened up things for the Sun Devils’ other receivers, especially in deep patterns.

Griffin Goodman completed just 11 of 28 passes against Cal Saturday, but the completions went for 394 yards. Goodman threw touchdown passes of 50, 68 and 50 yards and also tossed a 54-yard completion.

“It’s fine with me, as long as we’re winning,” Heap said.

  • Another week, another homecoming: UW coach Rick Neuheisel is returning to the area where he grew up and where his parents still live. This is his first trip back as a head coach.

    Neuheisel attended ASU games since he was 5. He always had a ticket, but he and some buddies would sneak in, he said, because it was more fun that way.

    “I’d beg players for their sweat bands,” he said.

  • Kush back: ASU hired former Sun Devils coach Frank Kush, 71, over the summer as a special assistant to the athletic director. His role is largely one as a fundraiser.

    Kush was fired as coach in 1979 amid charges that he punched punter Kevin Rutledge during a 1978 ASU-Washington game in Seattle and that he tried to cover up the incident.

    The firing put an end to a 22 1/2-season run of success in which the Sun Devils were 176-54-1, with nine Western Athletic Conference titles and a 6-1 bowl record.

    After Kush’s exit, the NCAA slapped Arizona State with a two-year penalty of no bowls and no television for 20 recruiting violations during the 1978-79 school year.

  • Short routes: UW tailback Paul Arnold sat out Tuesday’s practice with a bruised knee. He is expected back today and should be ready for the ASU game … Neuheisel said Ja’Warren Hooker has been by his office hoping to see Neuheisel to talk about the track star/wide receiver’s future in football, but that Neuheisel had been out. Hooker had been in Sydney, Australia with the U.S. Olympic track team.
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