Tempo in focus for Erickson

The Arizona State Sun Devils got a well deserved two-day break after their second team scrimmage this past Saturday. On Tuesday, the maroon and gold returned to the practice field and head coach Dennis Erickson was pleased with the tempo of his offense.

Saturday's scrimmage yielded plenty of positives for junior quarterback Steven Threet but ended with a bang for sophomore Brock Osweiler when he completed a 19-yard strike to wide receiver Kerry Taylor in the end zone. After the scrimmage, Erickson again had no answer to the question of who was going to be his starting quarterback. Yesterday the experienced head coach announced that he was going to make his decision. Just not until next Monday.

If Tuesday's practice provided any inkling about which way Erickson and company are leaning, Threet was the first string quarterback for this session. After practice, Erickson directed conversation away from the quarterback questions, referring back to his statement. He did however comment on the speed at which the offense is operating.

"That's probably the best tempo we've had in a while as far as no huddle," Erickson said. "I remember a year ago we came out after a two-day practice like that and it was one of the worst practices we ever had. To see probably one of the best we had is very good."

While the head coach didn't seem entirely pleased with his offense's performance in Saturday's scrimmage, he acknowledged the improvement and reiterated just how tough it is to go up against the Sun Devil defense.

"We just need to pick the tempo up," Erickson noted. "Our quarterbacks, particularly (Threet) and (Osweiler), picked up the tempo. We talked a lot about that today at meetings. Not waiting for things to happen and we have to continue to do that. Defensively we were all over the place on Saturday."

On the injury front the Sun Devils are faring rather well. They were able to survive a scare early in camp to blossoming star linebacker Vontaze Burfict and key players like Threet, Samson Szakacsy and Aaron Pflugrad were able to overcome nagging injuries. Still out are three defensive linemen; Will Sutton, Lee Adams, and Toa Tuitea. Erickson commented on their status.

"Lee (Adams) is getting a lot better," Erickson said. "He'll probably be able to go next week. Will (Sutton) is still hurting. Toa (Tuitea) we think will be back next week. Hopefully for the (opener against Portland State)."

One injury that just hasn't gone away is the hamstring injury to junior wide receiver Gerell Robinson. Robinson participated in the first session of summer camp this year and impressed viewers and coaches alike. His size and speed combination are rare for a wide receiver and it's clear that he is in better shape now than ever before. Unfortunately for Robinson and the Sun Devils, the former Hamilton High School star hasn't been able to participate fully in practice since.

"They've been massaging and working on (Robinson's hamstring)," Erickson stated. "It's getting better but it's not where it needs to be. Hopefully he'll be ready to practice next week. It's frustrating for our team and it's really frustrating for him because he worked so hard in the summer and obviously the day he was out here he was extremely good. We need him back. The one thing about hamstrings is you don't want to bring it back too soon."

For Erickson and the Sun Devils, getting and staying healthy is just another part of the long battle to get back to the top of the Pac-10.

Sun Devil Source Top Stories