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September 12, 2012

Lewis hoping to get anger out with move to defense

With his secondary depth a continuing concern, Arizona State coach Todd Graham, who has on multiple occassions already this young season lamented the precipitous drop off in performance at the position once his starters come off the field, decided to move another offensive player across the line of scrimmage this week in practice.

Running back Deantre Lewis made the switch from his maroon offensive No. 5 jersey to a white defensive No. 3 Tuesday, where he participated with the first-team as an extra defensive back in the team's nickel and dime packages.

"It's something you feel like you could just go wild," said Lewis, who hasn't played full time on defense since his freshman year of high school. "Especially after my shooting I have a lot of anger built in me. I feel like I could use it on opponents, hitting on them and stuff. I feel like that's a good move for me."

Lewis' move isn't yet permanent, and Graham said he still could fulfill the reserve role he has on this team at running back, one of the more talent-laden spots on the roster.

"I think Deantre can still do the things he is doing on the offense," Graham said. "We have a whole arsenal of guys there. Deantre is a team guy and came to me and said if you need me to help you, I'll help you, so we are going to look and try and see if he can help us there, if not in-depth than in a certain package or a way like that."

Lewis spent the session playing what amounts to a spur-like position, primarily defending a receiver in the slot to the boundary side of the field on passing downs, but he could move around on that side depending on formation.

"It's something that's interesting," Lewis said. "I've been wanting to play defense for a while now. I guess it's a new era for me.

"They approached me and asked me if I wanted to play and said yeah of course, that's something I wanted to do coming in to ASU."

Former receiver [db]Kevin Anderson was converted to cornerback last month in camp and Jarrid Bryant moved to the position from receiver during the spring as ASU has looked to find a fourth cornerback on the depth chart.

Two scholarship cornerbacks, Devan Spann and Rashad Wadood, have been lost for at least the season with recurrent shoulder injuries that required surgery, with Spann's career likely over.

"Deantre looked great today," Graham said. "Wow, what an incredible athlete. There's a great example of a guy that is no doubt a dynamic tailback and we said hey man we need you to do this and he comes over today, really bright, really smart, he can do some things and we able to help us and I hope he'll be able to do it by this weekend."

Mendoza out for year

After playing what linebackers coach and co-defensive coordinator Ron West termed "the best 19 snaps in a game of any first-year freshman I've ever coached at the position," linebacker Carlos Mendoza will miss the rest of the 2012 season with a shoulder re-injured against Illinois last week.

Mendoza didn't start against Illinois with first-teamer senior Brandon Magee out due to a concussion, but played extensively until he got hurt, leading to Graham and West each saying they made a mistake in not starting him.

I was also very proud of Carlos (Mendoza). If I had to do it all over again, I would let Carlos play. I was worried that he would be overwhelmed. He wasn't overwhelmed at all. He played great, fit. His assignments were all right on. He played well. If anyone made assignment issues, it was us [the coaches].

ASU will apply for a medical redshirt year for Mendoza, who will have surgery for the second time this year on the shoulder, which Graham said had a bone chip in it.

More asked of receivers

Graham said Tuesday's practice was a good one, but there's one position group that continues to be lag, that being the receivers group.

"Not everbody is doing it the way we need it done and we've got to have a total team effort with how we prepare," he said. "I feel really good about how our defense prepared today, I feel really good about how our offensive line (prepared), we've got to have some guys step up at wide receiver. We've got to get better at that position. That's the one that seems to lack the most leadership and those types of things I'm big on."


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