"We're just trying on working on getting better. I don't know that there's any one thing (to improve)…we just got to get more consistent."
Stephen Figueroa suffered the same fractured foot injury as Chris McGaha. The injury took place in Tuesday's practice, but the true freshman tight end did practice on Wednesday's morning. Ultimately the injury was too much to bear and the Phoenix Desert Vista product, who was slated to redshirt, was sidelined in the afternoon session and wearing a boot. There was no indication on how long he will be held out of practice.
Speaking of McGaha, Erickson noted that the wide receiver is healthier, and if needed he could play in a game. Yet, he won't be practicing until Monday and if he does practice the week of the NAU contest he will play in the season opener.
In terms of the running back rotation, Erickson noted that the overall plan will be much like it was in 2007 after Ryan Torain suffered a season-ending injury. "One of them will start, one of them will spot play a little bit," said Erickson. "We'll use them both. The plan was to use DeWitty on short yardage stuff, but he's hurt. We will work Bass in there too. The thing about backs, as you go through the season…you never have too many of them."
Coach Erickson stated that during his weekly Monday press conference, he will announce the true freshmen that will not redshirt this season. He did indicate that all freshmen running on the various second team units have a "pretty good chance" of playing. From our observations we anticipate as low as seven and as high as ten true freshmen will see action in 2008.
One of the more surprising freshmen to not redshirt this year is safety Clint Floyd. When he arrived in the summer, the staff was still trying to figure out where he was going to play. "Some guys just have the football savvy and he has it," said Erickson. "So we kind of felt with our situation at safety that we would give him a shot there and obviously he proved that he can play."
"He's very athletic, he can cover (man-to-man) and he's tough. He's not 220 pounds but he will tackle you. He'll be involved also quite a bit in special teams."
The fact that Floyd did play quarterback in high school, does certainly help his play at safety. "If you played behind the center and now all of a sudden you go back in that secondary, you have a pretty good feel for what (the offense) is doing," Erickson explained.
"I know how quarterbacks think," said Floyd who also played safety at Crenshaw (Calif.) high school. "So I can break on them. Safety is like the quarterback of the offense…coaches thought I could help the most at safety, so I said ‘no problem.' "
The safety knew that he didn't want to redshirt, and was happy to come strong out of the gates and perform well early on in fall camp. "I'm doing pretty good and I'm learning as time is going," said Floyd. "It's been real surprising for me to play on the second team, because they were already three safeties here and I'm already in front of them starting."
"Troy (Nolan) and Rodney (Cox) have taught me a lot. It definitely a lot of different than high school, because you have a lot more plays. It's getting there though."
Floyd noted that getting out on his breaks, seeing the quarterbacks and receivers better are some of the skills he felt he has really improved on. He added that the coaches liked his aggression and tackling, which led them to the decision to play him at safety. "I do need to break out of my backpedal a little bit faster," he noted, "and more than anything seeing the field better…we go up against one of the best receivers in the Pac-10 and they push me real hard out here and they'll get me ready for the game."
"I just can't wait to get on the field, in front of all the fans and show what I can do."
Wednesday's afternoon practice was an abbreviated session that took place in the indoor facility, and the team was in shorts – all undoubtedly done in anticipation of Thursday's night scrimmage. The team began with kickoff drills, and the gunners on the kickoff coverage were Cox and Fobbs-Valentino. Bereuter, McFoy and Lindsey rounded out the first line of that unit. K.Williams and Herring were fielding the kickoffs.
Speaking of Williams, he had a great practice whether it was the 7's on 7's, team drill or the two-minute offense that was run at the end of practice. He was catching everything in sight, doing a great job as always getting behind defenders and operating in tight spaces. On one play he was extremely alert, as he collected a ball tipped by Vasquez on a Sullivan pass and once he caught the ball he just turned on his jets and was gone. Simpson and Taylor had a couple nice catches, as did walk-on Justin Driscoll.
The QB's didn't have a particular good day. T.Carr intercepted a long Carpenter pass intended for Kimbrough. That pick more than anything was a great battle between the WR and the CB, won by the later. Sullivan had his pass intercepted by Tabach, and Oliver and Jordan dropped potential picks thrown by the junior. Elway had issues fumbling snaps that were handled by Breant Good. He did come back and throw a beautiful bomb to Battle. As we said before, good luck catching that WR if he has a few steps on you. Nance and Herring had some nice runs, but overall didn't get to see a lot of daylight carrying the pigskin.
For the first time field goals were kicked in the facility and Weber made both of his attempts from 37 and 42 yards out.