Scrimmage Focused on Situational Work

The Sun Devils went through a low key, non-tackling scrimmage on Wednesday night. According to head coach Dirk Koetter; with the season opener just a week away it was designed to focus on the more important aspects.

"Any time you take the tempo down a notch, it makes things weird because we don't practice at that tempo that often," said Koetter concerning Wednesday's scrimmage. "But we traded situational work for collisions. We don't have to have guys banging each other when we're eight days away from the game. What we needed was a lot of situational work – we did 135 different play situations and kick situations. Some great, some not so great. The great thing is that when you do it in a practice like this, not only do you experience doing it on the field, but now we watch all it again for the next couple of days in film session." Koetter added that attention to detail, in situational work such as this scrimmage, is one aspect that the team needs to improve on for the 2004 season.

Year in and year out, pre-season preparations usually run a certain course, but the Sun Devil skipper isn't shy about changing his methods and adapting to his squad. "We have a set philosophy we try to follow," he explained, "but you have to adjust to your team. I was so concerned last year about injuries, because we had so many guys coming back. When we looked back at last season we didn't feel like we were tough enough in camp, and we didn't condition as well. I have a tendency to hold back on the guys, but we haven't held back this year. That was the biggest change we made. Conditioning wise we're in good shape. Toughness – we have to wait until we play somebody."

In response to the question who will replace cornerback R.J. Oliver, who is gone for the year. The ASU head coach mentioned Josh Golden as the leading candidate. Chad Green and Mike Davis will also be in the mix. At least for the short term, Koetter doesn't plan to have former cornerback and current safety Emmanuel Franklin back to his old role. "Have we thought about it? Yes. But I hate to make two moves because of one," Koetter explained. "I'm not gonna say that it could never happen, because it could. Behind Manny and Riccardo none of those guys played safety either. That might be a possibility at one point, but it's not a possibility for UTEP."

Quarterback Andrew Walter said following the scrimmage that he feels that he and the team have done good job training for the season opener. "The scrimmage wasn't in full speed, so timing was a little off. I felt I played awesome besides two throws…we worked harder than any team I've been at ASU. We work smarter, we've done everything that it takes to prepare, so now we have to go out and prove it. Everybody's doing great work, but it counts on Thursday and every Saturday after that."

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