Scrimmage Showcases Defensive Domination

CAMP TONTOZONA - The skies were overcast for Camp Tontozona's first scrimmage, but the outcome was crystal clear. The Sun Devil defense had its way with the offense. However, head coach Dirk Koetter feels that the whole team is progressing on schedule.

"Defense had a much better day than the offense did," said Koetter. "They just out-executed them. The defensive line put good pressure on the quarterback on a four-man rush. Good and bad we'll learn off the film, and for 11 practices in we're fine, where we should be." Koetter added that the practices thus far didn't lead him to believe that the offense would perform as they did on Sunday.

Quarterback Andrew Walter looked average in today's scrimmage, while some of the other signal callers had some encouraging showings. "Andrew didn't have a great day," Koetter admitted. "We didn't protect him very well. He was late on a couple things… obviously I've seen him play a lot better than that…quarterback play was pretty average overall today. It was good to see these freshmen under fire. I think you have to look at what Rudy Carpenter can do - he's a scrambler. Max Hall is an excellent passer, but just very average performance by the QB's." Aside from protection, Koetter cited coverage, and holding onto the ball for too long as other reasons for the sacks that took place."

With the constant defensive pressure, the wide receivers didn't have many chances to showcase their abilities, but when they did the Sun Devil skipper felt they did fine. One wideout that did well today (scored one of only three touchdowns), and been shining bright since the beginning of fall camp is Terry Richardson.

"He was hot yesterday and that (the scrimmage) was just a continuation of that," said Koetter of Richardson. He didn't get too many catches, but that sure was a nice (touchdown) catch. You can definitely see that Andrew has more confidence throwing a ball to a spot, knowing that T-Rich can get it. He's a different type of receiver than Shaun (McDonald) was a couple of years ago. Shaun could run under anything. Terry is more of an acrobatic guy. He's good in the air, and concentrate on the ball when he's off his feet. Terry is just so much further along (than last year) that he's helping the young guys."

The ground game actually had a respectable showing amassing 163 yards on 41 carries. ASU's three main running backs, Loren Wade, Hakim Hill, and Randy Hill, had literally an even number of reps, and all of them didn't disappoint. "We tried to go those three backs (Canidate was out with a hamstring injury), and limit them to seven carries each," explained Koetter. "If this was a game situation, we would continue to run the ball more… first scrimmage, with Loren and Randy coming off injuries, we thought seven carries each is the right number. All three guys ran hard."

A banged up offensive line caused some players to actually play on the first and second unit. Koetter said that the group may still going through their natural learning curve, but the hogs up front are definitely showing some promise. "They're OK. They're swimming a little bit in terminology," he said, "but we played them a little bit today – we played that third group a few more reps. That's a good looking group of linemen. I really like those freshmen and redshirt freshmen." The ASU coach added that he was also impressed with the conditioning of the offensive linemen, especially the pair of 6-7 and 6-8 linemen Andrew Carnahan and Zach Krula who preformed quite well during the 13 100-yard sprints that took place at the end of practice.

The team's doctor will be evaluating injured lineman Grayling Love to determine his prognosis and timetable to engage in full contact drills. Love's availability does impact Brandon Rodd, who has been running with the first team the last few days. "When Love and Drew Hodgdon come back, Brandon will still have to play tackle some of the time. To get the best five on the field right now he has to play left guard. He was also taking reps at tackle." Koetter added that Hodgdon's replacement Mike Pollak has been making some mistakes that are attributed to his inexperience, but generally there's no reason to believe that he won't be better as camp rolls along.

Another day of practice, another solid display by junior transfer linebacker Dale Robinson. "I feel good out there," he said. "Coach Guy says I'm a pretty good blizter, so I try to use that to the best of my ability. I just try to help the team and make a lot of plays. I think made some mistakes, but overall for the first scrimmage we did real well."

With the shift of Jamar Williams to the Devil linebacker position, Robinson was named the starter at the SAM linebacker when fall camp commenced. It was definitely a bold move by the coaching staff, but one that has also been very effective. How did Robinson react to all of this? "It definitely was pressure," he remarked, "but it was also one of my goals so I did take it as a challenge. If I'm gonna be the starter I need to go out and make plays, so people can see that. If I get run over and not make plays, people will say that ASU has a problem at my position. I don't want any of that (smile). I'm not just there to be a starter, I want to be a factor."

His quick emergence to success has been a surprise to fans and probably coaches. Was it necessarily a shocker to Robinson himself? "A little bit," he confessed. "I did catch on real quick, and started to make plays. I thought it might take a little longer than it did, so I'm not gonna lie about that (smile). I'm definitely still hungry and working hard to keep my starting job."

Scrimmage Stats


Walter 5-9 31 TD

Keller 5-9 74

Hall 7-10 59 INT

Carpenter 2-4 11 2TD

Christensen 1-4 6


Wade 7-38

Wilks 10-25

R. Hill 7-28

H. Hill 9-34

Gammage 6-23

Carpenter 2-15


Hagan 2-14

Richardson 1-4 TD

Burgess 1-13

Matt Miller 1-16

Zach Miller 2-13

Brent Miller 1-5

Mutz 2-46

Gray 2-19 TD

Mills 2-10

Pettes 1-6 TD

Lewis 1-11

R. Hill 1-8

Austin 1-8

Bisnet 1-3

Other Stats

Thrower 21/2 sacks

Caldwell 2 sacks

Evans one sack

Verdon ½ sack

J. Hill tackled R. Hill for safety, caused fumble

Verdon had a tipped pass

Fobbs-Valentino had two passes defended

London INT

Robert James fumble recovered

Ainsworth made 18-19 field goals. His lone miss was from 4 yards.

MacDonald had ten punts for an average of 47.3 yards a punt.

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