The quarterbacks were among those who probably didn't care too much for the rough weather conditions. "I've coached in the wind many times," said Erickson, "and it's different…you got to throw the ball a little firmer. It makes a difference. I haven't seen much wind, but I'm sure I'll be praying for it come September."
Winds of Change?
The depth chart, especially during this time of year, is in a fairly fluid state. The Sun Devil skipper said that in some positions one need not to make much of who's running first team or second, but in other roles it does indeed tell the true story. "There are some positions that are pretty much decided – guys played a lot last year," Erickson explained. "You can look at our center, some of those offensive linemen; our running back situation, the quarterback of course…there's a lot of competition at linebacker. Secondary, there's not much for sure over there. At tight end we have to find the right guys. Brent (Miller) is having a nice spring, and we have to find one other or two others, because we're gonna play quite a few two tights (alignments)."
Miller, as well as Brandon Rodd and Mike Pollak couldn't stay the whole Tuesday session because of class, which made Erickson quip "I can't believe they have school and stuff…screw up our spring ball like that." He added that missing a few players across the offensive line does help the depth in that group, which was obviously crucial for ASU last year with the plethora of injuries it suffered.
Content with Running Backs
Even without Keegan Herring, who missed the last few practices with a shoulder injury, practices have displayed great depth and talent at running back with Ryan Torain and Dimitri Nance. "Ryan and Dimitri, those are two pretty darn good backs," Erickson commented "There as good as I had in a long time. You put Keegan in there, (Shawn) DeWitty hasn't been out there, and he's a good player. You have a sophomore junior college guy (Jarrell Woods) coming in. A lot of depth there – without a question." Erickson added that he likes the versatility that each of the running backs brings to the table and how they can provide the team different looks in this group.
More Post-Scrimmage Thoughts
As he mentioned on Saturday right after the scrimmage ended, Erickson wasn't happy with the number of turnovers on offense. On the other hand, those miscues meant the defense was doing a good job getting the ball in their hands. The passing game was another area that could use improvement since Saturday, and Erickson pointed to injuries as being part of the issue. Nonetheless, he does see some bright spots in this area. "The guys that have been playing improved. Brandon Smith has really improved, Kyle Williams is getting better, Chris McGaha…Rodney Glass is getting better. But Mike (Jones) is hurt, (Rudy) Burgess is hurt…but the guys that are playing are getting a lot better."
"The passing game is a little different than it was in the past, but Rudy (Carpenter) is throwing the ball really well. He's very accurate, making very good decisions is what jumps out at me. Today, (due to the strong winds) he threw a couple out of the stadium…"
Speed is Served
It is widely known how much Erickson and his schemes value speed, and that trait has certainly manifested itself in spades according to Erickson. "Brandon Smith has outstanding speed, so does Kyle and Chris has too. Brent Miller is a lot faster than I anticipated and Dane Guthrie gives us another threat there," he remarked. "Defensively, Ryan McFoy we moved him to linebacker and he increases our speed. (Mike) Nixon is running well. Morris Wooten has really increased our speed. Our down ends – Dexter (Davis) is running real well. In the secondary, Jeremy Payton adds some things to us speed wise. Our speed is better maybe than what I anticipated coming in. We're inexperienced in a lot of areas but we do have speed. But we have to continue and get faster; and some of the freshmen coming in will help us a little bit."
"The biggest place where you'll notice it (speed) as time goes on is on defense, with our linebackers and down guys. I'm not as concerned with size in the defensive front as I am with athletic ability."
Not Holding Back
"We're doing a lot of hitting in spring football," said Erickson. "We do a little something in the end of every scrimmage…trying to put them in a situation. Today for example was red-zone, and that was the only live part of practice. We just started to put the blitz in and had a blitz period. On Thursday, we'll have third-down situations where there's some physical presence involved."
Tuesday's Post-Practice Erickson Quotes
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