Defense Dominates Second Spring Scrimmage

The Sun Devil offense was only able to muster three scores on Saturday against their stingy teammates on defense.

The maroon and gold first team offense had an especially tough time against their counterparts in the white jerseys. Andrew Walter overthrew a few balls, and when the others seemed to be right on target his receivers managed to drop them. One under thrown ball went for an interception by R.J. Oliver. The running game didn't fair much better as Loren Wade was able to post only one run longer than five yards (a nine–yard dash).

On the other hand, the second team offense was sizzling. Sam Keller was extremely effective going 6-8 for 139 yards and a couple of scores. Both his touchdowns were long range throws to Rudy Burgess (54 yards), and former high school nemesis Moey Mutz (45 yards). Keller showed great mobility, and at one time was garnering chants of "Michael Vick" following a 10-yard scamper.

Both Randy and Hakim Hill shined in the ground attack. Aside from having a ten-yard touchdown, Hakim had two other long runs of ten yards or better. It was by far his best performance during this year's spring practice. Randy Hill, who had an outstanding scrimmage last Saturday, kept on pushing those ahead of him on the depth chart with his play.

On defense it's hard to name one or two stars, due to the fact that so many players turned in solid performances. The first two series were of the ‘three and out' variety. Defensive tackles Gabe Reininger and Jordan Hill effectively plugged up the middle. Defensive ends Ishmael Thrower and Aaron Austin each notched a sack. Linebacker Matt Fawley had a fumble recovery. While the wide receivers as a group had a sub par scrimmage, this doesn't take away from the solid effort shown by the maroon and gold defensive backs.

Other quick scrimmage notes: Burgess was outstanding as a punt returner, and showed tremendous speed and quickness. Terry Richardson, albeit in the shadow of Burgess was impressive as well returning punts…when the offense did score touchdowns there was some solid blocking involved. Mike Pollak had a nice kick block on the Burgess touchdown, while Brandon Rodd and Terry Richardson effectively threw their weight around on the Hakim Hill score…Tyrice Thompson's 11-yard catch ended with a punishing blow to the player trying to tackle him…Chaz White and Josh Brayer accounted for the lone fight today. Some say White displayed uncharacteristic fire during that fight…ASU signees Zach Miller, Uriah Marshall, David Smith, and Adam Vincent were in attendance, as well as California quarterback Rudy Carpenter.

Koetter Quotes

General Thoughts on the scrimmage

"As an the offensive coach it was ragged. Defense dominated. To their credit they came out and were a lot more active with their line movements today – they hadn't been doing that. That was a great move for them to make, and we (the offense) didn't react very well. The defensive line played with a lot better pad level. The first team defense totally dominated the first team offense. The second team offense was able to make some plays. Due to injuries, our second team defense and third team defense are one in the same."

On the line movement displayed by the defense today

"It's not really a game plan. We have installation by day. This is day 12. Once something has been installed, it's fair game. A team can install something day two, and not break it out again until day 12. That's just all a progression. They did that today, and stayed hot with it."

"Offensively, our plan was to run the ball at them, and play action off of it. Again, with their line movements we never made a lot of yardage on first down for the most part. We were always in long yardage and that's a story that has been told before. We didn't want to work on our long yardage game, but when you have officials and chains, you have to play with what's out there. In a scripted play, if a play is bad you just go to the next play. In a scrimmage, even if you want to work on the run game and it's 3rd and 15…"

On the play of Hakim Hill

"Hakim had a good day. You have to give him his props. We all know his talent. The key for him is consistency. Loren and Randy are both more consistent. But he was the main man today."

On the dropped passes in today's scrimmage, and Walter's performance

"We have been having too many drops. Certain guys have been having drops every day, and certain guys haven't. We dropped way too many passes to be successful today. Andrew struggled, but the drops didn't help him. He wasn't as sharp as he was last week. I'm not a big fan of any quarterback playing in an orange shirt, because then I have to make those decisions ‘is he sacked or not sacked?' I hate to be in that position."

On the team's injuries

"Zach (Krula) had a concussion yesterday. J.W. Lucas had a concussion too. I expect them both back on Tuesday. Stephen Berg rolled up his ankle. He tried to come back and couldn't. Julius Orieukwu will have shoulder surgery…we've been playing with seven-man rotation (on the offensive line)." (Note – other players held out were Riccardo Stewart, Josh Barrett, and Cornell Canidate).

On the defensive line's performance

"Their movement and penetration was much better, and they got off blocks. Anybody that has been in spring practice would agree that the offensive line has been fairly dominant. Today the defensive line was better and you have to give them credit. They did it without Kyle for the most part, who has been their most solid player. Other guys rose up and made plays. Josh Brayer, Mike Talbot, and Ishmael Thrower made plays at defensive end. Our tackles had their best day, Gabe Reininger, Connor Banks, Jordan Hill – I noticed all those guys."

On Burgess' and Richardson's performance returning punts

"One thing Coach Osborne and I have been talking about, is that we're looking for a return man that says ‘I'm the return guy and everybody on the field knows it.' Someone separating the pack…I definitely saw that today from Rudy Burgess. He said ‘give me the ball and I'll get some yards.' I thought Terry Richardson did a good job as well, but Rudy Burgess was just dominant."

On Chris McDonald and Jesse Ainsworth

"Chris kicked the ball a lot better than he did last week. He's like so many redshirt freshmen – his biggest battle is between his ears. He lacks confidence. When he goes out there, and all eyes are on him – he gets nervous. That's what a redshirt freshman does. I thought he relaxed much better today. Like many young players we're looking for consistency. He struggled last week, and he was much better today. That shows progress."

"Ainsworth was driving the ball. It was coming off his foot like a line drive on a baseball bat. Last week he was popping them up, and today he wasn't. Just like every spring practice, there's some good stuff and some not good stuff."

Unofficial Scrimmage Stats

Passing

Andrew Walter 2-14-1 30 yds

Sam Keller 6-8-0 139 2TD's

Mike Affleck 2-5 41

Rushing

R. Hill 13-61

H. Hill 8-67 TD

Loren Wade 8-25

Receiving

Rudy Burgess 3-95 TD

Terry Richardson 2-28

Moey Mutz 1-45 TD

Derek Hagan 1-11

Tyrice Thompson 1-11

H. Hill 1-10

Brian Hernandez 1-10

Defense

R.J. Interception

Maurice London pass breakup

Matt Fawley fumble recovery

Aaron Austin sack

Ishmael Thrower sack

Rudy Sanchez sack

Kicking

Jesse Ainsworth 9-14 FG's. Made: 35,35,44,35,35,35,35,44,35.

Missed: 44,44,44,44,45

Chris McDonald both field goals attempts blocked


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