April 8, 2007

Scrimmage report

The Sun Devil defense was much more effective in the third scrimmage of spring football, but still had its troubles getting the offense off of the field. The offense, while able to move the ball relatively well, was only able to score one touchdown on the afternoon. The kicking game was really off today as ASU's kickers combined to convert just 2-of-6 field goal attempts.

Rudy Carpenter had a solid scrimmage, at one point completing eight straight passes, and he had the only TD pass of the day when he found Brent Miller in the endzone. Backup Danny Sullivan again was inconsistent with his reads and throws. He did play noticeably better when he was quarterbacking the first team offense. Dax Crum got some action; he completed 2-of-3 passes including a nice hook up with Tyrice Thompson. The quarterbacks as a unit were much better on short crossing routes and quick outs than they were on deep routes.

Ryan Torain was inconsistent today; at times he looked great, while others he was very mediocre. He averaged less than four yards per carry on 10 carries. He also fumbled once on a fourth and short yardage situation and only had one run greater than five yards. In fairness, the offense as a whole seemed to have problems running up the middle today and most of Torain's carries were up the middle.

Keegan Herring had a very good scrimmage, the best of all the backs. He was the only back to average more than four yards per carry and he had several nice runs to the outside which allowed him to use his speed. Dimitri Nance had a very rough scrimmage. Nance touched the ball 10 times in all for a total of 9 yards.

Wide receivers Nate Kimbrough, Mike Jones, Rodney Glass and Rudy Burgess were all held out of today's scrimmage.

Kyle Williams continued his big spring by leading the Sun Devils in receptions (five) and total yards from scrimmage. Sun Devil quarterbacks were able to find Williams on a variety of passing routes from quick outs to fly patterns. Williams also had a very nice 29-yard punt return.

Brandon Smith and Chris McGaha were the starting receivers along with Williams. It was a relatively quiet day for both players. Smith had a few chances on deep balls but the Sun Devils were unable to convert those chances. McGaha had one catch which came on a beautifully setup crossing route in which he was wide open and picked up 30 yards before being brought down on a questionable 15-yard face mask penalty by Troy Nolan.

Brent Miller continues to show he is going to be a quality tight end in 2007. Miller had three catches that either resulted in a first down or a touchdown. Tyrice Thompson was the surprise of the day, demonstrating excellent hands with a couple of difficult catches. Thompson had three receptions including a nice 34 yard reception from Crum. Dane Guthrie and Brady Conrad both impressed with their blocking on the edges. In a bit of a surprise, the tight ends had more total receptions on the day then the wide outs.

The first team offensive line again lined up the same way it has since spring ball began. Djadji Daffe, who has been lined up the second team left guard in the last week, was out with a knee injury. Shawn Lauvao moved over to left guard while his former high school teammate, redshirt freshman Ian Schuering, took over at right guard. Compared to what it has been of late, the line play was sub-par on Saturday. The group had trouble giving the quarterbacks the time to setup deep passes and they weren't opening up many holes up the middle for the backs. Another sign of poor play was the offense's ineffectiveness on screen plays. All of those that were attempted were either broken up immediately or resulted in only a short gain.

The defensive line played very well today, and this could be the day in which junior college transfer Luis Vasquez moves permanently into the starting lineup. Vasquez led all Devils with two sacks and also had an additional tackle for loss. Dexter Davis also had a solid day from his defensive end spot. Kellen Mills had a sack and Michael Marquardt played very well, also getting a sack. He seems to be working well with Saia Falahola at defensive tackle on the first team. Jon Hargis made a big play busting up a screen pass to Nance in the backfield; it was a play that really sparked the defense early in the scrimmage. As was mentioned earlier, the offense had trouble running up the middle all day so the tackles as a whole played well.

The linebackers were very impressive today, as had been the case throughout the last week. If there was a surprise today, it was Gerald Munns starting over Morris Wooten in the middle. Ryan McFoy and Travis Goethel flanked Munns. Wooten and Munns both saw time with the first team as the day went on. Munns did play very well and collected a sack on a nice blitz. Chad Lindsey and Jamarr Robinson were with Wooten to start out on the 2nd team. Jeff Bereuter saw several snaps with the second team as did Mike Nixon. The linebackers did an excellent job with their blitzes and filling the holes versus the run.

Josh Barrett was held out today, as he continues to be on the non-contact list. Jeremy Payton started the day at safety with the first team but he did end the day at cornerback. Troy Nolan was the other starting safety. Chad Green started alongside Justin Tryon at cornerback. Grant Crunkleton and Jarrell Holman were the second team corners and Rodney Cox and Angelo Fobbs-Valentino were the second team safeties, which has consistently been the case all spring, with Dennis Erickson saying that is the defensive position where he feels most comfortable with the depth. Chris Baloney and Travis Smith saw limited action at cornerback. Considering that there wasn't one deep pass completed on the outside the cornerbacks showed well today but some of that was probably because the front seven did a good job pressuring the passer.

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