October 29, 2008
Bass ready to impress
All season long running back Ryan Bass had been waiting for an opportunity to prove himself. Safety Jonathan Clark returned to practice Tuesday after missing the past several weeks following knee surgery.
The true freshman had received a couple of carries here and there throughout Arizona State's first six games, but he hadn't seen any sustained playing time and couldn't seem to find his rhythm on the field.
But Saturday, that all changed.
Against Oregon, Bass received his opportunity and he proved why many people believe he will be the Sun Devils' premier rusher in the not-so-distant future.
"I think I proved myself on Saturday and Coach felt the same way," Bass said. "I came in and just ran my hardest."
Bass racked up 56 yards on 10 carries against the Ducks and coach Dennis Erickson liked what he saw so much, he plans to use Bass much more in the upcoming weeks with hopes of duplicating the results.
"We're planning on giving him some more looks, no question about it," Erickson said. "He is a guy that can make you miss. He has really good feet. He has a very strong lower body that can break tackles."
While Bass' performance was impressive, perhaps it could have been outstanding.
Bass has been nursing a sore right hamstring since ASU played USC on Oct. 20, and was not 100-percent during his breakout game.
He is though, very close to full strength.
"I'm working on it every day so I hope it gets better by Saturday," he said.
Bass is one of the most improved players on the team since training camp came to a close in late August. The reasons for that: confidence and an extra 20 pounds.
Bass is noticeably bigger since he arrived in Tempe and he said Tuesday that he weighs about 205 pounds.
Most of the added weight has been added to his upper body, something he credits to hard work in the weight room and a proper diet.
While the weight was easy to put on for Bass, the confidence was not as easy to gain.
Throughout training camp he had some well-documented ball control issues and was seemingly fumbling the football every day in practice.
Then, when he saw the first playing time of his college career against NAU, the game came at him fast.
He initially had some trouble adjusting to the speed of the college game, but he has now adapted well and is back in his comfort zone.
"Every week I get more confident," Bass said. "I'm getting used to the pace of the game so I'm getting a lot more confident."
Wounded wide outs
Three of ASU's top wide receivers either sat out of or were limited in practice Tuesday.
Kyle Williams suffered a concussion against Oregon and did not participate Tuesday.
Chris McGaha was in obvious pain throughout practice and was having his left hip worked on by trainers.
And Mike Jones participated in position drills but was limited in team drills due to a recurring back issue.
Erickson plans to have all three wide receivers when ASU heads to Oregon State on Saturday, but he will be prepared otherwise on the slim chance any of them cannot play.
"If they don't go we'll play the other guys, they've practiced well," Erickson said. "I thought [Nate] Kimbrough practiced well. Kerry Taylor practiced well. TJ [Simpson] is getting better. Brandon [Smith] is getting better.
"We'll go with who we've got."
Slippery when wet
Saturday's forecast in Corvallis, Ore., calls for rain, and ASU wants to be prepared.
During some position drills, quarterbacks' coach Rich Olson was squirting footballs with water before the quarterbacks made their passes.
The special teams unit got in on the action too as kicker Thomas Weber, punter Trevor Hankins and long snapper Thomas Ohmart doused several footballs in water before working on punting and field goals.
Defensive end James Brooks suffered a sprained left ankle in the first quarter of the Oregon game, and was wearing a walking boot covering the injured ankle Tuesday.
Erickson said Brooks status is questionable for the upcoming game.
To replace Brooks, Paul Unga slid out to defensive end from defensive tackle, and took some reps in Brooks' slot with the second team.
Defensive tackle David Bertrand has primarily been a scout-team player this fall, but Tuesday he took off the yellow jersey and was donning his No. 65 white practice jersey.
Bertrand took some reps with both the first and second teams.
...More... To continue reading this article you must be a member. Sign Up Now for a FREE Trial