Magee's injury overshadows scrimmage

As it turns out the cloudy weather Saturday morning at the Kajikawa Practice Facility was an ominous sign. Early in ASU's scrimmage starting linebacker Brandon Magee tore his Achilles tendon on a non-contact play and following the shorten scrimmage head coach Dennis Erickson stated that the senior's injury will force Magee to miss the 2011 season.

"He's out for the year unfortunately," Erickson said. "Like all Achilles, nobody hits you; he was just trying to cut. It tore, so I feel extremely bad for him. Obviously our football has got to step up. We do have some help there (linebacker). The guy's a good football player. You lose somebody like that, that's damaging to your football team. We'll find out what we're about, that's what it's all about."

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Ironically, Magee's injury happened on a day where the defense arguably had its best camp session. The players in white did a formidable job shutting down both the pass and the run, especially when the starters on both sides of the ball lined up.

"I thought defensively we played extremely well, particularly the first unit," Erickson commented. "We made a lot of plays when we had to. We had some picks, some interceptions, turnovers that we really haven't had so far in camp, so that very, very encouraging."

Even though Osweiler threw for 107 yards on 13 of 17 attempts he averaged 8 yards a completion and rarely did he force the defense to give up any big plays. Corner Osahon Irabor unofficially had three tackles and fellow corner Alden Darby had two pass breakups. Safeties Ezekiel Bishop and Eddie Elder each had an interception.

Linebacker Carl Bradford was instrumental in stopping the run and had three tackles today. Defensive lineman Davon Coleman and Will Sutton had two tackles each and were effective applying pressure up front, as was Corey Adams who had two tackles and a sack.

Sutton was shaken up during the scrimmage but did return. Linebacker Oliver Aaron was taken out after a collision with another defender.

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As mentioned the offense's performance, particularly the first team, was a far cry from how well they played in recent days and generally throughout fall camp. Osweiler, while completing a majority of his passes, was for the most part inaccurate and ineffective going down field. His lone interception came on a great hustle play by Elder, helping out over the top on a long pass. The offensive line did poorly in both protecting the passer and opening running lanes.

"I thought offensively, as far as the first group is concerned, I thought they weren't very good," said Erickson. "I guess that's the easiest way to out it. They didn't execute like they've been executing. I was very disappointed in their performance.

"I don't think Brock had the greatest day of his career by any means," he continued. "So you've got to learn from that. And that's the kind of guy he is. Sometimes when you think you're pretty good, maybe you're not so good. I learned that a long time ago."

"We beat the defense plenty of times in camp but they have come back and beat us the next day—it goes both ways," said Osweiler. "The previous two years, maybe it was a one-sided deal but that's not the case anymore. This is definitely a football team."

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This scrimmage, according to Erickson, was going to be significant in terms of the backup signal caller race and true freshman Michael Bercovici truly rose up to the occasion completing 4 of 5 passes for 35 yards and 2 TD's. One score was a 35-yard lateral pass to reserve running back R.J Robinson who did a great job eluding tacklers en route to the end zone. The walk-on was outstanding today and another proof of the depth the running back group has. The quarterback also had a 4-yard run for a score.

"This is my first time in a fall camp scrimmage and it's a total different vide from the spring," said Bercovici. "I was worrying about different variables like hand signals and whatnot. I felt real comfortable today and being on the practice field felt like another practice. It was really important for me to come out here today and compete. It was important for me to show the coaches that I can bring energy to the team.

"I'm an 18-year old freshman but coming here in the spring was the best decision I ever made. I honestly feel like a junior or a sophomore just by the communication with players. I try to be the best leader I can be. I know I'm a freshman now but I feel like I can do more things because I have been here longer."

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Fellow true freshman Karl Holmes had by his best showing of fall camp, hauling in five catches for 45 yards. The wide receiver got extensive time today filling in for Gerell Robinson who was injured early in the scrimmage with a sprained MCL. Otherwise this group was very quiet today.

On the ground James Morrison had a very productive first series with the starters before injuring his shoulder. Marcus Washington turned in a solid day running between the tackles for some hard yards and making a few catches on the swings. As mentioned, R.J. Robinsonwas by far the best looking running back on the field today. He had eight carries for 62 yards.

Kicker Alex Garoutte was another offensive player who's performance today was in sharp contrast to rest of fall camp. The redshirt freshman made was 2 of 4 attempts making good from 47 and 42 yards, while missing from 32 and 47 yards.

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A number of players sat out on both sides of the ball this morning: Deveron Carr, Cameron Marshall, Devan Spann, Jamal Miles, George Bell, Andrew Sampson, Brice Schwab, and Randy Knust were all inactive.

There were a total of seven penalties in the scrimmage, three offside infractions by the defense and four false starts by the offense.

The Sun Devil will have a well deserved, if not absolutely necessary, day off on Sunday, before resuming two-a-day practices on Monday.


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