Arizona State conducted its penultimate practice of the spring on Wednesday, and it was a more important one than what fans will see later this week when the Sun Devils finally wrap things up after five weeks of action.
"We won't scrimmage Saturday, it'll be a regular practice, kind of a fan appreciation type deal and do some interactive things with our fans who are there," ASU coach Todd Graham said. "It will be very controlled, no tackling or anything like that."
But the Sun Devils did scrimmage Wednesday, albeit outside of the eye of reporters. ASU's offense wore maroon and gold game jerseys while its defense donned all white.
"Lots of good things, had some explosive plays," Graham said. "(Senior wide receiver and recent cornerback) Tim White standing out, went both ways (offense and defense), handled it pretty well. (Junior running back) Kalen Ballage had a big run. Defense had some takeaways, kind of the first time. We had I think three interceptions. So I liked that. Had a two minute situation. It was good, back and fourth, probably defense got a little better of them today. But lots of positive things, I thought we ran the ball really well and did some good things."
Wicker continues to make strides
Graham recently called ASU sophomore defensive linemen Joseph Wicker the team's best pass rusher, aided in part by a 10 pound weight loss that has made Wicker quicker off the football as he enters his second year in the program. The praise continued Wednesday, but with an important caveat: Wicker's not ready to dominate just yet.
"JoJo's biggest challenge is competing to be the best in the country," Wicker He is really gifted. When he has a knowledge and understanding of what he's doing he has a chance to be really special. He's not right now, but he's got a chance to be and I love his attitude. he's a dynamic player for us that I think needs to fill that role, maybe like a (former ASU two-time Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year) Will Sutton did. That front three, (senior defensive tackle) Ami (Latu) and (junior defensive tackle) Tashon (Smallwood) and JoJo (Wicker) are pretty special and I like how we're developing behind it. I think (redshirt freshman defensive tackle) George (Lea) is probably the next guy, George has had a really good spring."
Most impressive newcomer tabbed
A record seven mid-year scholarship additions are practicing with the Sun Devils this spring, none leaving a bigger imprint on the mind of his head coach than junior outside linebacker Koron Crump. A former star at Fort Scott Community College in Kansas, the 6-foot-4, 220 pound Crump had double-digit sacks in each of his two seasons at the school. He's at times worked with the first-team at Spur this spring.
"He is just relentless," Graham said of Crump. "He doesn't always do it right but he's going to do it one hundred miles an hour and he's got a lot of athleticism. He's got to continue to be more physical but he's a guy, out of all the newcomers, he's stood out the most with how he's listened and adapted and done well."