Marshall preparing for expanded role

Though Saturday's loss to California was a tough one to swallow, one of the lone bright spots for the Sun Devils came from true freshman running back Cameron Marshall.

Marshall had a career high 16 carries for 71 yards and a touchdown in relief of starter Dmitri Nance who left the game with a shoulder injury in the game. Despite carrying the load for the Sun Devil offense, Marshall says he feels good.

"It was a real good experience for me," Marshall said. "I was glad I was able to get out there and show what I can do a little bit."

Despite getting the majority of the carries, Marshall still did not enter the game until Ryan Bass fumbled at the goal line in the second quarter, but even though he came in late, Marshall was still able to get in a rhythm.

"I've been coming in kind of late the whole season," Marshall pointed out, "so I've been used to coming in when I get a chance and having to play at my highest level, so I was ready.

"I'm playing it by ear, but right now I'm expecting to get more playing time. Hopefully as the weeks go on I'll continue to get more, so we'll see."

Due to several injuries in the receiving corps, the Sun Devil offense employed a lot of two tight end sets, and seemed to run the ball out of that formation well. However, Marshall as to which alignment the offense is utilizing, as long as he is the one carrying the pigskin.

"It's easier," Marshall said concerning the two-tight end set. "It's more downhill as opposed to the lateral reading and cutting it up, but either way doesn't matter to me, I just like getting the ball."

One thing a running back must do to see the field on Saturdays for Coach Dennis Erickson is pass block, something that Marshall has improved on since he arrived this fall.

"I've been trying to practice and just come out here and be as physical as I can, that's the kind of things I try to work on," Marshall declared. "Coach Bryce (Erickson) has helped me out, and tried to encourage me to be physical in pass blocking and be mean, so that's what I've been trying to get better at."

ASU faces a tough test this week hosting USC, who boasts a defense loaded with size and speed.

"We prepare like we've been preparing for any other defense," Marshall stated. "Obviously, SC, they have their name, but we're not scared. We're gonna go out there and do our thing against them."

With three of their four remaining games coming against ranked opponents, ASU will have a tough road ahead if they want to receive a bowl birth, and if the team has only five wins going into the season finale against the University of Arizona, they could have a repeat of what happened last year, something nobody involved with the team wants to see.

"I think everybody would be happy with that (reaching the bowl game)," Marshall expressed, "especially coming off of an average season last year. Two more wins would be big wins, and going out to a bowl game would be a great experience for us."

With Nance dinged up, and Bass kind of in the dog house due to his fumbling problems, Marshall may be seeing more carries as the season winds down, but don't expect him to change the way he prepares during practice.

"If you think you might get more carries, you come out more focused," Marshall replied, "but you always have to come out focused because you never know what could happen in the game. Football is a rough sport so you can go in at any point and time."

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