2006 Spring Preview

2005 was a mixed bag of goods for the maroon and gold. A 7-5 record showcased one the best offenses ever in Tempe, coupled with special teams units who re-wrote the school's history books. Nevertheless, the deficiencies on defense and in the punting game left much to be desired. The 15-practice session starting on Monday, will aim to improve on the aforementioned inadequacies, as well as give many seldom used players a chance to start carving their niche on the team.


Sam Keller 6-4 230 Sr.
Rudy Carpenter 6-2 200 So.
Derek Shaw 6-4 215 RS-Fr.

2005 Statistics

Keller: 2,165 yards, 20 TD, 9 INT
Carpenter: 2,273 yards, 17 TD, 2 INT

Arguably the most intriguing position battle entering the spring with two of the nation's most prolific signal callers. Sam Keller is looking to regain his form a season-ending surgery from an injury that sidelined him midway through the 2005 campaign. Carpenter did not have much trouble taking over the reigns for Keller and finished the season as the national leader in passing efficiency with a rating of 175.0. Redshirt freshman Derek Shaw will also get a chance to further his development in the offense.


"X " Position

Jamaal Lewis 6-4 221 Sr.
Nate Kimbrough 6-1 180 So.
Brandon Smith 6-1 182 RS-Fr.

"Y" Position

Terry Richardson 6-1 187 Sr.
Michael   Jones 6-3 194 So.
Chris McGaha 6-1 188 RS-Fr.

2005 Statistics

Richardson: 37 catches, 5 TD
Lewis: 23 catches, 5 TD
Kimbrough: 7 catches, 1 TD
Jones: 4 catches

Pac-10 record breaking receiver Derek Hagan leaves some big shoes to fill as a group with some intriguing talent but short on experience look to take over. Terry Richardson enters his senior campaign as the bona fide leader of this unit and has locked up one of the starting spots. With the relative lack of experience at the position, Jamaal Lewis will split time between TE and WR. Two sophomores, Kimbrough and Jones, figure to have expanded roles this season after seeing the field in a reduced capacity in ‘05. Two darkhorses that have the ability to breakout this spring and make their presence known are redshirt freshmen Brandon Smith and Chris McGaha. Despite a logjam at WR last year, Smith made such an impact this past August, that he prompted the coaching staff to think twice about redshirting him.


TE Zach Miller 6-5 262 Jr.
Jovon Williams 6-3 212 RS-Fr.

HB Brent Miller 6-5 235 Jr.
Dane Guthrie 6-2 256 So.
Andrew Pettes 6-4 235 So.

2005 Statistics

Z. Miller: 38 catches, 4 TD
B. Miller: 7 catches, 2 TD

Brent Miller is the early favorite to succeed in the departed blocking role Lee Burghgraef vacated at H-Back. Younger brother Zach also has the inside track to start at TE as the group's most proven commodity both blocking and catching. However, University of Florida transfer Dane Guthrie, will likely provide a strong push for playing time. Guthrie has arguably been the most impressive, thus far, of the four transfers that had to sit out during the 2005 season.


LT Brandon Rodd 6-4 300 Jr.
J.D. Walton 6-3 298 RS-Fr.

LG Stephen Berg 6-6 309 Sr.
Leo Talavou 6-4 362 So.
Shawn Lauvao 6-3 297 RS-Fr.

C Mike Pollak 6-4 285 Jr.
Thomas Altieri 6-2 289 RS-Fr.
J.D. Walton 6-3 298 RS-Fr.

RG Zach Krula (injured) 6-7 310 Sr.
Robert Gustavis 6-4 292 Jr.
Paul Fanaika 6-6 355 So.

RT Andrew Carnahan 6-8 287 Sr.
Julius Orieukwu 6-7 317 Jr.
Richard Tuitu'u 6-7 333 RS-Fr.

The Offensive Line looks to be one of the strongest units of the team in 2006 with four of last season's starters returning. With the unit depleted by injuries last season, some of the younger players gained some valuable experience that will hopefully pay dividends this season. Grayling Love will be replaced by the versatile Mike Pollak at center. Two positions that need to find better production off the bench this season are RT and LG. Two talented redshirt freshmen, Richard Tuitu'u and Shawn Lauvao, will enter the race with Julius Orieukwu and Leo Talavou, respectively at those two positions.


RB Keegan Herring 5-10 179 So.
Preston Jones 5-8 175 Jr.
Shaun DeWitty 6-1 201 RS-Fr.

2005 Statistics

Herring: 158 carries, 870 yards, 6 TD
Jones: 39 carries, 187 yards, 2 TD
DeWitty: 6 carries, 24 yards

Freshman sensation Keegan Herring looks to take a bulk of the carries this spring before JUCO transfer Ryan Torain arrives in the fall. The four weeks could be a successful springboard for Herring if can improve on his backfield blocking and ability to hang onto the pigskin.


DE Tranell Morant 6-5 272 So.
Loren Howard (injured) 6-4 280 Sr.
Dexter Davis 6-2 239 RS-Fr.

DT Michael Marquardt 6-4 260 Jr.
Shannon Jones 6-2 231 Sr.

DT Jordan Hill 6-2 282 Sr.
David Smith 6-3 261 So.

DE Kyle Caldwell (injured) 6-3 270 Sr.
Will Kofe 6-2 283 Sr.
Kellen Mills 6-3 236 Jr.

2005 Statistics

Hill: 31 tackles
Kofe: 23 tackles
Caldwell: 17 tackles
Smith: 5 tackles

Defensive line may be the position commanding the most fan anticipation this spring due to the eligibility of a trio of transfers, giving the Devils finally some workable numbers on its front four. Florida transfer Tranell Morant is expected to see a lot of time at defensive end this spring and in the fall. Two talented, yet often injured, defensive ends in Loren Howard and Kyle Caldwell will be sidelined this spring. That may turn out to be a nice opportunity for Will Kofe to develop in the system a little more. On the interior of the line, Jordan Hill will be the group leader and will, hopefully, get some help alongside BYU transfer Michael Marquardt this season. If Shannon Jones can improve his conditioning, he can also be a significant contributor inside.


"SAM" Position Chad Lindsey 6-0 212 So.
Wes Evans 6-3 229 So.

"MIKE " Position

Beau Manutai 6-2 265 Sr.
Adam Vincent 6-2 239 So.
Antone Saulsberry 6-0 229 So.

"WILL" Position

Robert James 6-0 220 Jr.
Derron Ware 6-4 211 Sr.

2005 Statistics

James: 36 tackles
Manutai: 36 tackles
Vincent: 13 tackles
Ware: 8 tackles
Lindsey: 5 tackles

Robert James is the lone starter returning from a group that lost Co-Defensive POY in the Pac-10 last season, Dale Robinson, and four year veteran Jamar Williams. Beau Manutai and Adam Vincent provide the most exciting backdrop of the position battles here. Manutai came on strong late last season while Vincent has a motor that won't keep him on the bench for long. True sophomore Chad Lindsey may benefit the most this spring with his back-up, Wes Evans, being new to the position. Lindsey will see more competition in the fall with the arrival of five new faces.


S Josh Barrett 6-2 214 So.
Troy Nolan 6-0 190 Jr.
Angelo Fobbs-Valentino 6-1 196 So.
Mike Nixon 6-2 215 Fr.

S Zach Catanese 6-2 226 Sr.
Jeremy Payton 6-1 198 So.
Uriah Marshall 5-11 177 So.
Rodney Cox 6-0 203 So.

2005 Statistics

Catanese: 107 tackles
Barrett: 37 tackles
Payton 25 tackles

A nice position battle may be brewing at one spot with Josh Barrett and JUCO transfer Troy Nolan. Barrett, who's injuries have prevented him thus far from participating in any spring practice session, has experience but still has to separate himself from the competition. A strong showing in the later stages of 2005 may be a sign that he's ready to turn the corner. Mike Nixon will use the next four weeks to get back into the football swing of things and acclimate himself to college life. Zach Catanese will be among the conference's top returning safeties at the other spot, and the overall leader of the backfield. Jeremy Payton has played well as the proverbial nickel back. Uriah Marshall moves over to the safety group after spending the last two at corner.


CB Keno Walter-White (injured) 6-0 174 Sr.
Rudy Burgess 5-11 181 Jr.
Chris Baloney 6-0 180 Jr.
Littrele Jones 5-9 176 Jr.
Grant Crunkleton 5-11 172 RS-Fr.

CB Chad Green 5-10 179 So.
Justin Tryon 5-9 185 Jr.
Travis Smith 6-0 166 RS-Fr.

2005 Statistics

Walter-White: 26 tackles
Green: 6 tackles

Spring practice will be an important time for defensive coordinator Bill Miller in evaluating a position peppered with inexperienced players. Keno Walter-White suffered an injury early last season against Oregon State and was seemingly affected for the remainder of the year. Chad Green can be a formidable cover guy but is often hampered by various injuries, which doesn't leave a whole lot for new position coach Al Simmons to count on right now. Chris Baloney and Justin Tryon both come with nice credentials from the JUCO ranks and should provide some competition early on. Versatile athlete Rudy Burgess will try his hand at corner this spring. If the experiment is successful, Burgess has a shot at playing on both sides of the ball. Keep an eye on redshirt freshmen Grant Crunkleton and Travis Smith as both have some exciting upside, and can make their mark on a unit when everybody has a shot at starting.


P Jesse Ainsworth 6-3 215 Sr.
Chris MacDonald 6-4 222 Jr.

PK Jesse Ainsworth 6-3 215 Sr.
KR Terry Richardson 6-1 187 Sr.
Rudy Burgess 5-11 181 Jr.
Nate Kimbrough 6-1 180 So.

PR Terry Richardson 6-1 187 Sr.
Rudy Burgess 5-11 181 Jr.
Nate Kimbrough 6-1 180 So.

2005 Statistics

Ainsworth: 9 of 11 FG, 21 punts for 35 yard average
MacDonald: 33 punts for 42.3 yard average
Richardson: 22 punt returns, 337 yards, 2 TD
23 kick returns, 629 yards
Chris MacDonald will attempt to regain his spot back as the team's punter after Ainsworth took over those duties last season following four blocked punts. MacDonald will have to improve upon his trajectory and get-off time in order to reclaim his old job. Terry Richardson has all but locked up his status as the league's most dangerous returner. He stands to be a pre-season Pac-10 first team selection in August with the departures of Reggie Bush and Maurice Drew. Jesse Ainsworth will look to continue and be a reliable in both his kickoffs field goals.

Four new additions to the coaching staff will have their first taste of Sun Devil football on Monday, and are another story line worth following. Leading the way on offense will be offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Roy Wittke, formerly of the Arkansas Razorbacks staff. Monday will also mark the college debut of acclaimed high school coach John Wrenn who comes from Hamilton in Chandler, and will be the skipper for the running back group. The other two additions, Grady Stretz and Al Simmons, will be on the defensive side of the ball. Stretz, coaching the defensive line, is a Tempe native and comes from a lengthy tenure at New Mexico, while Simmons is a Pac-10 veteran, having previously coached at Cal and Oregon State.

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