PM Session of Two-A-days Sharper Than AM

Wednesday marked the first of the dreaded two-a-days practice sessions. It should probably come as no surprise that the hotter morning session paled in comparison to the cooler evening one.

"This morning we were very sluggish," said head coach Dirk Koetter, "feeling sorry for ourselves a little bit, humidity…this afternoon much much better. This was more like practices two and three. If we practice like this all the time, we will be good. If we practice like we did this morning, it could be another story."

While the Sun Devil skipper acknowledges that it's only natural that the first few pre-season practices will be a roller coaster of sharp and sluggish, he also feels that it's an excuse. He added that there's no law that you can't practice well all the time. "Sun Devil law #57 thou shall practice well all the time," quipped Koetter. "That billboard is by my house."

A shorter kicking tee will be introduced this year in college football games in an effort to increase the number of returning kicks, as well as the distance on those returns. Koetter believes that the effects of this device will nothing but positive for his squad, and play to the strengths of his kicker and kick returner. "I don't think it will affect Jesse," he explained. "I think they'll do what they're designed to do and that is create more returns in college football. Jesse kicks about 70% of his kicks out (for touchbacks). Next year when Jesse's gone and Terry (Richardson) is gone, we may not like it."

Ainsworth took over the punting duties mid-season, and was adequate averaging 35 yards a punt. Koetter has no qualms about the senior repeating that role in 2006 "If he's our best punter I feel great about it," he remarked. "It's a three-way competition right now and we're nowhere close to knowing who our punters are. We just barely started punting yesterday in drills, but these punters are so different when they punt with a rush. I trust Jesse like I trust Sam (Keller) and Rudy (Carpenter). If he's our best punter I feel great about it"

Camp Tontozona obviously presents a much different environment from the campus' practice fields. However, one can expect a natural progression of practices up in the pines, with no deviation from the overall practice plan. "Our practices will be closer together because of the (lack of) light situation," said Koetter. "Today we had a nice break in between, but we won't get that up there. The break will be more at night. The one thing having the first two-a-day here is that we got a lot in right now. We won't be putting as much in and working more on situations, instead of installing new plays."

A common question all coaches field is if they feel that the current pace of practices is an acceptable one. "We don't have to be ready until practice 29," replied Koetter. "We don't have to be ready to play a game right now. As far as the natural order of how you prepare for a game, we are where we should be, but we're not ready to play a game by any stretch."

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