Devils suffer another major spring injury

With nearly every starter returning from the year before, the first scrimmage of spring had quite a bit of buzz entering it even with the injuring to starting receiver T.J. Simpson just two days before, but unfortunately for Sun Devil nation, another knee injury might have been the most significant happening in Saturday's scrimmage.

"Omar (Bolden) got hurt today, I don't know what it is, but he got hurt," said head coach Dennis Erickson. "When you see two guys like that go down you almost feel like not practicing. But that's part of the game."

The All-Pac-10 cornerback will undergo tests in a few days to determine the severity of his injury, as will T.J. Simpson who was injured on Thursday. It is believed that Simpson's could be a torn ACL, and Bolden's injury didn't appear to be a minor one as well.

"When I heard the pop I knew it wasn't normal," said Simpson on the moment his injury occurred. "I knew something was wrong and that it might be serious. I'm just hoping for the best. I got a lot of people in my corner helping me out through this time because it's hard.

"I'm going to work through this as best as I can."

Aside from the lone touchdown of the game, a 14-yard toss from Brock Osweiler to JJ Holliday, the two biggest highlights came within the first few plays from scrimmage: Cameron Marshall shrugged off a hit from Vontaze Burfict followed by the Bolden knee injury.

Marshall broke out for a 21 yard run, something Sun Devil fans have grown used to seeing, but running through Burfict? Now there's something you don't see everyday.

"I don't think I've ever seen anybody do that to be perfectly honest with you," coach Erickson pointed out. "I got to give it to Vontaze, he might have been off balance or something. He's got a lot of pride. I remember the first fall he was here in the field house when him and Cameron hit it that one time.

"[Marshall] is getting better and better all the time. The improvement with that kid really jumps out at you. I've said this before, he catches the ball, he protects, he's strong. I think he is a very underrated back in our league, I really do."

No doubt benefitting from the improvement of Marshall is starting quarterback Osweiler, who went 9-13 for 68 yards and a touchdown on the day, and the unit doing the blocking in front of him.

"Nobody in the country [has done that]," Osweiler stated. "For that to be the first play of the scrimmage, that is a true credit to how hard Cameron worked in the offseason, how powerful and how strong he is. We have some weapons and people are going to have to watch out for them.

And it's not lost on Osweiler how important the guys up front are to his success as he answered what part of the offense he thought was the furthest along.

"I'd say the run game, probably," said Osweiler. "That gives credit to our offensive line and especially Cameron today. There were a lot of times when there wasn't the biggest hole, or even a hole there and he was busting out six, seven or eight yard runs. There aren't a lot of people that can do that and it makes my job a lot easier."

"I think we had a decent day for the running game," said Marshall who had 55 yards on just six carries. "I think the O-Line job did a really good job opening up holes. It's the best I have seen in a while. Hopefully we get some points next week (in the scrimmage). We got into the red zone, but we need to get into the end zone."

Marshall said that he has been pleased with the stronger emphasis on eth running game this season and believes that it will pay dividends.

"I think the running game is a crucial part of our offense," Marshall said. "I think the better we run the ball the better we can pass the ball and vice versa. We made some of the plays easier for the offensive linemen so it's more instinctual than rather thinking about everything. They all came back from last year, doing a great job and you can tell that they are playing more comfortable than the year before.

"I personally am more confident and more comfortable than I was a year before. I just want myself and the offense to continue to improve in the spring and get into the end zone more."

"I thought it was ok for the first scrimmage and being a little warm out there, but I thought there were some good things on both sides of the football," Erickson declared. "I thought Brock was good, very consistent. I thought the first [offensive line] group played very well. We had the second group in there and we weren't quite as good, but the first group is pretty good. We've got about seven guys that alternate in there that are pretty good."

With the first real test for the offense in the books, there's no question this group is ahead of last year's offense, especially when it comes to understanding of the offense.

"It's a different group," said Erickson bluntly. "This whole team is different than a year ago, on both sides of the football."

Andrew Gruman contributed to this article


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