August 6, 2008
Erickson pleased with enthusiastic Tuesday
At the end of Tuesday's practice, Arizona State coach Dennis Erickson said what a lot of his players were probably thinking.
"I can't wait until we get pads on," Erickson said. "You can only do so much in underwear."
Practicing in shorts and helmets, the Sun Devils were even more physically inclined in their second official workout of camp than they were on day one Monday, with numerous tackles being made despite strict and frequent instruction to "stay up," as coaches like to call it.
Freshmen in particular didn't quite get the message clearly enough.
Defensive tackle Otis Jones did a nice job chasing down Keegan Herring from behind outside the hash mark only to forcefully drop him to the turf to a touch of consternation from the senior running back.
Later, in 11-on-11 work, reserve quarterback Samson Szakacsy scrambled out of the pocket and raced down the sideline after coming up empty in search of a receiver only to be tracked from behind and tackled by freshman linebacker Brandon Magee.
Led by Nate Kimbrough, a number of offensive players raced across the field to let Magee know about his mistake while defensive players shouted their support for Magee's effort.
Truth is, there was more good about the play than bad.
"We can't tackle people downfield without pads on," Erickson said. "I got that message to them. But there's no substitute for enthusiasm and playing the game hard and running to the football. You don't win games unless you do that. You develop that in practice and we're there."
Solid team-wide effort in the team's off-season strength and conditioning programs and informal practice sessions has seemingly put the program ahead of where it's been in recent years at the start of camp. Monday's workout was functionally sound with few mental mistakes. Erickson liked what he saw Tuesday even more.
"It was good today," Erickson said. "We practiced better today than we did yesterday. We're starting to get back into the feel of things. We're spirited, we run around, we have fun playing the game."
Erickson reiterated on Tuesday that Danny Sullivan is the clear-cut second-string option behind starter Rudy Carpenter at quarterback, and a redshirt year for Sullivan, which would preserve two years of eligibility after the 2008 season, isn't likely. Whether Erickson would consider using another quarterback for mop-up only duty assuming Carpenter remains healthy is still unclear. Sullivan has had a very solid start to camp.
There is still no clear-cut indication of which true freshmen will play themselves off the redshirt list, and there likely won't be for at least several more weeks, but a safe bet is there will be more on defense than on offense. Defensive lineman Lawrence Guy figures to be in the mix for playing time due to his versatility and impressive physique for a freshman; linebackers Shelly Lyons and Magee have a combination of size and speed that most others on the roster don't have; Clint Floyd has earned second-team reps at safety. Offensively, Gerell Robinson will likely see the field at receiver, and Ryan Bass has a chance at running back.
Perhaps the biggest walk-on in recent Sun Devil history, Isaiah Williams joined the program this off-season as the mystery mammoth offensive lineman who generated a buzz among other players around the hallways and in the weight room. Williams graduated from Archbishop High School in Washington D.C. in 2006, redshirted at Grambling State that fall, then dropped down to Montgomery College in Maryland, where he got his Associates Degree. The 6-foot-9, 378-pounder considered walking on at Auburn Boston College and Illinois before selecting ASU. He is currently working with the third-team at right tackle, and has three years to play three season.
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