August 12, 2006

Thunderstorm cuts Friday afternoon session short

Friday evening's practice at Camp Tontozona was cut nearly in half by a thunderstorm that forced the team off the field when lighting was spotted nearby.

Following a physical practice in the morning session, and with a scrimmage set for Saturday morning, it appeared as though the Sun Devils were content to do a lot of special teams work and some unique position drills that we haven't seen much to this point.

One of the more promising developments of the shortened session was the play of JUCO transfer Jonathan Johnson, who is proving that he indeed does have the short get-off time and nice hang time that the staff believed he would contribute when they elected to offer him a scholarship.

We think it's quite likely that if Johnson is given the opportunity, his style of punting will lead to more fair catches by the opposition. While his punting distance may not be as good as others ASU has had at the position in recent years, it's possible he could wind up being more valuable because of less big returns. His high trajectory should allow more players to get downfield in order to make plays on the return man.

Speaking of return man, one player who stood out to us on Friday afternoon was Chris McGaha. Having already shown that he's got the potential to be a solid possession receiver in the mold of Moey Mutz, but with more athleticism and natural talent, McGaha is now making a case to be a backup to Terry Richardson and/or Rudy Burgess in the return game.

While the talent ahead of him both at receiver and on special teams is excellent, McGaha is a guy that could sneak up on a lot of people in another year or two and become an integral part of the ASU offense.

Another player with that type of upside is Shawn Dewitty, who is running harder and more effectively now than at any time in the last week. Dewitty has lean, long muscles and already weighs 215 pounds, with the ability to add another 10-15 or so in the coming year. He has the opportunity talent when you consider that he is a 10.7 second guy 100 meters.

On the defensive side of the ball, two guys that stood out to us on the evening were Troy Nolan and Derron Ware. Nolan made some nice plays in the morning session and carried that over with a solid ethic in the afternoon. Ware is much further along physically from last year and he looked great in the pass rush drill late in the day.

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