A snake in the grass

With just a week left in spring ball and the unveiling of the new uniforms, everyone around the Sun Devil football program is starting to get a little antsy for Fall to come, and since he was in town for alumni weekend, coach Dennis Erickson thought it would be a good idea to have former Sun Devil great, Jake Plummer, talk to his squad after practice.

"We're fortunate it's alumni weekend, and we have Jake Plummer, a guy that spilt a lot of blood around here," coach Erickson mentioned. "I've known Jake a long time and he's been around and I thought it was about time he talked to this football team about his career here, particularly his senior year here when he went to the Rose Bowl and what he felt it took. It was great, to hear some of the same things from someone else is kind of cool."

Maybe it was due to Jake "The Snake"'s presence, but the Sun Devil offense looked very sharp today, especially in the team red-zone drills, converting for several touchdowns through the air.

"I thought practice was one of our better ones today," said Erickson. "I thought we executed pretty well on both sides of the football. Again, we're getting towards the end of it and there's two things about spring ball as a coach: you can't for it to get started and you can't wait for it to be over because of injuries.

"Hopefully we have a good scrimmage Saturday and then we have three (practices) next week and we've made a lot of improvement. I'm happy with where we're at, but today was pretty good.

With the offense enjoying a solid session, this naturally meant that quarterback Brock Osweiler led the charge.

"Brock is getting better and better all the time and isn't making as many mistakes," Erickson commented. "We have all those guys getting back so we should be getting better on offense and I see us improving all the time.

"Going against our defense is not easy. We're pretty stout on defense so it just makes everybody better."

With T.J. Simpson out, and Mike Willie not participating in contact drills this spring, Gerell Robinson has had to step up and take some of the load off the younger receivers who are filling in. It's been harder to hear the normally talkative mouth of GRob this spring as he's been letting his play do most of the talking, something Sun Devil fans have been yearning for since he arrived in Tempe.

"I believe he's going to have a great year," Erickson said of Robinson. "We're putting him in a position he's been around and can make plays. It's his fourth year of playing, he's a leader out there and for our offense to go he's gotta make plays and step up, like everybody. We're all tired of where we've been the last couple years and its time for everybody to step up."

Also shouldering some of the load is wide receiver Aaron Pflugrad as he was cleared to play recently. Pflugrad wasted no time getting back into the mix, making several nice catches in Thursday's session, including a couple in the end zone.

"He finally got the clearance to go," Erickson pointed out. "When you get him back, as you saw today, he made some catches out there that kind of get all those receivers involved a little bit more and that really makes a difference.

"They're (the younger receivers) getting better. They've got a ways to go as far as consistency is concerned, but they're young. It's hard to play in this league when your young and you have too many of them. J.J. (Holliday) is getting better. Pickens is really starting to play well for us. We moved him outside this week. GRob you know is a senior, but the young guys are getting better. Kevin Anderson is getting better, he's a freshman. I don't know how much he'll get to play, but if we stay healthy we'll be OK. "

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