Coleman ready for the challenge

JC transfer Davon Coleman was a late addition to ASU's 2011 recruiting class, yet his accolades suggested that he could make an impact as a newcomer. The defensive end from Ft. Scott (Kansas) has been one of the better players on the Sun Devil defense so far but starting this weekend he will have to step up his play to an entire different level.

With the torn meniscus injury to Junior Onyeali that could sideline the starting defensive end anywhere from six weeks to the end of the season, Davon Coleman has now been thrusted into Onyeali's role and with the expectation of not letting ASU's pass rush suffer due to Onyeali's injury.

After the first snap in the last week's 17-14 loss to Illinois, when Onyeali was lying on the field in pain, the first thought that came to Coleman's mind was: "step it up."

"I'm ready to step up to the plate and take care of my responsibilities," Coleman declared. "I'm always ready.

With 11 total tackles Coleman paces all ASU defensive linemen thus far in the season, yet he doesn't think that the transition from the junior college level to the Division I level has been seamless for him.

"I've been good with lining up my technique and learning my assignments," Coleman stated. "The main thing I am focused on is my execution. The biggest adjustment has been learning all the play calls."

Even in defeat, the ASU defense played perhaps its best game of the season, yet Coleman isn't satisfied with what he witnessed last Saturday.

"We did good but I still see areas that we need to improve on to be a great defense, instead of just being good," Coleman explained.

The defensive and does feel optimistic about the mental state of the defense which has lost yet another starter, in Onyeali, to injury.

"That's just adversity and that's just football," Coleman remarked. "Next player has to be ready. I don't want to say it's normal but it happens and you just have to be ready."

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Head coach Dennis Erickson was pleased with the enthusiasm he saw in Tuesday's practice, and he wasn't surprises to see that level excitement when keeping in mind that his team's next opponent will be USC.

"They are one of the most unique and great programs that have ever been in college football over the years," Erickson said. "I have followed them throughout the years and it's a great program. I think Lane (Kiffin) is doing a great job with the situation. They got really good players.

"I don't know when the (NCAA) probation will start hurting them but I wish they would hurry."

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On the injury front ASU is starting to get some good news.

Erickson said that offensive tackle Aderious Simmons could fully practice on Wednesday, after he did conditioning work on the sidelines during Tuesday's session.

"He should be at least ready to backup on Saturday," Erickson said of the senior.

Running back Deantre Lewis' hamstring has been slow to heal from a winter gunshot injury, but he was practicing in shells for the first time in weeks on Tuesday.

"Deantre is out there and he is getting better all the time," Erickson stated. "It will be interesting to see. I hate to even make a statement because you don't know…but it was the first time he has really done some stuff out there and I thought he was good. But he is still a ways away."

Defensive lineman Joita Te'i is another injured player that is likely to get off the sidelines in the near future, as Erickson stated that the redshirt freshman is scheduled to resume practice next week.

Erickson added that he would like to increase the snaps that wide receiver Rashad Ross gets on game day and another wide receiver, J.J. Holliday see some game action now that he has fully healed from his collarbone injury. Both receivers possess an element of speed that this group is lacking right now.


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