November 7, 2008

Revamped line could feature Schlink at guard

Nothing has been finalized, but Zach Schlink will be prepared if coach Dennis Erickson gives him his first career start Saturday at Washington.

Arizona State has shuffled it offensive front this week in practice moving Shawn Lauvao from left guard to right tackle and inserting Schlink, a true freshman, in the vacated guard position.

Thursday Schlink and Lauvao were still at their new positions, but Erickson said he has not made any final decisions yet as to who will start.

"We'll sit down and talk about it tonight as a staff and look at practice again," he said. "We've kind of been evaluating things on how we practice. So I'm not sure what we'll do."

If Schlink's number is called Saturday, he will be the fourth true freshman to start a game for the Sun Devils this season and he couldn't be more excited for the opportunity.

"It would be awesome. I'd love it," he said. "Ever since I started progressing, just getting used to the system and the plays and everything, I'm excited to get out there and play. I haven't started in a game since a year and a couple of weeks ago."

And while Schlink is energized about the possibility of starting, Lauvao is just as excited about possibly starting at a new position.

He said tackle is more fun than guard, but he also knows he has extra responsibilities on the outside.

"It's cool, it's more fun, but I have to focus more [at tackle]," Lauvao said. "From a technical standpoint its more challenging. I actually have to use technique this time because on the inside you can get away with a lot of stuff.

"Definitely a different mindset. On the inside, if you get beat its pretty easy to recover but if you get beat off the edge its pretty obvious."

Schlink said the transition from the second team, which is where he has spent most of the season, to the first unit went smooth for him.

As far as his responsibilities, Schlink said he pretty much does the same thing whether he is with the ones or the twos.

The biggest difference between the two lines, Schlink said, is the amount of communication.

"When the second string was up we wouldn't talk a lot on the line, or we wouldn't be able to communicate what's happening," he said. "But when the first string got up there, everybody's talking to each other on the line and letting each other know where one of us is going to be or what's going on. We just come together better as a unit."

Returning duties

Even with wide receiver Kyle Williams back, wide receiver Nate Kimbrough will still return punts for ASU on Saturday.

Erickson said Kimbrough's performance against Oregon State, when Kimbrough averaged more than 28 yards per return, was what allowed him to keep the job.

"He catches it and gets straight up the football field and makes some things happen," Erickson said. "So I'm not going to change it."

Williams will resume his kickoff return duties.

Brooks back

Defensive end James Brooks (ankle) practiced Wednesday and Thursday and he will play Saturday.


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