Offense, defense sees position shuffles

The Sun Devils' first practice in preparation for Oregon State in Corvallis was highlighted by several depth chart moves along the offensive line and secondary, the return of Jon Hargis in shoulder pads, and crowd noise being pumped into the Verde Dickey Dome.

The offensive line saw the biggest shake-up of the season to date due to injuries and poor play in Saturday's game against Oregon. Evan Finkenburg was moved to left tackle in the event Dan Knapp is not healthy for Saturday's game after Knapp exited the game against Oregon with a sprained MCL.

"We think he has a chance," coach Erickson said of the possibility of Knapp playing Saturday. "He did more than I thought he would going into practice. He wants to play badly and to me it's a confidence factor with him also. He got some things done now so I think by Thursday he should be pretty good."

The right tackle spot will be occupied by Aderious Simmons for the time being; who takes over for Brice Schwab after he struggled Saturday. Simmons has been slowed in his development after missing almost all of fall camp while working on his academic eligibility. Yet, he appears to be picking up the offense enough for the coaches to hand him the reigns as a first-team tackle.

"It's just a matter of him learning what's going on," Erickson mentioned of Simmons. "Physically he has all the tools, I don't know how he did today. We gave him an opportunity with that first group so when we watch tape we'll see, but he's a talent and we need to get our best guys out there that are playing, and the great thing about our front now is that we've got some depth if you don't play good."

With Simmons in on the first-team, Erickson stated Schwab would not be moved to guard in an effort to keep him in one spot, but Finkenburg could be moved back to guard if need be.

Speaking of guards, Jon Hargis worked with shoulder pads today as his amazing recovery continues. His possible return will no doubt be a huge lift to the team both on the field and in the locker room. Erickson stated that there is no scheduled return date for the senior.

"We kind of think in the next couple weeks he'll be ready to go," Erickson said. "He did some football one-on-one stuff today so we'll just see how that goes, but I think he'll play the last half of the season."

Coming back from injury last season, Thomas Weber hasn't been as crisp early in games for whatever reason. The senior has missed already three kicks in four games with two of those attempts coming from 40 yards or less. The ASU had coach is optimistic that Weber will improve.

"His mindset is good," Erickson said of Weber. "He's missed one then seemed to kick real well so bottom line is we need to get him to make that first one, but he's kicking pretty well, and kicking the ball off really well. I'm not worried about him. You'd like to not have him miss any, but that doesn't happen, and I think I saw one right here when the Cardinals were playing with maybe one of the best kickers to ever play the game."

On the defensive side of the ball, Bo Moos and Max Tabach have been playing great when given the opportunity and both worked with the first-team defense today. Erickson has been especially impressed with Tabach the last few games and really wants to see what he can do when given more playing time. As far as Moos goes, his materialization has caught Erickson off-guard, but much to the coach's delight.

"He's emerged as a really good player," Erickson explained of Moss. "He's developed; two years ago I don't know that I would've seen this, but because of his work ethic and the things he's done and how hard he plays, he's become a good football player for us."

Sun Devil Source Top Stories