Chase Lucas is plenty steamed.
He apologizes for using some choice words that can’t be repeated here but reinforce Lucas’ point about not living up to his reputation as Arizona State football’s most talented defensive player. At least last week against Colorado.
The sophomore cornerback is holding up his hand to accept blame for two critical third-quarter completions in the Buffs’ 28-21 win. First was a 30-yard touchdown pass to Laviska Shenault and late a 51-yard strike to K.D. Nixon to the ASU 1-yard line, setting up what proved to be the game-winning TD.
“I knew it from the jump, I just lost us that (expletive) game,” Lucas said. “I’m a bigger critic on me than anybody else, and I don’t care what nobody says on Twitter.”
Except that he does care enough to read critical comments about him on social media after Colorado and even agreed with some. “It was a wake-up call,” Lucas said. “People want to praise you when you do stuff right, but I shouldn’t have played into that. I like seeing stuff like that — Chase is garbage. It’s going to fuel me up. Seeing those are our fans, I was embarrassed because I’m not no embarrassment.”
Lucas is far from the double or triple negative that some fans were quick to portray him as after giving up the second touchdown of his college career to Shenault, the nation’s leading receiver in yards per game, and the bomb to Nixon.
Even cornerbacks coach Tony White was kinder to Lucas than he is being to himself.
“The man coverage (for Shenault’s 30-yard TD), I can live with that,” White said. “When the receiver caught the ball, it was over the top and outside, that’s the only place the ball should be. You’re going to get beat in man coverage once in a while as long as you’re right there. I can expect the ball to beat you. I don’t want the player to beat you.”
Other plays, though, were “unacceptable” to White as well as Lucas, who was All Pac-12 second team and a freshman All-America in 2017, his first full season as a defensive back.
“There’s certain things I’m not going to stand for,” White said. “He knew right away the one that should have been intercepted. As long as we’re on the same page then it’s all about him using it as a positive for this next half of the season.
“He knew he had a bad game. When you make mistakes out on the edge, everybody in the world knows. He cares about his performance. I said to Chase, ‘Hopefully this is a turning point in your career to understand good quarterbacks, good wide receivers are not going to be scared of you. They’re going actually going to challenge you to see if you live up to the hype.’ Good players embrace that, they want to be challenged.”
ASU (3-3, 1-2 Pac-12) is off until hosting No. 24 Stanford (4-2, 2-1) on Oct. 18.
To say Lucas can’t wait for a chance at redemption while facing talented Cardinal receivers JJ Arcega-Whiteside and his friend Trenton Irwin is a major understatement.
“I’m going to restore my place as the best corner on this team,” Lucas said. “I wanted to bounce back (in the fourth quarter at Colorado) and I did, but it just wasn’t good enough.
“I’m glad I got that out of the way. Now you guys are really going to see a No. 24 that’s locked in the whole time. Next game is going to be bad for anybody that lines up against me.”