A missing piece of the Red Wolves offensive puzzle has returned this spring.
Last year's Red Wolves offense had a lot of success, but it was very noticeable that something was missing. Even the play calling was different early, due to Butterfield's early season ending injury during the first week of fall camp.
"It's great getting him back," Aplin said Wednesday after the Red Wolves first spring practice. "It's like a missing piece of the puzzle is back. He brings a lot to our offense, he is a great competitor. It's great to have him back."
New ASU offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee agrees with Aplin.
"You could tell he was really excited to be back out on the field," Coach Lashlee said. "He didn't even seem to notice the knee at all. He has been released and is good to go. He probably threw the ball a little more Wednesday than he has been use to."
Former Head Coach Hugh Freeze went into fall camp with a plan for Butterfield in his offensive playbook.
"We had a package designed just for him," Freeze said in an earlier interview. "His injury was tough to take. It definitely limited us early. I didn't turn Ryan loose until conference play and really the FIU game. If Phillip had been playing we would have called somethings a little differently."
Butterfield and Coach Malzahn are no strangers to each other. Butterfield was recruited by Malzahn while he was the offensive coordinator at Tulsa.
The addition of Butterfield at the quarterback position will give the Red Wolves another big play type weapon for Malzahn's multiple offense.
"Phillip is a great runner, and has a great arm," one ASU fan remembers. "He adds something to the offense when you have him and Ryan in the same offense."
Butterfield is also very excited about being back.
"It's great to be back," Butterfield said an earlier interview. "I worked tremendously hard to make I got back as soon as I could. I can't wait to get out there and complete this spring. My knee is feeling great, this is a great offense and I can't wait to learn the system and do my part for my team."
While some might think Aplin and Butterfield would be competitive enemies, this isn't the case whatsoever.
In fact both have tremendous respect for each other and what each other brings to the Red Wolves offense.
"It's great to have him back," Aplin said. "We are great friends, he will make me better and he will make this offense better."