March 23, 2007

Offense impressive as Sun Devils go to pads

On a rainy Thursday that somehow managed to stay relatively sprinkle-free throughout the two-plus hour practice session, Arizona State strapped on the pads for the first time this spring and the offense easily got the best of the defense in 11-on-11 work. Here is a "sights and sounds" recap of the workout.

-We spent quite a bit of time early in the practice watching the defensive linemen work on the sled, while being coached up by Grady Stretz. This position group has had a lot of changeover and players who have moved position, in addition to the two JUCO mid-year transfers competing for spots on the two-deep. Michael Marquardt, David Smith, Luis Vasquez, Dexter Davis, Kellen Mills, and Jon Hargis were the players that impressed us with their technique, and ability to soak in feedback from Stretz and immediately apply it on the following rep. Hargis, at 6-foot-4 and 310 pounds has the biggest frame of all the linemen and he's actually an underrated athlete, we have to say, after watching him closely the last couple practices.

Dennis Erickson said that Hargis "runs well" and we agree. He's also a bit quicker than you'd think. He isn't as technically proficient as others yet and probably not as strong, but it would be unwise to write him off. The player who had the most difficult was Eric Tanner. Player start one of their moves on the sled by hitting it full force and then locking out their arms so they can get proper leverage entering phase two of the move, which is the 'rip.'

Tanner wasn't locking out his arms and it took numerous comments by Stretz before it really began to sink in, and even then it was not consistently good. It's important to realize that Tanner is new to the program and most of the others are not. Being technically proficient takes practice, and it's extremely important, even and perhaps especially in the trenches.

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