Experiments at Offensive Line

On Election Day Shawn Lauvao and Zach Schlink were not selected to new positions on the front five, but nonetheless for next couple of days will assume different roles as coach Dennis Erickson and his staff try out a different combination at offensive line.

In Tuesday's practice, Shawn Lauvao assumed the starting right tackle duties from Tom Njunge, while true freshman Zach Schlink slid into the vacancy Lauvao left at first team left guard.

"He looked pretty good," said Erickson on Schlink's performance. "The biggest thing is moving Shawn outside to tackle. We'll see how that works – we haven't made a decision on that yet."

"We're just looking at it and staying with it for a day or two so Shawn can play out there full time."

Erickson remarked that it hasn't been decided if in this week's game, much like in practice the last few weeks, Thomas Altieri and Garth Gerhart will split time at starting center. "We obviously have to find the best combination," said Erickson. "We've had a lot of them. So we're looking at this (splitting the snaps) and see how it goes."

The Sun Devil skipper commented that the line changes weren't necessarily a result of the multiple false start penalties this unit incurred during the loss to Oregon State last Saturday.

"Trying to get the right combination," explained Erickson. "It's more than just false starts we're struggling with. We have four football games left and we have to find a way to win one here as soon as we can."

Nate Kimbrough performed well as punt returner in lieu of the sidelined Kyle Williams. Today, Williams who passed his concussion tests practiced and is cleared to play this week. However, Erickson didn't rule out the possibility of Kimbrough retaining his special teams position.

"We won't make that decision for sure," stated Erickson. "Right now it's either him or Kyle and he did return (punts) pretty good."

Erickson added that Kimbrough is a very enthusiastic player that makes plays when given a chance, no matter what roles he fills. "We have to give him opportunities," said Erickson, "whether it's returning punts or at receiver. We have him backing up Mike (Jones) now, so he'll go in all the time for Mike – Mike gets tired quite a bit."

ASU's head coach was also very pleased with the play of linebacker Shelly Lyons last week and the overall great deal of improvement that the true freshman has shown, even though the he is still adjusting to speed at the college level.

"He just adds some speed," said Erickson. "He played outside in high school. So now to move him in the middle, and obviously size wise and athletically that's the kind of guy we want there. It's been a learning process. It still is, but he made some plays."

Overall, Erickson is pleased with the resolve his team is showing as they go through a six-game losing streak.

"There's no quit in them," said Erickson. "We just got to get something good happen to us here quickly."


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