Scrimmage showcases mixed bag of goods

Saturday morning's scrimmage at Sun Devil Stadium gave head coach Dennis Erickson, as many reasons to be satisfied as it did raise some concerns as the team prepares for the season kick-off on September 1st.

"I thought there were some really good things and I thought there were some things we really have to work on," Erickson said. "I'm sick and tired of seeing field goals blocked. I mean, the first kick of the game Vontaze went right through and blocked it. I mean, how many games are we going to have to lose to figure that out as a football team so that's disappointing. I thought there were some good things even though we didn't get to play everybody.

"I don't know that you get an assessment of yourself until you play a game so we'll know more after we play Cal Davis. If want to compete for the South championship, we have to be a lot better than we were today."

Quarterback Brock Osweiler had a consistent showing, a sharp contrast to last weeks scrimmage but the focus remains on who will be named the back up to Osweiler. With redshirt-freshman Taylor Kelly and true freshman Mike Bercovici battling neck and neck for the spot, the decision is still up in the air, with today's edge going to Kelley.

"I thought Brock played extremely well," Erickson stated. "I mean he made a couple bad throws but he was pretty consistent.

I thought Brock had a great day. I though Bercovici was off a little bit and I thought Taylor Kelly did well when he was in there. That's still going to be an ongoing thing, we'll have to look at the tape and see where we're at."

The defense maintained their presence and dominance that is expected of them, breaking up passes, blocking kicks and swarming the offense but Coach Erickson is disappointed with the defenses ability to prevent the offense from gaining third-down conversions.

"I thought defensively, that first group flew around," Erickson commented. "Some had a real good day pass rushing so it is what it is, we knew it was going to be kind of like that.

"I thought the first group played really well, there were some blocked passes. It's hard to tell who was in there when those were thrown so we'll have to evaluate that. When you have 3rd and 15 or whatever we had once or twice, the offense converted on that and we cant do that. You have to make plays in third down."

Erickson credits today's defensive success to the linebacker unit, particularly Kipeli Koniseti who has proven his ability to provide a consistent alternate to middle linebacker Vontaze Burfict.

"Our linebackers are playing well," Erickson admits. "Colin Parker is getting better all the time and Shelly Lyons. We had some guys out, so we didn't have all of them. I thought Kipeli (Koniseti) played pretty well in the middle, which is a guy that has to really step up for us to spot Vontaze. We did it with Colin Parker last year but with our depth outside, I don't know how much we'll be able to play him."

With running back Cameron Marshall one of the many Sun Devils sidelined with minor injuries, the rest of the unit was called upon during Saturday's scrimmage to fill the void, which proved to be successful all around.

"Cam will be back Monday and Jamal got some turns in there and Kyle Middlebrooks," Erickson said. "It was good to see Marcus out there, I thought he did some good things. The good thing about having some guys down for a bit is being able to see what kind of depth you have."

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