August 20, 2008

ASU goes indoors for final morning practice

Coach Dennis Erickson hoped that moving the final morning practice of the fall inside the Devil Dome would energize the team and increase productivity.

He was right.

Although the players have been through nearly three weeks of fall camp and many of the players said they are ready to lineup against an opponent rather than their teammates, Wednesday morning's practice had the liveliness Erickson wanted.

"I just bring them in when I feel like bringing them in," Erickson said of moving practice inside. "If I feel we need to come in here just to cool down a little bit and get more things done then I'll bring them in here. That's how it will be all year - we might come in during the season too.

"We got a lot done today. We've been out there a long time, practicing in the morning, three weeks. I felt that we needed something to get a little bit more energy so we came in."

But even with that extra energy, Erickson still doesn't have a good sense of where his team stands as far as its preparation for the season.

That he won't know until after ASU plays Northern Arizona 10 days from now.

"I do not know (where the team is at)," Erickson said. "It's been like that ever since I've been coaching. Until you start playing you don't know. You can only do so much here.

"You scrimmage, and how good are you? Are you good on defense, is that why you're not moving the ball? Or are you moving the ball and maybe we're not real good on defense. You don't know anything about those things until you play games. You can only get to a certain point and then you have to play to find out. So obviously after NAU we'll know more about where we're at."

Play action

The Sun Devils worked in some play-action passes during 11-on-11 drills Wednesday morning and had varying degrees of success.

On some plays the defense was genuinely confused, something that rarely happens in practice, and on others it was right where it needed to be.

The biggest play during team drills didn't come from a play action pass, but it did come as a result from its use.

After several consecutive play actions, Keegan Herring was able to find a hole then the open field en route to an 85-yard touchdown run on a play where it appeared the defense assumed play action.

Scrimmage setup

Thursday night's scrimmage at Sun Devil Stadium will give ASU some of its first game situations of the fall.

There will be kickoffs and punts to put the offense in field positions it will see in games.

"We're going to try and create a game atmosphere," Erickson said. "It's not like the spring game. We just want to give ourselves different situations."

Unlike last year's final scrimmage of fall camp, Erickson said, Thursday night will be live.

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