Wilkins eager to bounce back against Washington State

Arizona State quarterback Manny Wilkins is hoping the Sun Devils can score another bounce-back win after losing at Colorado.

Arizona State sophomore quarterback Manny Wilkins arrived at Tuesday's practice in running shoes just days after playing with a high ankle sprain in the Sun Devils' 40-16 loss to Colorado.

Wilkins didn't participate in the individual and tempo portions of practice open to the media, instead watching from the side as he did for most of last week's practices.

Nevertheless, Wilkins intends to play again Saturday against Washington State, as the Sun Devils look to improve to 6-2 and remain undefeated at Sun Devil Stadium. 

"We just got to bounce back, like I said before, our mindset doesn't change, we just have to go 1-0 every week," Wilkins said Tuesday. "Our goals and everything that we have planned are still right in front of us so we just have to make sure we correct the film and bounce back."

Led by a quarterback obviously hampered by injury, ASU put up just 199 yards of total offense against Colorado Saturday, which marked the lowest total yardage output of the Todd Graham era. 

Much like he has done after past offensive struggles, Wilkins put the blame for the Sun Devils' inability to move the ball against the Buffaloes on his own shoulders, suggesting he needs to do a better job getting his offense in rhythm earlier in the game.

"I just got to play better," Wilkins said. "I've got to put the ball in guys hands and be more decisive with locations and just kind of, like I said, earlier in the season, it's getting things rolling faster. Obviously we didn't do that Saturday night but I'm not discouraged or anything in our offense and we'll bounce back so we'll be alright."

Designed quarterback runs and early scrambles were a significant part of Wilkins' game before he suffered his ankle injury against USC, and Saturday in Boulder, the Sun Devils' signal-caller didn't take off from the pocket until the final play of the first half. 

This week, Wilkins and ASU will contend with a strong Washington State rushing defense as the Sun Devils look to rebuild a ground game that has been limited to an average of fewer than 70 yards per game rushing over their past three games.

"They're (Washington State) very young and a very energetic team," Wilkins said. "I know a couple guys on the team and they just love the game that they play. It shows I think. They've won the past four games so they've got a little momentum going with them but we're a tough team to beat at home and we take pride in that."

Under head coach Todd Graham, ASU has historically bounced back well from blowout losses. Even this season, the Sun Devils rebounded from a 41-20 loss to USC with a 23-20 win over UCLA, even as Wilkins was forced to watch from the sidelines.

On Tuesday, Wilkins credited ASU's resiliency to the team's ability to keep a broader perspective on its goals, and not allow a singular moment to define their greater vision.

"I really think it's just our mindset," Wilkins said. "There's a lot of things that can go wrong and a team can just fall and break down and not want to bounce back from it and say, oh because we lost this game our season is over. We don't think like that. We take it week by week and try to go 1-0 each week. We just have to keep working."

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