Tuesday's Practice Report

With Gerald Munns out for the year due to personal reasons, the depth chart at MIKE linebacker has naturally changed as the Sun Devils go into to their final practices before the showdown at Cal this weekend.

As expected, given that Munns will be out the rest of the year, Erickson announced that Morris Wooten will be the starting MIKE linebacker, and he believes that the senior will bring a lot of energy to the position. "He's all over the place and brings us some intensity," said Erickson. "He's a very vocal player, which is good. So he adds some intensity to our defense."

While Wooten is happy to be given an opportunity to showcase his skills, he didn't want to earn this position under these circumstances. "It's terrible that he's not with us," said Wooten of Munns, "and all we're gonna do is work to get better. He (Coach Bray) is telling us just to work. You gotta come ready. We lost a great player, but we know we have to come together and fill in the shoes that he was filling…just to make those plays."

Mike Nixon and Shelly Lyons will back up Wooten. Speaking of linebackers, Erickson announced that Brandon Magee is "close" in terms of availability for Saturday and will have an opportunity to play against Cal if nothing else on special teams. Defensive tackle Saia Falahola is expected to be back in the lineup according to the ASU coach.

Jarrell Woods wasn't dressed, as was the case last week and there has been no word as to when he will return to practice.

Floyd and Cox are still battling at the strong safety and it stands right now Floyd is still running with the first team. "We haven't decided what we're gonna do there," said Erickson."We played it through last week and we're playing it through this week and then decide and see what happens."

The ASU coach added that Mike Tabach will now be backing up Troy Nolan at free safety.

Cal hasn't announced their starting quarterback for Saturday's game, and when asked how the Devils' defense will prepare for that scenario Erickson stated that the preparation won't differ based on what Bears' signal caller will play.

"When (Kevin) Riley is in there they don't do anything that they don't do with Nate (Longshore)," explained Erickson. "They do the same things. So all you really have to do is just defend what they do offensively and not worry about who the quarterback is."

Erickson didn't believe that there are any quarterback issues at Cal and noted that he was impressed with both the play of Riley and Longshore. "They lost one game and scored a bunch of points," said Erickson.

The ASU coach also didn't believe that the defensive game plan will adjust due to the absence of Cal's top running back Jahvid Best. "We just defend formations," stated Erickson "plays that they run irregardless of who the running back is."

In practice Tom Njunge continued to get the bulk of the work at right tackle, and at this point it would probably be a surprise if he didn't get the nod come Saturday. Stanley Malamala continues to impress with his receiving skills. Chris McGaha, T.J. Simpson and Brandon Smith also fared well in that department on Tuesday.


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