November 20, 2008

Anderson shows well in scrimmage segment

During Arizona State's final bye week last season, the scout team had a live hitting portion of practice dubbed the "Scout Bowl," and linebacker Oliver Aaron came away with the MVP award. On Wednesday, the Sun Devils again had a similar scout team segment, albeit shorter and with less build up, and this time, another linebacker was arguably the most impressive performer.

Redshirt freshman Derrall Anderson had several tackles and a sack from the middle linebacker position in the 15-minute practice period, and generally impressed with his speed and tenacity.

"I was just trying to make plays. I'm still learning the position," Anderson said following the workout. "I felt like I had to prove myself that I could actually be physical enough to play the position. It's only my second day playing MIKE so I'm still adjusting to the position and learning my gaps and my assignments."

With Morris Wooten exhausting eligibility after this season, and Gerald Munns leaving the team due to personal reasons, the Sun Devils appear to be light on returning players at the MIKE position next season. Shelly Lyons figures to hold an edge in the battle for first-team status, but Anderson will try to make a push.

"I like the middle a lot," Anderson said. "It gives me a chance to show my playmaking ability and run to the ball. I'm just trying to make the most of my opportunities. Once I learn the position I feel like I'm going to be a definite factor."

The 6-foot-1, 220 pound Anderson hasn't been heard from much since joining the program out of Tampa, Fla., prior to the 2007 season, but he's enjoyed his time in Tempe to this point.

"I like it out here a lot. It's different from the East Coast, but a good experience for me," Anderson said. "I'm just trying to do the best I can so I can help the program out in the future."

Anderson and the rest of the scout team players are going to have to do a lot more than just show well in one practice segment, as coach Dennis Erickson made clear following the workout.

We won," Erickson joked. "Can you put that on the record? Between that and the spring games, I'm in good shape."

Erickson said he doesn't put much stock into practice segments like the one Tuesday, but liked the energy boost it provided his players.

"You get tired of running other people's plays and getting hit all the time," Erickson said. "Now they've got a chance to run our own stuff and have some fun playing the game."

Injury update

  • Freshman Gerald Flunder, a 5-foot-10, 190 pound walk-on cornerback from Glendale, Ariz., Shadow Mountain, suffered an apparent broken leg early in the scrimmage. ASU trainers put the leg in an air cast and Flunder was taken off the field on a cart.

  • Redshirt freshman linebacker Colin Parker did not participate in practice Wednesday due to a sore knee that Erickson said was possibly cartilage related and not serious. The coach said Parker should be able to play against UCLA.

  • Senior defensive tackle David Smith still has not returned to practice since suffering a severe stinger against several weeks ago against Washington. Smith did not play versus Washington State, and Erickson said he expected Smith would likely miss his second game in a row, against UCLA Nov. 28.

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