Young Guns Make Mark on Offense

If someone were to say that at the beginning of Camp Tontozona that freshmen Loren Wade and Rudy Burgess would end camp as the second teamers on their respective units, this person would have been met with a healthy dose of skepticism. Sure enough, Wade has accomplished that feat and Burgess may well be on his way to duplicate that achievement. DevilsDigest talked to the duo about their performance thus far in the pre-season.

Running back Loren Wade may have not had a great camp ending scrimmage, but the fact that he did run with the second offensive unit is a naturally a clear indicator as to his performance in the pre-season. "It was a pretty good camp this year." Says Wade, "Last year wasn't so good because I was injured, and I never participated much. But right now I'm playing well, so that feels good." Coming into camp, Wade's expectations were quite simple. "I was hoping to work real hard, and hopefully the coaches would see my progression. They gave me the chance to step it up, so I'm lucky I'm running with the second team right now." The redshirt freshman also mentioned that hitting the hole hard and "not dancing around too much." Is the biggest aspect of his game that he has improved from last year.

Many of the younger players on this Sun Devil team have been giving kudos to the leadership of the upper classmen. Wade is no exception to that trend when he talks about ASU's starting running back. "Mike Williams has been great to me. Some players see somebody pushing them, and they don't help you because of that. But he really stuck with me and is helping me out a lot. He showed me a lot of things, and helped keep my drive going."

While the running back is appreciative of the position he is in right now, he's also confident that he can hold off the stiff competition to knock him down a peg or two down the depth chart. "I don't know if it will be that hard to hold on to my spot. I know we have a lot of talent at running back, but I think I have that drive to work as hard as I can and hit the holes hard when I'm running…I'm not surprised that I'm on the second team. But I know I will work hard to keep that spot. We all wanna work hard and do a better job rushing this year, and I just want to contribute to that."

Rudy Burgess (pictured) was the only receiver to be signed in the current recruiting class. The emergence in the spring of returning players such as Moey Mutz and Terry Richardson, made some think that the true freshman would be hard pressed to crack even the third team receiver unit and avoid the redshirt tag. However, with a team leading 78 yards and two touchdowns in Saturday's scrimmage, it's highly unlikely that he won't see playing time this season. "I feel very confident about myself and the team as a whole." Said Burgess about the camp that just concluded, "We came here and worked hard. We got a lot done as far as working on our game and team unity…coming into camp I just wanted to get a chance to perform on the field and do whatever the coach wants me to do. I just wanted to work my (behind) off (smile)."

The receiver's camp went so well, that even the hazing part was deemed by him as satisfactory... "They said we got lucky this year, because all they did is wet our beds. I guess last year they took hoses through the windows and flooded the whole room. I think a lot of guys weren't really into that, so I guess it wasn't bad."

Burgess was the only 2003 signee who's academic situation could have prevented him from qualifying this season. Sure enough, the receiver took care of his affairs and he now looks back with pride at what he accomplished. "Qualifying was really satisfying. I was working hard during the school year, and it took a lot for me to qualify. I just have to keep up the good work now, and get my degree."

Clearly, the receiver has been taking care of business on the field as well. His performance hasn't gone unnoticed by the coaches, and is giving him confidence as to his chances of contributing this year. "I'm working hard and getting good vibes from the coaches. There some times that I miss assignments, but I know if I work hard I'll get better. I'm gonna try real hard not to redshirt." And what about securing a spot on the second team? "It's gonna be a battle because we have so many good receivers. Some of those guys like Matt Miller were injured in camp and you know that when they come back they gonna fight you for playing time. All I can do is work hard, learn the offense, and improve. If I do that the playing time will come too."

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