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August 17, 2012

Kohl tradition continues at ASU

PAYSON -- The Kohl family is about as Sun Devil-centric as it gets.

Matthew Kohl played at Arizona State in 1982, Trevor ended his career in Tempe last season and now Kody Kohl is a true freshman on the squad.

But even though Kody is the only one still playing, all three made the trip up to Camp Tontozona this week to share the moment between the family.

"It's pretty nice, the support is great," Kody said. "They love it up here, they've always wanted this camp. It's cool they get to experience this with me.

Trevor, who played for ASU during the Dennis Erickson era, never got to train up north, something he dreamt of growing up hearing stories from his father.

"It was tough watching practice the first few days because I came up here in high school and that's one reason I wanted to be a Sun Devil so bad, to come up to Camp T," he said. "I missed the window completely. It's whatever, but I'm glad they are back up here. I was counting down the days. It's good for the team, it brings you closer together. I wish we would've done it, I think we would've been a lot closer and I can see these guys are close. It's cool to see."

Kody isn't rubbing his good timing to enter the program in Trevor's face though, he knows how much Tontozona means to his family.

"I've always wanted to come here, it's a Sun Devil tradition," he said. "It's a privilege to be here and I know how lucky I am to go through this with my team."

Marshall eager for return

Held out of contact drills since Tuesday to help rest the workhorse before the season begins, ASU senior running back Cameron Marshall hasn't seen much action this week at Camp Tontozona.

Instead, the Sun Devils' leading rusher from a year ago has spent his time watching his teammates from the sidelines, something that has been difficult given how much he means to ASU.

"It's never easy to take a break and watch your teammates compete," said Marshall, who has had a bit of a tender hamstring. "We all like to compete, that's why we play the game. It's never easy doing that, so I'm just looking forward to getting back with the guys pretty soon and being back out there."

Saturday's scrimmage will be the toughest for Marshall to watch. Although most of the starters aren't expected to play much, the running back knows it's an important step for the team less than two weeks before the season opener.

"It's another chance to go at it before the first game," he said. "I'll be upset that I can't be out there with the guys but I'll definitely be encouraging them from the sidelines and making sure they're doing everything they need to be doing."

As for how he's feeling throughout his time off to rest up, Marshall said he's doing well.

"I feel good at this point in time," he said. "It's all for precautionary reasons, I'm good overall."

Corners get deeper

After sitting out most of the spring due to a leg injury, sophomore Kevin Anderson fell to the back of the pack at his receiver position.

On Friday, Anderson's chances to see the field received a shot of adrenaline when head coach Todd Graham switched him to defense mid-practice and promptly gave him second-team reps.

"It was a shock," Anderson said. following the workout, during which he was the only player on the team wearing a white defensive jersey with gold offensive pants. "I was just playing around during the teach teach (period) and coach asked me if I've ever played corner and I said no and he asked if I wanted to give a shot at it and then was like, 'You know what, we're just going to put you out there on defense. You're running with the 2s today.' So I was like alright, it's somewhat bittersweet but more so I'm excited to take on the challenge."

Graham has been hoping to find a fourth corner to step up behind senior Deveron Carr and juniors Osahon Irabor and Robert Nelson, but it's been a revolving door.

"Actually it felt pretty good," Anderson said of his first day on the job. "It felt comfortable. I wasn't excpected it but I'm excited to see what the defensive side of the ball feels like. It actually wasn't that hard because as a wide out you have to recognize the coverages anyway. The hardest thing was running backwards but I think it went fine."

Moeakiola adjusting to college fast

With ASU senior safety Keelan Johnson not practicing for much of Thursday's session, freshman Laiu Moeakiola was thrown into the fire in the secondary, performing admirably as a fresh-faced replacement. But even though Johnson returned to the field Friday, Moeakiola is working to provide quality depth for the Sun Devils at a position that has appeared particularly thin.

"I don't think I'm there yet so I can't be satisfied," he said. "I'm still working at it to be at the top."

As a freshman, Moeakiola realizes he won't be counted on in pressure situations if all goes as plan, but if Johnson gets hurt, he has to be prepared for that moment.

"Being behind a guy that's been here for four years, that means I have to carry a lot of weight, if he goes down, I have to step up," Moeakiola said. "He's been a good mentor for me there teaching me all the coverages. I now know I can't just rely on my physical talent."

Offense explodes

A day after senior receiver Rashad Ross caught a 98-yard touchdown pass from redshirt freshman quarterback Michael Eubank on the first play of a team period, he did it again Friday, this time from 80-yards on a skinny post pattern that seemed to catch junior safety Alden Darby out of position.

On the very next play, sophomore Taylor Kelly connected with junior J.J. Holliday on what looked like the same play, this time getting past junior free safety Shane McCullen.

Not long after, the Sun Devil offense hit on their third deep strike connection of the period for a touchdown, another 80-yarder, this one sophomore Michael Bercovici to junior Alonzo Agwuenu in which the receiver just out-ran junior corner Jarrid Bryant.

"I thought the guys did a great job, offense coming on like gangbusters today," Graham said. "We had about 10 explosive (plays)."


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