Defense Gets the Best of Ragged Scrimmage

The first scrimmage of spring practice is rarely a thing of beauty. Sure enough, that's what transpired at Sun Devil stadium on Saturday afternoon. Nevertheless, head coach Dirk Koetter was encouraged by the defensive performance.

"Today was a little bit raggedy at times," Koetter said. "Our defense put it together pretty well. The playmakers showed up – Jamar (Williams) and Dale (Robinson) certainly made plays. The quarterbacks didn't play particularly well on offense. We held Rudy Burgess out from running the football because he has a bruised hand, but he did play some on the perimeter."

"We have to remember that this is a situational scrimmage," Koetter continued. "Sometimes when the offense had momentum the drive ended when it normally wouldn't have. But all in all the defense got the best of the day. We got a lot of good work on film, and we'll learn from it next week." The Sun Devils' skipper added that he wasn't surprised by the scrimmage's uneven nature. "Very typical, and as much as you say it doesn't have to be that way, it seems that like every year I say the same thing and every year it's pretty much the same thing."

This spring, new defensive coordinator Bill Miller has been indoctrinating the ASU defenders with his schemes and alignments. Koetter is content with their progress thus far. "I'd say that they're further along than I thought they would be," he commented. "He's (Miller) throwing a lot of stuff at them. I'm real pleased how they're picking it up and how they're taking to Bill. He's got some real playmakers there in Jamar and Dale... Working with the officials in a live situation will obviously work in the defense's advantage, and that's fine. We're out here trying to get better as a team – it's not offense vs. defense."

Koetter also pointed out the pleasing performance by the special teams. "We got some good work in today," he said. "Again, I will say it was a little ragged…they were two really nice blocked punts. One by Littrele Jones and one by Michael Jones. We have been trying to find some guys that are capable of blocking kicks – that's one of the biggest plays in football. Both of them have been talking my ear off telling me they're the guy and they both got one today. That was a positive."

A slew of first year players are getting a chance to strut their skills this spring, and Koetter pointed out some of the individuals that are making their mark in the last two weeks. "All three JC transfers (Will Kofe, Zach Catanese, and Beau Manutai) on defense are all doing some great things," stated Koetter. "Wes Evans at defensive end…Robert James at linebacker is really starting to come on. Uriah Marshall in the secondary…Jeremy Payton making the move (from offense) in the secondary has been doing a nice job. Offensively, Nate Kimbrough at wide receiver has been doing some nice things. Leo Talavou is getting a ton of reps on the O-line – we held out Stephen Berg today. I'm pleased with the progress he's making. Greg Woidneck at punter has been getting a lot of reps, because Chris MacDonald has a bad groin. We have two pretty solid punters."

Sun Devil Source Top Stories