Erickson Experiments with Different Lineups

In the Sun Devils' first practice since suffering their second home loss in a row, head coach Dennis Erickson was mixing up player personnel on both sides of the ball.

"We're trying to find the right combination to win some games. So obviously this is a time where we can do that, during the bye week," stated Erickson.

Although not much can be drawn from a single practice the Sun Devil skipper was pleased with what he saw on the field from his team.

"Actually it was one of the better practices we've had," Erickson noted, "very intense, pretty physical and all of the above. But we've got to look at the tape tomorrow and we're not afraid to make changes."

One of the concerns many have when coaches shift players from one position to another is possibly upsetting the balance of team chemistry. Coach Erickson, however, does not believe that to be the case.

"I don't think (moving players around) effects anybody," he remarked. "I think if you don't make changes when you're not playing very well then that is not good. If somebody isn't accountable and not doing what he's supposed to do than you better make a change. The only thing we're trying to do is make this the best football team we can."

While the Sun Devil head coach is clearly not opposed to trying players at different positions and sliding guys up and down the depth chart, he made it known that the scheme will basically stay the same.

"The scheme is the scheme," he explained. "There are only so many things you can run it's just a matter of executing it. So we won't do much with the scheme. But every time we play we do a little bit with it with game planning."

"We are where we are and as I said we have to be a little more balanced offensively, which means we have to try to run it a little more. But everything we've run, and most people in the country run, we have in our offense anyways."

The ground attack has been a big area of concern for the Sun Devils this season. With senior running back Keegan Herring out and the offensive line struggling in their run blocking, the maroon and gold have yet to been able to find consistency in this area.

The lack of a run game was as apparent as ever against Georgia on Saturday as starting running back Dimitri Nance only collected twelve yards the entire game. Coach Erickson has been shuffling guys across the offensive line in attempt to find stability and after practice he talked about getting new faces in the mix.

"There are other things we look for," said Erickson. "Paul Fanaika has played (at right tackle). So there are a lot of things you can do. (Matt Hustad and Tom Njunge) have played right tackle and that's the best thing for us right now. They're competing so it'll be interesting to go in tonight and look at practice (film) and see where we're at."

There were some notable players either returning from injury or being added to the injury list today. Perhaps most importantly Herring in pads and back in the practice fold.

"Gerald (Munns) is not going to be here all week. He has some personal problems he needs to deal with right now," Erickson stated. "Saia (Falahola) broke his hand. So after the game we just decided to have surgery. He had surgery this morning. He will be ready to go next week. (Travis Goethel) hurt his neck against UNLV and hurt it again in the game (against Georgia). (Dan Knapp) had a mild concussion. I think he's ok."

"Keegan looked good. He ran some inside and ran some team. I just want to make sure we're taking our time and make sure he's ready to go and play Cal. We have to find out what he can do too. As you can see out there he can make a difference."

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