Mike Jones, Herring Limited in Practice

With the shredded ruins of the bubble lingering on the side of the field, the Arizona State Sun Devils suited up and practiced for the first time since their season opening victory over Northern Arizona.

With the Sun Devils' conference opener against the Stanford Cardinal looming the team stepped up and put together a quality day of practice on Tuesday. However, two key offensive stars were absent when full 11 vs. 11 drills started.

Both wide receiver Mike Jones and running back Keegan Herring sat out contact drills and Arizona State head coach Dennis Erickson is unsure of the two player's availability for Saturday.

"(Jones) has a little sprained Achilles. He got it in warm-ups just throwing the ball back somehow," said Erickson. "(The trainers) don't think it is very serious, but they're going to have an MRI in the morning. The doctors seem to think it's just a very mild sprain which means he will probably be able to play but we'll have to wait and see."

"Keegan's status is very questionable. That hamstring is getting better, but it's like I told you before until he can explode and he feels like he can explode then he has to trust it. When he trusts it then he'll play. He couldn't play right now."

The injuries are unfortunate and come at an inopportune time. Stanford has improved leaps and bounds from when the Sun Devils beat them 41-3 in Palo Alto in 2007. The Cardinal surprised the Oregon State Beavers on opening night last Thursday beating those 36-28 and ran the ball extremely well. The Sun Devils just might need all the playmakers they can get if The Cardinal play with as much fire and intensity as they did previously.

"Since (Stanford Head Coach Jim Harbaugh) has been there he has done a wonderful job," Erickson noted. "They played well last year. Obviously they beat USC, they beat Cal in The Big Game at the end of the year and then of course they beat Oregon State. When you watch them play they play with great intensity. Very physical football team. Very physical up front. The play hard and they've got talent."

"They're a good football team and we're going to have to play very well to beat them. That's just how it is from watching them play. To me they've improved more than any program around." Claimed Erickson.

Perhaps in an attempt to deal with the powerful Stanford run game led by junior Toby Gerhart (older brother of Arizona State offensive lineman Garth Gerhart) Coach Erickson did some position switching on the defensive line.

Freshmen defensive lineman Lawrence Guy and Jamaar Jarrett were bouncing around a little. Guy moved from working at second team defensive end to second team defensive tackle. There was speculation as to what position Guy would play with the Sun Devils when he was recruited and the question still appears to be as unclear as ever. Jarrett was working with the scout team last week and the team seemed to have plans to redshirt him, but the young lineman was working at Guy's old spot of second team defensive end.

"(Changing positions) is something we've talked about. We're going to look at it this week and that may be a move we're going to make (Guy to defensive tackle). We haven't decided yet," admitted Erickson. "We kind of wanted to wait until today and tomorrow to see (Guy) inside and see where Jamaar is at. If we were to make a decision from what I saw we're probably going to make that move but I can't give you an answer until after practice tomorrow."

There were a few other injured players that the head coach addressed today. Redshirt freshman center Garth Gerhart is back and seems to be healthier than he has been in a while. Senior wide receiver Nate Kimbrough suffered a sprained ankle in last Saturday's game against Northern Arizona and Erickson said his status for the Stanford game is very questionable.

The Sun Devils will return to practice Wednesday night at Kajikawa field at 6:20 PM.


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