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November 19, 2009Mum's the word from Arizona State football coach Dennis Erickson, but it looks like sophomore quarterback Samson Szakacsy will make his first career start at UCLA on Saturday.
The 6-4, 205-pound, Camarillo, Calif. native was clearly the No. 1 option at Wednesday's practice, while senior Danny Sullivan played almost exclusively with the second unit. Freshman Brock Osweiler, who started at Oregon last week, has been squeezed out of the picture.
"I'll let you know [who the starter is] some time later in the week," Erickson said. "But it's either going to be Samson or Danny, one of the two. I've narrowed it down."
Erickson said Sullivan isn't 100 percent recovered from the right arm injury that held him out of the Oregon game, but said Osweiler is healthy. Ultimately, Erickson said Sullivan's experience gave him an edge over the freshman.
"If Samson were to start," Erickson said, "because of Danny's experience, he could step in if something happens without having to practice a lot."
On an otherwise mellow and mundane mid-week practice session, senior cornerback Terell Carr made a surprise appearance in the secondary.
Carr was suspended last week after being arrested following a loud argument with a woman on ASU's Tempe campus. ASU vice president of athletics Lisa Love reinstated Carr in time for Wednesday's practice, but Erickson and team officials had no further comment.
Redshirt freshman Deveron Carr and senior Pierre Singfield were still the first-team cornerbacks, while Terell Carr, sophomore Josh Jordan and junior LeQuan Lewis filled in as backups.
It also appears sophomore safety Clint Floyd is penciled in as a starter, while seniors Jarrell Holman and Ryan McFoy are battling for the other first-team spot.
In wake of sophomore tight end Dan Knapp's torn anterior cruciate ligament, sophomore Trevor Kohl is in position to make his first career start. Erickson said Kohl and senior tight end Jovon Williams could both start for ASU on Saturday, but Kohl was the No. 1 option even in single tight end sets Wednesday.
"It's like a dream come true," Kohl said. "That's about all I can say. It takes my breath away at night, my heart races every night. It's a crazy, crazy feeling."
Kohl, a walk-on, admitted he didn't think he would see legitimate playing time so early in his career, but said it's been "great" to learn from tight ends coach Jamie Christian.
Without Knapp and senior Stanley Malamala, who is out for the year with a broken jaw, Christian only has three healthy tight ends left on the active roster: Kohl, Williams and redshirt freshman Steven Figueroa.
"We'll still be in some two-tight stuff," Erickson said. "We won't eliminate that until we're down to none or one [tight end]."
The Sun Devils have already received a commitment from 2010 four-star tight end Josh Fulton of Phoenix St. Mary's and will get an internal boost next year, too.
Christian spoke very highly of redshirt Christopher Coyle, who could factor into the playing rotation next fall.
"[Coyle] runs routes and is athletic like Jovon," Christian said. "Yet he's strong enough to [block well] too. He seems like he has the opportunity to become a complete tight end."
Christian also noted the abilities of redshirt tight end Max Smith.
It might be a good idea for ASU to stack its offensive line with an extra blocker to try and exploit the UCLA rush defense, which gives up nearly 150 yards per game.
"We've been shooting ourselves in the foot," senior running back Dimitri Nance said of the offense. "We've just got to execute. I know the defense is going to play good so we just have to do our jobs."