Offense explodes for four TD's in scrimmage

Saturday's morning scrimmage at Sun Devil Stadium showcased the progress the maroon and gold offense has made in just two weeks of spring practice. QB Brock Osweiler threw for three touchdowns, but the defense continued to stifle the running attack.

"I thought there some real pluses on both sides of the football," Head Coach Dennis Erickson said of Saturday's scrimmage. "I think, defensively we ran around, made plays and tackled extremely well. Offensively, we made a lot of plays in the passing game and that's kind of what this thing is all about. We made some catches and big plays and I thought both quarterbacks played pretty well at times."

Brock Osweiler completed 14 of 26 passes for 170 yards and three touchdowns, and also had one interception (caught by Josh Jordan). Steven Threet was 13 of 24 for 145 and a TD.

As been the case the entire week, the quarterback competition is beginning to tilt more and more in Osweiler's favor. Osweiler continued to take the field with the first team and has shown improvement in his accuracy and mechanics.

"He played really good," Erickson said of Osweiler. "He's been very accurate. Obviously he's making some mistakes but they both are because it's something new but they've picked it up.

"We're pass protecting better than we ever have here. In this kind of offense, what our offensive coaches are doing creates a lot of problems for defenses. It's fun to see the offense have some success because that hasn't happened a lot."

"We definitely happy but not content," Osweiler said about the offense's state of mind following the scrimmage. "We have a lot of work to do in the upcoming weeks. But the offense is looking better since the time I first got here. It's a great sign and we really have to build upon today.

"It was good throwing a couple of touchdowns today and having a good week of practice, but if I'm going to win this job I have to keep getting better and better and keep things moving."

"It's a good learning experience," Threet said. "After about 18 months of not playing football it's a little rusty obviously but I'm getting back into it. I'm just trying to make less and less mistakes every day and just get better and better."

Starting the spring with a new offensive coordinator, Noel Mazzone, who brought a new offensive scheme with him is already producing positive results. Last season the offense was pinpointed for the lack of success for Arizona State, and despite going against a very talented defense, this group is making gains in the spring.

"It makes me think I made a pretty good hiring decision," said Erickson concerning Mazzone. "We're to a point now, after three years that we've got to take that next step and we're making a lot of progress towards that. It's fun to see those guys have some success offensively."

Competition is present at almost every position for the Sun Devils this spring and the running backs are no exception. With the current ball carriers struggling somewhat in the spring, Coach Erickson sees some bright spots but is also looking forward to the arrival of a couple of standout freshmen this fall.

"James Morrison is very steady, he made some good plays," Erickson said. "I thought Marcus Washington did some good things and Jamal (Miles) made some unbelievable runs, that's the kind of homerun hitter that you have to have alternating in that kind of offense. He gives us something different than those other two.

"Cameron Marshall hasn't practiced this week so he'll add a lot too, so we've got some depth. I'm excited about them, I'm excited to see Deantre Lewis and Taylor Walstad that are freshman coming in."

Morrison led all rushers with 17 yards on seven carries.

The depth of the offensive line is one that has pleased Coach Erickson this spring. The competition at right tackle continues to take place between Evan Finkenberg and Patrick Jamison.

"Him (Finkenberg) and Jamison are battling for that right tackle position," Erickson commented. "And they've both had their ups and downs. Fickenberg is young but he is very athletic. He and Patrick are battling and who knows what will happen when we get (Aderious) Simmons in here in the fall."

Gerell Robinson, an Arizona native, struggled last season, along with the rest of the wide receivers. He culminated a solid week of practice with an impressive five catch 94-yard morning that included two touchdowns.

"Getting better," Erickson said of Robinson. "We all forget that he was not a receiver in high school. What happens is, if you're a highly recruited player in your hometown, the expectations are so high. He was young and learning and he's getting better. His work ethic is really good but it's good to see him make some plays."

George Bell had six catches for 77 yards and a touchdown, Kerry Taylor added five catches for 55 yards and a score of his own.

Thomas Weber was 3 of 4 on his field goal attempts. He successfully converted twice from 42 yards and 38, whiles missing form 45. Bobby Wenzig was good from 45 but missed a 28 yarder.

The second scrimmage of the spring session was also positive from a health standpoint as only two players suffered minor injuries.

"We have the ankle with Saia (Falahola) and a sprained knee with (Adam) Tello," Erickson remarked. "It's good because neither one of them are serious."

The Sun Devils return to the practice field Tuesday at 4:00 pm.

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