On the defensive line the Sun Devil skipper mentioned the fine play of JC transfer Dean DeLeone. "He's certainly getting the feel of what we are doing now," Erickson noted. "He has that speed at pass rush."
In the secondary, safety Ryan McFoy was getting serious kudos from his head coach.
"McFoy is probably playing as well as anybody," Erickson stated. "People didn't think he could play there (at safety). We moved him back there (from linebacker) permanently and he's really a pleasant surprise."
Erickson feels that he has a group of five cornerbacks that are playing very well, and the absence of the injured Omar Bolden is helping the players at this position to get extra reps.
"Terell Carr has been playing extremely well, Josh Jordan is (too)," said Erickson. "They have been battling back and forth (for the starting position. Pierre (Singfield) is playing good. Deveron is doing some awfully good things for us. (LeQuan Lewis) is getting better all the time.
"This has become strength for us. We feel now we can get up and press people, which enables us to do some different things in the box and so forth."
Even though the defense has frustrated the offense with its solid play, Erickson said that he would never ask his defense to back off in practice and allow his offense more room to operate.
"I'll never forget at the University of Miami my first year," Erickson recalled. "In spring football, the first or second scrimmage, the offense scored a touchdown and everyone was jumping up and down and celebrating.
"I've come from Washington State where we scored all kinds of touchdowns in the spring. I said ‘what's going on?' and they said ‘this is the first touchdown we scored in the spring in three years.' So it's good and they can bring it as much as they can bring it. We've gotta to deal with (the defense) and block it. If you can really block your own defense, you have a really good shot on offense."
Starting quarterback Danny Sullivan has continued to separate himself from the competition and Erickson stated that the senior had a solid showing last Saturday. "He made some really good throws," Erickson said, "He made a couple of throws that he missed – that's gonna happen. But when you look at that overall he was the best (quarterback) by far."
Erickson added that he felt that all the backup signal callers have made strides in the spring as well.
He noted the improvement on the offensive line, and mentioned that left tackle Shawn Lauvao lining up against defensive end Dexter Davis has helped the offensive lineman who is new to his position. Both also played well in the scrimmage. Center Garth Gerhart is another offensive lineman that caught the eye of Erickson.
The Arizona State head coach said that while the front five has gotten better, this group, which is small in number to begin with, has been hit hard with injuries.
"(Zach) Schlink won't be around," Erickson said. "He will get scoped. (Adam) Tello has to get his back operated on. They both will hopefully be back in the fall. That's the plan right now and we have to prepare without them right now.
"It's work in progress like it has been since I've been here. All of sudden you don't have a lot of them for whatever reason and now you have to keep recruiting them, keep recruiting them. It's hard; we've only got 15 on scholarship. That's ridiculous. We should have 17 or 18. 15 on scholarship and we recruited 12, 13 of them. But we'll get better if the group can stay healthy."
Erickson said that the running game has improved "without a question" throughout spring. "Dimitri (Nance) is playing very well right now, Morrison is getting better all the time, and his ankle has been bothering him obviously. That's a pretty good group right now."
The ASU head coach said that running back Shaun DeWitty won't be back for the spring due to "academic issues" but just like the tandem of offensive linemen Erickson expected the senior to be back for fall camp.
- Wide receiver Chris McGaha returned to action today participating in contact drills. There was certainly an effort to get him the ball early and often and he was able to haul in the vast majority of balls thrown to him. Pierre Singfield though broke up one of the first passes thrown to McGaha and came very close to intercepting that throw and taking it back for a score.
- Mike Marcisz and Andrew Sampson started at right and left guard respectively, with the later rotating with Jon Hargis as practice proceeded. Josh Jordan and Terell Carr rotated at first team corner.
- It was a generally an OK, but not great day for the QB's and once again the defense was very disruptive and not letting many passes get completed. Along with Singfield, McFoy and Lewis had pass breakups as well. Lewis has shown more and more flashes as of late.
- The defense brought the running game to a near halt, but when one of the running backs found daylight for a significant gain it was usually Dimitri Nance doing the honors. It was a relatively quiet day from James Morrison and Ryan Bass.
- Trevor Hankins had some nice punts, but he his lack of consistency and slow delivery are still preventing him from overtaking those duties from Thomas Weber. Bolden, T.Carr, Kerry Taylor and Kyle Williams were returning punts in this non-live drill.
- The speed at linebacker has been a consistent all spring, with Brandon Magee and Shelly Lyons showing well in that department. The overall depth at ASU's front seven, which is still missing some key players that are injured and/or ones that still haven't arrived on campus, promises to provide a solid rotation that should ensure fresh legs on Saturdays.
- Couple interesting notes on Dexter Davis. He's is the only returning player in all of college football that has back to back ten sack seasons. Furthermore, he may be one of only a handful of players in the Pac-10 (the exact number is still under research) who coming into his senior season has started every game during his first three seasons.