Pflugrad looks to bounce back

There was definitely a sense of excitement among the Arizona State coaching staff when then Oregon wide receiver Aaron Pflugrad announced that he will transfer to the Sun Devils. The Ducks knew that there were going to miss one of their young and upcoming receivers, while ASU was tickled to get a coach's son with a high football IQ to fill the void at slot receiver.

The 5-10 182 pound Aaron Pflugrad continually impressed practice observers in 2009 as one of the scout team standouts and was expected to be an instant contributor last season. Nonetheless, despite the fact that the wide receiver played in 11 of 12 games, a nagging turf toe injury robbed him from a campaign that would meet the high expectations bestowed on him.

In 2010 the receiver hauled in 29 receptions for 329 yards and scored two touchdowns. He was looking forward to a strong spring practice, but he battled vertigo for long stretches and wasn't able to make much of an impression.

Fall camp has thus far been much kinder to Pflugrad who has emerged as one of the team's top wide receivers and an integral part of a passing game that has been very effective throughout the first week of the August sessions.

"I'm feeling good right now," said Pflugrad following Wednesday's afternoon practice. "I feel we made strides as a team, working really hard and meshing well together. We know the offense so much better than last year, we have all the plays down and we give a lot of different looks for the defense which makes it hard for them to pick up.

"I personally had to fight through some things, which is God's will and what not. But now I'm healthy and glad to be out there running around."

Arizona State head coach Dennis Erickson didn't withhold any compliments when asked about the wide receiver's fall camp performance.

"He's awesome," said Erickson of Pflugrad. "His work ethic is just so unbelievable. He can catch it and run. You get him one on one...he's like one of those little guys that can play in the league. But he's special for us.

"I would say Brock (Osweiler) probably knows him better than anybody. He's worked with him a lot."

Pflugrad confessed that his friendship with the Sun Devils' starting signal caller off the field, has aided him a great deal on the gridiron.

"It helps a lot that we are friends and we put in a lot of time together practicing," Pflugrad commented. "Running routes everyday in the off-season and knowing where he is going to throw the ball has been a key part of everything."

Both of Wednesday's practices reflected the overall trend of ASU's 2011 fall camp, showcasing a potent and creative ASU offense. Pflugrad is happy that the dog days of camp haven't caught up with his group.

"Now is the point where everybody gets so tired," Pflugrad explained, "and when you wake up that early and you feel that you can't go anymore and now you have to scrimmage, it's hard. But it felt good to go out there and have some success on offense."

Despite his good friendship with the ASU quarterback suffice to say that Osweiler's animated personality hasn't rubbed on Pflugrad, who's quiet confidence has been quite evident throughout all these August sessions.

"You need a lot of different parts on a team," said the wide receiver laughing. "I just try to keep those guys in line. But they are great guys and they are confident, as am I. I guess we have different ways on how we go about it, but that's fine.

"We know that if we just come out here every day and work hard, we'll get the job done. We can't control what other people say about us, but as long as we are out here working hard and control what we can control, we'll be fine."


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