Tuesday's Erickson Quotes

After Saturday's sluggish practice session, the team started the second week of spring ball in pads, looking to atone for some of their mistakes with re-newed energy.

And despite the warmer weather, the team displayed marked improvement while incorporating new wrinkles to the schemes.

"There was a lot of enthusiasm," said head coach Dennis Erickson. "Finally, as a team, I think we're getting better."

"We've just got to continue to get better offensively," commented the coach. "We're making too many mistakes; dropped balls and things like that. Defensively, in particular at the end, we ran around real well. Everybody knows what they're doing, so it's been a good spring so far."

Assisting the offense as they work trough their struggles is Steven Threet. Despite no longer being on the team, Threet has been instrumental in teaching the young quartet of quarterbacks the nuances of Noel Mazzone's offense and how to read the aggressive Sun Devil defense.

"He's there all the time and he helps," remarked Erickson. "I'll tell you when he helps the most, is when they (quarterbacks) ask him questions, because he's been there and did it last year, and that's always a help. So it's made a difference that way. He's been real valuable for us."

One of the afternoon's primary points of emphasis was cleaning up the snap count, which led to an abundance of false starts and bad snaps on Saturday. The man most responsible for cleaning up the mess is center Garth Gerhart, who bounced back with a strong practice on Tuesday, and earned the praise of his head coach.

"He's the leader of that offensive front," Erickson said. "He has been for a long time. He makes all the calls, gets guys in the film room. He's a true center and a true leader on that offensive line."

"His experience, and having been a coach's son, he knows the game pretty well."

Erickson credits a lot of Gerhart's success to how hard he pushes himself to be better conditioned athlete. His offseason workout regime has paid dividends for the senior who's hoping to go out on a winning note.

"Physically, he's just a very good athlete," said the coach. "He's not the tallest guy in the world, but he moves real well. And he's strong, really strong in the lower body. He squats over 500 pounds. And he's very explosive."

Although Gerhart isn't the only Sun Devil offensive lineman who has improved his offseason conditioning. Senior Brice Schwab, who's coming off a disappointing 2010 campaign, has turned heads this spring with his slimmed down and toned up physique.

"He's moving around a lot better.," observed Erickson. "He's much more athletic just because of that weight loss. I mean, he's lost over thirty pounds, so that's quite a bit."

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