Erickson Pleased With First Practice

One hundred degree temperatures and Monsoon lightning may not scream football to most, but for fans living in the valley of the sun it was a great day to be a Sun Devil. Media, fans young and old and even a hall of fame quarterback filled the sidelines of Kajikawa Field to watch ASU in its first official practice of the summer.

Attendees were greeted with a high energy, vocal practice. Much of the soundtrack was provided by the always-entertaining senior running back Keegan Herring, but cornerback Omar Bolden made sure the defense was heard as well.

Bolden's play on the field made an even louder statement, as he showcased his talents covering receivers and breaking up a couple of passes. The sophomore standout from Ontario, Calif. has already established himself as one of the leaders of the defense. Overall, head coach Dennis Erickson was pleased with what he saw.

"It was a great first day," Erickson said. "A lot of the things we did in the summer really made a big difference because we were able to come out and repeat a lot of different things we did in the spring as far as what we do offensively and defensively like we hadn't missed a day. I thought as far as assignments, that the first group and second group were extremely good on both sides of the football."

Quarterbacks Rudy Carpenter and Danny Sullivan both looked sharp. Carpenter spoke several times in recent months about the work he and his coaches have done to improve his mechanics and it was evident that the work has paid off.

The fourth year starter was getting the ball out of his hands faster and throwing with accuracy. Erickson had positive things to say about his quarterbacks, applauding their hard work over the summer and their retention skills.

"You could tell they've been doing it all summer because the timing in the passing game was pretty good," remarked Erickson. "Retention is something you worry about, but when you have leaders on your football team that are out here all summer coaching everybody up to retain things from what you learn in the spring, it makes a big difference."

Some highly touted freshmen made their debut in the maroon and gold. Running back Ryan Bass, defensive end Lawrence Guy and wide receiver Gerrell Robinson were all in attendance and seeing time. Even freshman linebacker Brandon Magee was in uniform despite rumors that he had signed a contract with the Tampa Bay Rays.

"(Magee) was out there. Somebody told me he was playing baseball somewhere. With that internet you guys got to be goofy. How can you get rumors like that started?" Joked Erickson.

There was a moment of grief when Robinson fell to the ground and struggled to get up after catching a Jack Elway (whose father John was in attendance) pass. The wide receiver limped off the field with help and appeared to be doing fine after. Coach Erickson said the injury was, "Nothing serious."

Elsewhere, the running backs had a good day and look to be poised for a successful season. Although the depth chart remains unclear, what is certain is that several backs will get a chance to carry the ball.

"Right now our plan is to use Keegan (Herring), of course, and Dimitri (Nance). Right now because we do have depth, we're going to use them all. There is no sense in not using them all. Ryan Bass showed some stuff out there today, some quickness, and he is going to help us too. We're in a position right now where we have three or four guys who do things really well and we have depth and we're going to use them all." Commented Erickson.

Although the experienced head coach was quick to remind everyone how hard it is to gather knowledge of the team when all the players are out there in their "underwear", he seemed especially upbeat and pleased with results of the first practice.

"They have fun; the game has got to be fun. The best teams I've ever had had fun practicing. They like to get on each other in a friendly way and compete. It's all about competing and making each other better, and that's what they do a lot."

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