Walk-ons taking advantage of opportunities

Whether he was being groomed for the job like punter Trevor Hankins, or thrown unexpectedly into the starting lineup like reserve offensive lineman Brent Good, both of these ASU players have fared very well in the Sun Devils' loss to Georgia and look to build on their recent performance for the rest of the season.

"That was intense," Good said of his experience during the Georgia road game. "90,000 screaming fans in the rain. You can say that's a little bit rare. It was a crazy feeling to be out there and it was so close"

The 6-2 342 lineman said that as a reserve you can never have the mentality that you will never play, since you are always one injury away from seeing the field, as he witnessed himself in the contest at Athens this past weekend.

"You have to try to not be nervous," Good remarked, "no butterflies. It's hard to do with 90,000 fans and you see a Georgia Bulldog in front of you…and you're like ‘all right let's go!"

The senior feels that he is playing well enough to hold his own on the starting offensive line unit, and overall he has been impressed how he and his teammates have responded and stepped up amid the mounting injuries at his position.

"Last year we took a lot of flack," Good noted. "They hammered us hard. So we're making sure that we're stepping up and keep the team driving. If we keep them protected they score points."

Brent Good is a 2005 graduate of local Mesa Dobson High School, and played two seasons at Holy Cross playing on both sides of the line. He planned to study engineering there but when realizing the tremendous costs and additional time commitment required, he decided to move back to the valley.

These days he is just happy to still be playing football but the fact that he's doing so for his hometown school in front of family and friends, doesn't carry any extra meaning. However, others are seems to be more in awe of that accomplishment and he is taking advantage of that status.

"It's kind of nice being a role model telling kids to stay in school and get good grades," Good acknowledged, "so you don't have to come and pay for school (laughs). It's a nice thing."

Consequently, it appears as if Good will earn a scholarship this season with the maroon and gold.

"What he is, he's a big and strong guy," said Arizona State Head Coach Dennis Erickson of Good. "He has a huge heart and plays his rear end off. He went into a situation where you're a walk-on and now suddenly you're playing in the second half at guard against the University of Georgia on the road and he did a commendable job.

"When you're an offensive guard and you have not been on scholarship for two years around here…I'd put him on scholarship. If nothing but for his dedication for the game. But that's how he is. It's important to him to play well for us to win."

Good played in all 12 games last season, as well as in all of the team's games in 2009. Due to multiple injuries to the Sun Devils' front five Good is expected to earn his first ever start donning the maroon and gold when he and his teammates face Oregon State at home this Saturday.

"It's a little nerve racking because you don't want to let the team down," Good humbly said. "But I'm starting for ASU, Pac-10 football…what's a better feeling…?

"I can't wait to be out there in the lights, in front of the hometown, just having a ball."

Punter Trevor Hankins didn't do too well in limited action last season. He averaged just 37.1 yards on seven punts, and wasn't able to satisfy the coaching staff that he can ultimately relieve kicker Thomas Weber from doing double duty.

"I feel a lot more comfortable now that Coach Erickson has given me a chance and has put more faith in me," Hankins said. "He told me to step it up and do it.

"Playing last year helped with the game speed and just adapting to the whole environment all together. In the off-season I worked on shortening my steps and getting the ball up a lot quicker…just keeping the foot on the ball."

Hankins added that linebacker Mike Nixon does a solid job leading the punt coverage unit, making the line calls and spotting different schemes from the opposition "The guys upfront have been holding their blocks and giving me all the time I need," Hankins noted. "It makes it really easy for me."

The 6-3 229 junior who prepped at Scottsdale Chaparral and played locally at Glendale Community College has started the 2009 season on a torrid pace. His 42.4 average yards per punt is 4th best in the Pac-10. Out of his 14 punts, five have been fair caught, four of them have been inside the 20, two of them have been kicked for over 50 yards and only one punt has been for a touchback.

Hankins's also had a career-high 69 yard punt in the Georgia game.

"It was great playing down at the SEC playing against some different competition" Hankins commented. "Now we got Oregon State and the Rodgers brothers are very good returners, that's for sure. We have to key on them, get our coverage down in bracket and do what we do.

"If I have to tackle them that's fine. I'll be ready for the brothers."

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