Erickson Announces Suspensions

Following Tuesday's practice ASU Head Coach Dennis Erickson announced that "five or six" players will be suspended for the season opener versus Idaho State this Saturday. One confirmed suspension is wide receiver Kerry Taylor who will join defensive end James Brooks who's three-game suspension was announced last week.

"I'm going to have to suspend five or six of our players," Erickson said in reply to a question about Kerry Taylor not participating is certain segments of practice, "For an undisclosed (reason) and Kerry happens to be one of them. It's nothing serious or anything like that, they just broke a team rule…it's just a one game suspension."

Erickson didn't disclose the rest of the players that were being disciplined, and acknowledged that these suspensions will affect the team's depth. "Fortunately we have enough depth to survive it," he stated. "Anytime something like this happens – it's disturbing. Again, it's a one game suspension."

Sensational Scout Team

Erickson was pleased with his first game-preparation practice, where his scout team featured some of the better players at their respective positions such as quarterback Steven Threet and wide receiver Aaron Pflugrad. Running back James Morrison was also part of this group.

"It's good to finally get in game preparation, go against a scout team and prepare for a football game," Erickson noted. "It's nice to be able to do that and get ourselves going in the right direction.

"Anytime you have quality players, the scout team will make everybody else better. Everybody has to be accountable on this football team and if you're on the scout team you have to give the offense and the defense the best look that you can possibly give. We got guys like Threet, Pflugrad who has played in the Pac-10 as a receiver that makes a huge difference."

Depth Chart Dust Settling

Throughout fall camp Erickson remarked that he wasn't sure what the pecking order at tailback would be, but right now the situation has become much clearer.

"Right now we'll start with Dimitri (Nance) and go from there," Erickson said. "He'll be the starter. He'll take the first snap and then Cameron Marshall will rotate with him. Those are the first two we will deal with. From there (Ryan) Bass will be the next guy."

Erickson added that he hopes to give reps to as many running backs as possible on Saturday.

The Sun Devil skipper remarked that Dan Knapp will be the starter at tight end, and while tight end Max Smith took reps with the second team, Erickson said that he and his staff still have to make a decision on whether to redshirt the former Scottsdale Saguaro standout or not. "Right now going into this first game we're planning on redshirting him," said Erickson.

Injured Players Return to Practice

Aside from Zach Schlink and Shelly Lyons who have been ruled out of the season opener, all the other injured players participated to varying degrees in practice.

Center Garth Gerhart took snaps with the second team, which meant that Andrew Sampson was taking snaps at right guard and is likely to be the starter here come Saturday. Offensive tackle Tom Njunge was dressed but held out of some contact drills. Lawrence Guy attempted to practice, but due to his bicep injury was sidelined for most of practice with his arm wrapped in ice.

The ‘Train' Makes a Stop in Tempe

Former Arizona State running back Ryan Torain paid a visit to ASU's practice and visited the indoor facility for the very first time. Torain, who was waived by the Denver Broncos in an injury settlement, looked in great shape and said that he's four weeks away from being completely healed, and that some NFL teams have already made inquires about him.

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