Sun Devils Go Through Peculiar Inagural Practice

It started with lighting and ended with darkness. But true to the team's motto of "Answer the Scratch", the maroon and gold had a spirited and productive practice to open their 2005 fall camp.

Friday night's practice was delayed close to an hour due to lighting strikes in the area. Other than that, mother nature spared Tempe from the rains that hit the rest of the east valley, and provided unseasonably cool weather. Hours later, the timer on the practice field lights didn't account for the late finish, and the squad conducted the last 15 minutes of their practice in the dark. When this occurred, one of the ASU players exclaimed "fight adversity", and according to head coach Dirk Koetter, this is exactly what has transpired. "The field not lined this morning, we had to wait an hour for the lighting, and then the lights went out because somebody forgot to change the timer," said Koetter. "Good lesson in ‘we don't control what we don't control, and we better worry about what we do control.' The guys came out here with a great attitude and were excited to practice. Somewhat of a let down when you practice for five minutes and the weather takes you out of it, but I'm pleased with the way guys prepared and how they worked."

There was one aspect in particular that impressed the Sun Devil skipper in practice. "First and foremost you can tell that our conditioning level is really good," Koetter stated. "(Coach) House told me that this was the best summer we had in conditioning, and it appeared that way in how they moved around. The guys that weren't here in the summer struggled more than the guys who were, which was the majority of them."

Koetter added that due to finals taking place earlier in the day, the veterans and the newcomers took the field at the same time. However, starting Sunday and for the rest of the pre-Tontozona practices newcomers will take to the field earlier than the veterans and get in some extra work.

Two noticeable absences on Friday were newcomers defensive lineman Michael Marquardt and cornerback Chris Baloney. The former's absence is a temporary one, while the later's is apparently permanent. "Michael Marquardt isn't going to come in until school starts because of summer school commitments at BYU," Koetter explained. "Chris Baloney didn't report because he has some family issues to deal with, and we wish him the best and hope that situation is resolved."

In regards to the players who were present, Koetter talked about the importance of having running backs Randy Hill and Cornell Canidate back in the fold. "The maturity level that these two guys bring…it's just great to have them out there. They know what they're doing and always try to do what they're coached to do. I appreciate that about both Randy and Cornell. Time will tell what their bodies will let them do what they need to do, but it's great to see them back out here."

The team will practice in shells on Sunday and Monday, and be in pads on Tuesday. "The difference between a shell practice and a pads practice – you really can't tell the difference," remarked Koetter.

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