Third spring scrimmage gets physical

With a week left of spring practice, the Sun Devils hit the field today with temperatures in the 90's. The warm weather didn't slow down the maroon and gold as both offense and defense delivered some serious blows to spark the sun soaked crowd on hand.

"I thought it was good and bad today," Coach Dennis Erickson stated. "I thought there were some really good things on both sides of the football. A lot of hitting. I think the physicality of what happened out there today was probably the most physical scrimmage we've had since I've been here on both sides of the ball."

There were several big hits, delivered by both offense and defense, and the return of Cameron Marshall brought that physicality to a whole new level as defenders were just bouncing off him left and right.

"Our running backs are pretty physical, our linebackers were physical, the whole team was physical," Quarterback Brock Osweiler mentioned. "So if you can take that kind of a football team with our speed and our talent and stuff, I think we're going to be pretty dangerous."

Unfortunately for the Sun Devils, physical play does sometimes result in injuries as Jon Hargis went down with a sprained knee, though Erickson said it isn't serious, and Brandon Magee who suffered a stinger and a concussion on a huge collision, and is questionable for the last week of spring practice.

"He got a stinger, concussion," Erickson said of Magee. "I don't know if he'll be able to play next week, that was a violent hit, but he bounced up so there wasn't anything serious so just typical spring ball we're nicked up a bit."

As the quarterback battle rages on, Threet took the reps with the first team and had a very good day throwing two touchdowns to Pflugrad and Kohl. Osweiler's day wasn't as good but still completed a good percentage of his throws and made a few plays with his legs as well.

"We got better today," Osweiler said. "It might not have been as much downfield throwing as last weekend or throwing as many touchdowns in that respect but we got better at small things. We got better at our screen game, at our run game and so that's what we've got to do right now. I think today was a success but by no means where we need to be but it was definitely a good day out there."

Though there were some exciting plays, the offense turned the ball over twice on interceptions in the red zone, something that left Coach Erickson less than thrilled.

"We had some very physical runs, some things up front, but obviously we're making too many mistakes," Erickson pointed out. "We probably went off sides about 8 times on defense, and then we throw interceptions in critical situations. That's what I've talked to them about. The most important thing you've got to know and it's an emphasis in this thing, it's to create turnovers on defense and don't turn the ball over, particularly going down in the red zone.

"We threw a couple down in here when we probably could've kicked a field goal or something out of the thing, but those are all things that are correctable."

But interceptions aside, Erickson acknowledged that this may have been one of the best scrimmages the Sun Devils have had during his tenure, something that should be encouraging for Sun Devil nation moving forward, and although there were some mistakes, the balance that the offense showed with the ability to run the ball, collecting 111 total yards today, may be the most encouraging sign.

"It's huge," Osweiler said of the running game. "For us to be able to run the ball today is really going to help the passing game next week. The more balanced we are, the more dangerous we're going to be. To have the passing game go off last week and the running game getting started this week, I feel like next Saturday we'll really be in the flow we need to be in."

A "flow," is something the offense severely lacked last season, but the second-year QB expects that to change this season.

"We're going to set a goal for how many points we want to score in a game and I can tell you right now its going to be a pretty high number," Osweiler said confidently. "We'll get to it and we'll get to it each game. We're going to win a lot of games next fall."

Scrimmage Stats

Passing

Threet 12-22-161 2 TDs

Osweiler 18-27-147

Rarrick 2-6-12

Rushing

Marshall 7-36 TD

Morrison 6 -28

Miles 5-19

Robinson 2-7

Washington 3 -9

Osweiler 9-(-9)

Threet 1-(-7)

Rarrick 1-(-4)

Receiving

Pflugrad 6-50 TD

Holliday 6 -47

Robinson 3 -31

Taylor 4-43

Miles 5 -26

Kohl 3-54 TD

Morrison 3-31

Marshall 1-22

Pickens 1-12

M.Smith 1-5

Coyle 1-1

Kicking

Weber missed field goal attempts of 42, 45, 48, 49 and 49 yards and converted one kick from 37 yards

Maggie Walsh contributed to this article


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