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October 6, 2010
Erickson to discipline Burfict by not starting him
Upon further review, a reversal.
A day after saying there would be no disciplinary action taken for sophomore linebacker Vontaze Burfict's behavior in the closing minutes of Arizona State's 31-28 loss to Oregon State Saturday, coach Dennis Erickson changed his mind.
Erickson said he was unaware of something that took place on the field involving Burfict -- presumably the reaction Burfict had to senior safety Max Tabach's attempt to calm him down following a late fourth quarter play -- when he met with reporters during Monday's regularly scheduled press conference.
Senior Gerald Munns will start in Burfict's place when the team travels to Washington Saturday. Erikson said Burfict will play in the game, though how much remains to be determined.
"You're going to have things during the game that are football related," Erickson said. 'It's just how football is, you're going to have those things, it's just a physical sport. But then there's things that are non-football related that you just can't have and we had one of those things in the game. So hopefully [Burfict] can learn to control himself, I believe he will. Like I said, we're working with him on it. But like I said you just can't play when you do that kind of stuff."
Erickson said he has visited with Burfict twice since the decision was made to start Munns and Burfict has responded to it well.
"He feels bad, he really does," Erickson said. "He wants to be the best he can be. He loves his teammates, and that's why we're working with him. He's one of the greatest guys off the field I've been around. He does all the right things. Obviously on the fields there are times when he loses control and we just can't have that. When we have that you just can't play him."
Rainy day changes
With severe storms in and around the Valley Tuesday, temperatures dipped to the point that it was cooler inside the Dickey Dome than outside during the team's practice. Lightning in the area forced ASU to ask observers and media to leave for the bulk of the session.
Erickson said the team responded well, however, in the first practice after losing their third straight game
"Practice was good," Erickson said. "I thought we had a lot of enthusiasm and I thought we executed extremely well. I thought it was a good practice."
An inability to disrupt the Beavers' quarterback led to ASU moving freshman defensive end Junior Onyeali to the first unit as a book end to junior James Brooks. Senior tackle Saia Falahola moved ahead of junior Bo Moos.
"We're moving things around," Erickson said. "We're trying to get a pass rush and all the things we've talked about. We've got to get some guys in there and see what they can do. When you've lost three in a row, if you feel you can get better you make changes, that's what you've got to do. He's done some pretty good things."
Offensively, ASU is looking to address its red zone efficiency issues in part but adding some versatility in the form of mobile junior quarterback Samson Szakacsy.
"We've got a couple little deals we're trying to put in with [Szakacsy] when we get into the red zone down in there," Erickson said. "We had it last week too, probably should have used some."