Scrimmage report

The hope is for your fall scrimmage to be a balanced affair and to a large extent that's what Arizona State showcased at Sun Devil stadium on Saturday morning. Nonetheless, this doesn't imply that today's event, which was shorter than scheduled, was clean of deficiencies on both offense and defense.

"I thought there were some really good things and I thought there were some things we really have to work on," said Arizona State head coach Dennis Erickson. "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. 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."

Erickson was alluding to placekicker Alex Garoutte who had his 21-yard attempt blocked by Vontaze Burfict, and also missed from 52 and 43 yards. The redshirt freshman did convert from 35 and 43 yards.

Quarterback Brock Osweiler led the starters for one score on four drives, a touchdown pass to wide receiver George Bell from 14 yards out and overall continued the solid fall camp he was having to date. The signal caller was 11 of 16 for 144 yards and a score.

"I thought from the offense's standpoint, that the first group moved the ball pretty well," Osweiler said. "We seemed to have some successful drives. There were a few things in the red zone that we need to clean up, but those can easily be cleaned up in one meeting session. Other than that, I was really happy with how the first team offense played."

The scrimmage was naturally going to play to a significant part in the backup role to Osweiler and time will tell if today's results will tilt the race one way or another. Taylor Kelly was 3 of 3 for 78 yards and a touchdown, a 2-yard toss to Kevon Ozier. Mike Bercovici was 3 of 6 for 58 yards.

Mike Willie led all receivers with two catches for 65 yards. Ozier wasn't far behind with a couple of catches for 60 yards and a touchdown. Maybe the biggest surprise was not seeing Aaron Pflugrad on the state sheet but with 20 catches for 324 yards suffice to say that this group had a fine performance.

During the Sun Devils' fall camp, the ground attack normally has a hard time against ASU's front seven and today was no different. As vulnerable as the defense looked against the pass, they looked particularly stout against the run. 53 yards on 21 carries speaks volumes as the productivity of the running backs. R.J. Robinson led with 19 yards on six carries. Needless to say that this group sorely missed starter Cameron Marshall who should be back in action at practice on Monday.

Defensive tackle Will Sutton stood out on ASU's front four, as he had a sack, three tackles and a batted pass. Even though most of these accomplishments took place against the second unit it was hard not to be impressed by the sophomore. Fellow defensive tackle Bo Moos had three tackles, one for a loss and defensive end Junior Onyeali had a sack.

Yesterday, Erickson said that Isreal Marshall had a good chance of not redshirting and the true freshman linebacker made his best attempt to validate his words with three tackles. Sophomore Kipeli Koniseti had a good day as well with three stops of his own.

The secondary certainly had their issues containing the passing game, although most of yards were surrendered by walk-ons and true freshmen that likely won't see meaningful time this year. Safety Ezekiel Bishop and cornerback Alden Darby each had three stops.

"We're not where we want to be," admitted linebacker Shelly Lyons concerning the ASU defense. "But the same time we're not far away. Obviously we have some injuries but we can't dwell on that right now. We just have to get better.

"It's getting close to the season and we have to pick it up. I don't think today we had our best effort but it's been a long camp and hopefully the fans understand that this is the 20th or so practice. We tried to take it a little easy today so no one else gets hurt. But we'll be ready September 1st."

Undoubtedly, one injury that has certainly grabbed Lyons' attention was the torn Achilles of his fellow linebacker and former high school teammate, Brandon Magee.

"It's tough from a friend standpoint and a teammate (standpoint)," Lyons stated. "It's hard because he's a great player and a great leader for our defense. When he went down we took it kind of hard but now we have to find a way to get it done because he can't play with us now." Lyons' 2010 season was cut short after 7 games with a broken foot, but he has followed up a solid spring practice with an even better fall camp. Being healthier according to the senior isn't the only factor that is helping his resurgence.

"I had a great off-season," Lyons said, "worked out in the winter and I have to put it all together now because it is my senior year. It's now or never and I want to go out with a winning season."


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