Injuries will boost roles for Holliday, Spann

This is certainly not the manner in which J.J. Holliday and Devan Spann wanted to see their reps increase during spring practice. Nonetheless, after both wide receiver T.J. Simpson and cornerback Omar Bolden suffered torn ACL's, Holliday and Spann are in line to replace them in the starting lineup in the spring with an opportunity to solidify their niche going into fall camp.

6-1 170 wide receiver J.J. Holliday has been one of the more impressive players in practice ever since he arrived on campus. However, the redshirt sophomore always seemed to be lost in the shuffle and ultimately get limited opportunities due to a crowded depth chart.

Yet, when observing him in practice there was never denying his sure hands and deft body control. In the team's first spring scrimmage last Saturday, Holliday who replaced the injured T.J. Simpson in the lineup had one of his best performances hauling in three catches for 48 yards, including the lone touchdown of the day a 14-yard score from quarterback Brock Osweiler.

"It was just a good play call honestly," Holliday said humbly. "The safety dropped and I was wide open. Didn't really have to give him a good move. I'm feeling really good this spring because I know every play and working with Brock for a couple of years has helped me. Things are going pretty well right now on and off the field because we are a family.

"It's been hard waiting for my turn these last couple of years. There were a lot of seniors ahead of me and I had to wait my turn. I was working hard on my control, my footwork…just little things to make me a better player. I'm just trying to make a name for myself in this offense and do as good as I can so I can get my chance."

The ever reserved Holliday had a hard time finding the words to express his sentiments over his injured teammate Simpson and just stated: "I'm just lucky to get my opportunity…but T.J. sitting out…that's rough."

For 5-11 175 cornerback Devan Spann (pictured), replacing Omar Bolden in the starting lineup is somewhat of an irony. The redshirt freshman, who stood a good chance to contribute last year had to sit out the entire 2010 season because of Thyroid surgery. Now for the remainder of spring, Spann will be replacing Bolden who in all likelihood will have to miss the 2011 campaign.

"Spring has been a new experience for me since I haven't done this since high school and I have never been in pads this early," Spann commented. "But I have to get ready to step up and do the things I need to do to get ready for the season.

"Being that my last actual football game was December 13th 2009…and then having surgery on my shoulder a month later and I was rehabbing the shoulder so I'm ready for summer workouts. Then after being here (at Arizona State) one day the trainers tell me that I can't workout with the team because I need surgery to remove my Thyroid…it wasn't just missing fall camp but missing school too."

Spann had no choice but to take his redshirt year in stride and he believes it will serve him well this upcoming season.

"Being out last year helped me get mentally ready," Spann said. "I have been working hard on my transition from backpedaling to turning and also breaking on the ball. Those are the things I'm working on now. I feel like I'm doing a pretty good job but I just have to continue and improve."

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