This is big news for the Sun Devils. In only five games as a true freshman, Lewis has already racked up 382 yards and three touchdowns on the ground. Perhaps even more impressive is that he is already putting up productive numbers catching the ball. So far, Lewis is averaging just over 18 yards a catch. With ten catches on the season that puts him at 181 receiving yards. He also caught two touchdowns in the opener against Portland State.
With Pflugrad hampered by a turf toe, Jamal Miles and freshman Kyle Middlebrooks have been seeing more reps. Middlebrooks put together an impressive practice on Wednesday and drew the praise of coach Erickson.
"Really this is the first two days we've had (Middlebrooks) fully at running back because we moved (Miles) to F-back with Pflugrad's injury." Erickson remarked. "So, Jamal is full time at the slot now and we moved Kyle to running back and he's looked pretty good. I think he'll get a chance. He brings a different style. He's kind of like Jacquizz Rodgers height wise. Not saying he is Jacquizz Rodgers but, we'll start with height and go from there."
Conspicuously absent from the practice field today was mammoth defensive tackle Lawrence Guy and the Sun Devils can ill afford to lose another defensive lineman. Luckily for the maroon and gold, Guy missed practice today with flu likes symptoms and as of now his status for Saturday's game is not in question.
"(Guy) is sick. He has the flu." Erickson commented. "He came in this morning and we had to send him to the doctor. I don't think it's going to be anything that causes him to miss a game but he had flu symptoms so we sent him home."
It appears that every week there is at least one new face starting for Coach Erickson's squad and this contest with Washington will be no different. True freshman defensive end Junior Onyeali has been turning heads ever since fall camp. His diminutive stature for a defensive end seems to work in his favor combined with his relentless determination and surprising burst off the line. When his game is working he looks like Elvis Dumervil of the Denver Broncos or Robert Mathis of the Indianapolis Colts.
On Saturday, Onyeali will get his first chance to see starting action.
"That's what we talked about this morning, (Onyeali) is playing well," Erickson noted. "That's how it is. He's playing real well so he's going to get the opportunity."
Today's practice saw the Sun Devils focusing on red zone work with the offense. ASU has had more than their fair share of struggles inside the 20-yard line this year and if they're going to beat the Huskies on the road they'll need to convert deep drives into points. Erickson spoke about potentially changing the approach in the red zone.
"We looked at it," Erickson said. "It's not really different than what we're doing but we're doing a few minor things. We're going to go under center a couple times and do some different things out of there. It's more of what they do defensively."
The Sun Devils could still receive an unsuspected boost on the offensive line. Senior John Hargis has been sidelined with an ACL injury all year but has been doing more and more work on the sidelines at practice. Today he moved on to some contact with other offensive linemen, a big step for the brute tackle from Mesa, Ariz.
"There's a possibility that after the bye week, we'd like to think he might be back for Cal or probably the next one, which is amazing," said Erickson.