Tailback Position Just Got Deeper

Last year Arizona State relied on its trusted passing game throwing for double the amount of yards it rushed for. Keegan Herring, the most productive back, returns to a position loaded with talent, including Dimitri Nance. The Texas 5A player of year has been a thorn in the coach's side in terms of whether or not to redshirt him. The guesswork seemed to end on Tuesday night.

"Were probably goanna play him," head coach Dirk Koetter said ending speculation that Nance would possibly be redshirted due to the depth at the position. "Circumstances may change but he's too good of a player."

Nance is one of the most decorated Sun Devil recruits of all time. During his senior season at Trinity high school he rushed for over 3,100 yards and scored 41 touchdowns. Only he and current Chicago Bear and former University of Texas running back Cedric Benson have rushed for more than 3,000 years in a season among 5A players in the state of Texas. His resume speaks for himself, but with the tailback position being one of the deepest of all time in ASU's history, prompted this decision to come at the 11th hour. "He was in on it, we would never make a decision on that without involving a player," Koetter added. Nance will be listed as the fourth tailback on the depth chart behind sophomores Keegan Herring, Shaun DeWitty and junior Ryan Torain.

Another position battle that has been brewing is on the defensive side. Cornerbacks Keno Walter-White and Chris Baloney have both been vying for more playing time leaving Koetter with a difficult task of trying to get both of them more snaps. "We're going to have a rotation set up for different players," Koetter said of the two. "When the game starts it's a lot easier to say this guy moves up and this guy moves down." Koetter also explained that the two would rotate every two series.

Heading into the 2006 season, all college teams will be faced with some new rule changes. Rule 3-2-5-e, states that when a team is awarded a first down, the clock will still be stopped, but it will now start on the ready-for-play signal. This will mean the clock will be running more often than previous seasons. Experts estimate the game will shorten by about five minutes, and possibly shortening the amount of plays per game by 12.

Koetter wasn't too thrilled by these modifications. "When they pooled the coaches, the coaches were 90 percent against it," he said. "College football has worked fine for the last one hundred and something years." Additionally, in another attempt to shorten the game, the game clock will now start when the ball is kicked on a kickoff. Previously, it did not start until the ball was touched by the receiving team. Another rule that was added is giving more power to coaches to challenge the play, similar to the system used in the NFL.

"We just have to be ready at the end of the half and at the end of the game," Koetter explained. "You can't have your team standing on the sidelines, because you can run the clock out. I think coaches will be ahead of the curve on that and they will have their team out there ready to play. I mean you still might get shorted three or four seconds but in the past we kinda leisurely huddle up over there during the T.V. time out. Now when the ref gives the 15 second mark we'll be out there."

Sun Devil Source Top Stories