Offense Strikes Back in Second Scrimmage

The constant battle between offense and defense in spring practice saw the former group coming up on top. Nevertheless, it wasn't a decisive win, as the defense racked up eight sacks, while disrupting the passing game.

Once again the ASU running backs showed some promise. Collectively, the ASU ball carriers amassed 219 yards. Cornell Canidate, who started most of the team's games in 2002 had seven carries for 69 yards, however 64 of those yards came on one single play, where Emmanuel Franklin stopped the sophomore just short of the end zone. Nevertheless, Canidate punched it in the very next play. Randy Hill, who started the scrimmage on the first team, also scored a touchdown and had a solid showing with 48 yards on 13 carries. Jermaine McKinney statically (as far as average yards per carry) had the best day with 43 yards on only nine rushes.

Andrew Walter looked sharp connecting on 11-15 passes for 125 yards. The junior, as well as Chad Christensen spread the wealth involving eight different receivers in the passing game. Terry Richardson stood out with four catches and 41 yards. Tight end Jamaal Lewis' only catch was a spectacular 19 yarder in the end zone. The other touchdown was by Skyler Fulton who also had one catch that went for 15 yards. Overall, the passing game had looked better than the week before, but the fact that the other three signal callers were 3-14 for 16 yards is definitely a concern.

As mentioned, one reason for the struggle of the backup quarterbacks was the pressure applied by Coach Brent Guy's players. Safety Matt Fawley who was held out from last week's scrimmage had two sacks. Fellow safety Brett Hudson's sack of Andrew Walter was good for a safety. Ironically, despite the constant disruption in the passing game there were no interceptions recorded today. Josh Golden and Mike Davis stood out in their pass coverage, while Gabe Reininger got some nice pushes up the middle.

The highlight on special teams was clearly Josh Golden taking back a 95-yard kickoff return for a score. Daryl Lightfoot showed again some nice moves returning punts. Tim Parker had a bad day compared to last week. He made only one 38-yard field goal, while missing a pair of 47-yard ones.

Coach Koetter said after the scrimmage that "One of our main goals today was we wanted to see Randy Hill and Loren Wade run the ball. We wanted to see those guys carry the ball against our first defense and carry it more than one time… I want these guys to know what it feels like to carry it and get hit every time " The ASU coach ribbed Canidate for getting stopped on the goal line following on his 64-yard run saying, "Unfortunately, he's the same 40 speed as I am and got caught from behind." Overall, the Sun Devil coach was pleased with his ground attack today. " I think we ran the ball OK today. As long as the defense stands still and fights like men, we do good. But when the defense starts moving and slanting around, then it's a lot harder."

On the passing game display this afternoon Koetter commented "It's so easy when you have Andrew to go out there and throw it every down…I still think we didn't click." He also mentioned that the rest of the quarterbacks need to make better decisions inside the 25. Koetter singled out big plays by Hudson, Golden, Fulton, Lewis and Canidate. Specifically on Golden he said "He's gone from a guy we kind of stumbled onto at the end of last year to now being our feature guy." Koetter also liked what he's seeing from the rest of the corners, but would still like to give Hudson some looks at that position.

Koetter mentioned that some new faces on offense and defense have been suffering from information overload, which has affected their game. One of those players is undoubtedly Aaron Austin who dropped a catch or two, as well as having problems at times in his alignment. The scrimmage today was lengthy at 88 plays, and it even had a 10-minute half time period. "I think there were several times when six-seven plays into drive, where on both sides of the ball, we were tired." Nevertheless, when asked where his team stands now compared to this time last year he was very pleased and said that in comparison to last year this team is "Not even close. No even on the same planet."

While one could come away encouraged by the offensive display today, one cannot discount the defensive performance, which is a continuation of what has been transpiring all of spring. This coming Saturday spring practice will conclude with a final scrimmage, and the question now looms which side of the ball will have bragging rights until Camp Tontozona?

Offensive Stats

Passing: Andrew Walter 11-15 125 2 TD's
Chad Christensen 3-8 16
< Kellen Bradley 0-3
Nate Mortensen 0-3
Rushing: Cornell Canidate 7-69 TD
Randy Hill 13-48 TD
Jermaine McKinley 9-43
Loren Wade 10-36
Mike Williams 6-23
Receiving: Cornell Canidate 1-49
Terry Richardson 4-41
Jamaal Lewis 1-19 TD
Matt Miller 2-16
Skyler Fulton 1-15 TD
Mike Williams 1-6
Daryl Lightfoot 1-6
Mike Karney 1-2

Defensive Stats
Sacks: Matt Fawley 2
Brett Hudson 1 (safety)
Justin Burks 1
Nick Johnson 1
Jordan Hill
Joey Smith 1
Jared Wolfgram 1
Nick Baker 1

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