With less than two weeks remaining until Arizona State kicks off its 2016 season against Northern Arizona, the Sun Devils began game preparations for their opener on Tuesday.
As preparations began for week one, ASU debuted its scout team units which will work on simulating opponents' schemes, plays and personnel throughout the season. Scout team players are unlikely to play during the regular season, but if particular players show improvement or injuries begin to decimate the depth chart, the coaching staff can move a player from the scout team to practice in ASU's two-deep.
The purpose of ASU's scout team is not to practice the Sun Devils' scheme, but to give players on the two-deep a look at what opponents will do in game situations.
"We're still going good on good, but we did divide up with what we call our kodak team basically demonstrating what basic fronts and coverages and plays that we anticipate doing in all three phases so putting in our base game plan stuff today, working hard, having a great day," ASU head coach Todd Graham said.
Notable scholarship players wearing scout team jerseys on Tuesday were sophomore tight end JayJay Wilson, redshirt freshman running back Jason Lewis, freshman cornerback Chase Lucas, sophomore offensive lineman Connor Humphreys, sophomore defensive tackle Emmanuel Dayries and junior college transfers Deion Guignard and Christian Hill.
Guignard has practiced with the inside linebackers during camp, while Hill has worked with the defensive tackles. Both players entered ASU with four years to play three seasons, so the coaching staff may be exploring the idea of redshirting both players.
Graham said one of the challenges of transitioning into game week preparation is making sure the tempo of practices remains fast, because scout team players are typically more inexperienced than the rest of the roster.
"Sometimes it kind of slows things down a little bit because it's a lot faster pace when you're going good on good and we're doing a lot more than normal good on good just to keep that pace up there," Graham said. "Usually when you go to scouts, or what we call kodak, it slows the pace down a little bit. Today it didn't."
News and Notes
- Graham said ASU has not named its captains yet, and that the Sun Devils will have game captains. "You'll have to earn it every week," Graham said.
- Redshirt freshman defensive tackle George Lea was back at practice in a white defensive jersey, but after walking through the injury line during warmups, Lea worked out at Muscle Beach.
- Sophomore safety Das Tautalatasi was wearing a white jersey and practicing normally during position drills on Tuesday. Last week, Tautalatasi was not wearing a helmet and walked through the injury line in a green jersey and sunglasses.
- Sophomore wide receiver Jalen Harvey was out of a green jersey and practicing in individual drills. The media did not see any team periods on Tuesday, but Harvey has been participating in some team periods in a green jersey of late.
- Junior college transfer Maurice Chandler was also out of a green jersey and participating in individual drills. Like Harvey, Chandler has participated in some team periods recently, and Chandler tweeted on Monday he would be ready for the season opener against Northern Arizona.
- Redshirt freshman Malik Lawal worked with the ends and Devil backers in position drills Tuesday after spending time late last week with the inside linebackers. A day before Lawal began working with the linebackers, Graham called Lawal a starter as a pass rusher in third down situations.
- Walk-on defensive tackle Tramel Topps earned a scholarship on Monday, and Graham said Topps epitomizes what it means to be a Sun Devil. Graham singled out other walk-ons who were close to earning a scholarship including center Tyler McClure, linebacker Brandon Mathews and wide receiver Ryan Jenkins.