Posted on: August 13, 2011 1:34 pm
Edited on: August 13, 2011 1:44 pm
Posted by Bryan Fischer
The talk coming into the season was that Arizona State was a Pac-12 title contender largely due to the fact that they returned so many starters in 2011. With the season fast approaching however, the talk has turned from the Sun Devils' depth to the team's lack thereof due to injuries.
It appears you can add one more name to the walking wounded as news surfaced Saturday morning that starting linebacker Brandon Magee would miss the season with a torn Achilles tendon. In addition to several backups going down with injuries, the team has already lost three starters in cornerback Omar Bolden, leading receiver T.J. Simpson and defensive end James Brooks.
"Besides being a great player he's a great leader," head coach Dennis Erickson said of Magee. "Him and Omar were our two leaders. Some other guys are going to have to step up."
The loss of Magee cannot be understated for Arizona State's defense as he was the squad's second leading tackler a year ago behind Vontaze Burfict. Defensive coordinator Craig Bray recently told The Arizona Republic that though Burfict was listed by many as the conference's preseason defensive player of the year, Magee actually out performed the star linebacker last season.
"Our best defensive player last year was Brandon Magee, and you don't hear anything about him," Bray said.
Senior Oliver Aaron was Magee's backup but he is recovering from an ankle injury suffered last week and is expected to miss three to four weeks. Carl Bradford and Collin Parker are also expected to compete for the open spot.
Posted on: July 26, 2011 11:51 pm
Posted by Chip Patterson
Arizona State was selected by the media to finish second place in the new Pac-12 South, right behind USC. If final standings shake out that way, the Sun Devils would find themselves in the Pac-12 title game due to USC's sanctions. Head coach Dennis Erickson was asked on Tuesday if they would have any problem taking that bid.
"I don't care," Erickson joked. "Lot of things in life you take anyway you can get it, you know. But the playoff is really fun. You can have a bad game, come back, and get into that championship game, which is what it's all about, to go to the Rose Bowl. But to answer your question, like I said, I don't care. I'll take it anyway we can get it."
Here are some other highlights from Arizona State's time with the media on Tuesday:
- Erickson is very happy with his defense heading into the fall. Says the unit is two-deep at every position, and will likely be the best part of the team. He noted the loss of defensive back Omar Bolden setting them back a bit, and identified it as one place to improve.
- On the offensive line Arizona State will return "7 or 8" offensive linemen with game experience, not to mention all five starters. The line should help 6-foot-8 quarterback Brock Osweiler, who also drew praise from Erickson for his work in the offseason.
- There is no timetable for a return for running back Deantre Lewis. After suffering a gunshot wound in the back of the leg, Erickson insisted that his return is up in the air. The wound hurt his hamstring worse than many people think, and is obviously still dealing with the emotional issues of being shot. Erickson seemed to hint that he would either sit out the first 3 or 4 games or redshirt the entire season.
Posted on: July 14, 2011 3:06 pm
Edited on: July 14, 2011 4:01 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
The 2011 season simply can't get here fast enough for Arizona State.
A long misfortune-filled offseason got even longer for the presumptive Pac-12 South favorites Wednesday, as senior defensive end James Brooks left the team for the ubiquitous "personal reasons." After missing the Devils' spring game for academic reasons, he is expected to remain in school and continute pursuing his degree.
Brooks had endured a turbulent career in Tempe (having been suspended for three games in 2009 for violating team rules) but became an integral part of the Sun Devil defense and special teams last season, recording 7.5 tackles-for-loss, 4 sacks, and a pair of blocked extra points in ASU's high-wire 30-29 Territorial Cup victory over Arizona. Entering his senior season, Brooks was expected to join with super-sophomore Junior Onyeali and fellow senior Jamar Jarrett to form one of the Pac-12's most fearsome defensive end rotations.
But like a lot of the Sun Devils' plans since winning that game over Arizona, those expectations aren't going to come to fruition; Brooks's decision is believed to be final. He now joins All-Pac-12 corner Omar Bolden, receiver T.J. Simpson, and quarterback Steven Threet on the list of projected ASU starters who won't play in 2011. And the news comes in the same offseason as the shooting of running back Deantre Lewis and the arrest of safety Ramon Abreu, not to mention a dispiriting Signing Day haul.
Even after all the setbacks, the Sun Devils may still deserve their summer tags of "division favorites" and "top-25 material." But if they do fulfill their preseason press clippings, there's no question they'll have done it the hard way.
Posted on: May 9, 2011 5:20 pm
Edited on: May 9, 2011 5:20 pm
Posted by Bryan Fischer
Spring time is a time for learning. Ask any coach and you'll hear some derivative of, 'We want to get back to learning the fundamentals' at the beginning of their spring press conference. Now that spring practices have wrapped up for all of the Pac-12 schools though, it's time to figure out what we've learned from them. Here's a few things we've learned about all 12 teams (other than the fact that they're all very rich thanks to the new media deal).
What we've learned: The Ducks are still feeling out the offensive line situation, where they have to replace three of the starting five before taking on a top five team in LSU week one. Mark Asper is set at right tackle and Carson York returns at left guard but beyond that it's a few question marks. Expect the battles to start to continue with a few of the incoming freshmen to get a look once fall camp starts. Luckily the Ducks have two Heisman Trophy candidates in the backfield in running back LaMichael James and quarterback Darron Williams to smooth the transition as they can both hit the hole quickly with their speed. The defense seems set and will likely be better than last year's unit despite losing their leader, linebacker Casey Matthews, to graduation. Oregon still needs some receivers to step up but early enrollee Colt Lyerla figures to be in the mix early on offense.
What we've learned: Andrew Luck is good. But everybody already knew that. A few pieces around Luck still need to be ironed out though, namely at receiver and on the opposite side of the ball along the defensive line. By all indications the transition from Jim Harbaugh to new head coach David Shaw went smoothly but practices were closed so there's not a ton we can gleam from the Cardinal's spring. Luck led scoring drives on all three series he was in during the Stanford spring game and that's without running back Tyler Gaffney, who was playing baseball all spring. Having the best quarterback in college football seems to cover up a lot of holes.
What we've learned: The Sun Devils will be donning new uniforms in the fall and on top of looking pretty slick, they'll also be carrying the weight of expectations as the Pac-12 South favorite. Injuries were the story of the spring with starting corner Omar Bolden going down with a torn ACL early last year. He's expected to come back later in the season but that's a big blow on an otherwise solid and upperclassman-laden team. Wide out T.J. Simpson also injured his knee. The offensive line, an area of concern for years in the desert, appears to be at full strength and much improved.
What we've learned: Lots of injuries to deal with this spring with the Utes, who had several starters miss the spring game or spring all together. Starting quarterback Jordan Wynn was one such player who didn't get a chance to go through practices under new offensive coordinator Norm Chow but he's still expected to be the starter once fall camp opens. There are several players competing at running back and the staff is hopeful after Harvey Langi, John White and Thretton Palamo all had a good spring. Palamo becoming the starter is interesting because he's a former ruby player. Utes also seemed to figure out the replacements in the secondary which was something head coach Kyle Whittingham wanted to do.
What we've learned: There's some talent at USC but the depth is... lacking. The Trojans used to be able to stock pile four and five-star talent but it was evident that Lane Kiffin is doing some rebuilding with 49 out of the 85 scholarship players from the past two recruiting classes. That also means this is a young team but there's a lot to build around in quarterback Matt Barkley and wide out Robert Woods. The defense should be better than a year ago as players grow more comfortable with the system. The secondary should be much improved in particular. With 12 players out for spring and many freshmen expected to contribute, USC still has to figure a few things out in the fall.
What we've learned: Starting quarterback Nick Foles has a talented group of wide outs but he'll have to get the ball to them quickly. While every coach in the country wants their trigger man to get the ball out quickly, Foles has to do so mainly because he'll have an entirely new offensive line in front of him. At the moment both tackles will be redshirt freshmen who haven't played a game but they looked solid this spring. Both defensive ends (who were very productive) are gone but C.J. Parrish impressed everyone coming off the edge this spring. The secondary seems to be rounding into form and Texas transfer Dan Buckner should be a nice target for Foles.
What we've learned: The Bears' practices had to be moved off campus due to construction and that's pretty fitting considering that Cal football was, well, under construction this spring. The situation at quarterback seems to be Zach Maynard over Brock Mansion and Allan Bridgeford but none of the three seems to be particularly appealing based on reports. Jim Michalczik is back in Berkeley as offensive coordinator and we'll see what tweaks he makes but Jeff Tedford will be the play caller and quarterbacks coach this year. The defense will likely be the strength of the team, especially along the defensive line.
What we've learned: Not a ton about the team that will take the field in the fall. Quarterback Ryan Katz sat out with a broken bone in his wrist and all-everything athlete James Rodgers is rehabbing from knee surgery and might not make it back in time for the opener. The offensive line returns four of five and needs to play better but there weren't any indications they did so this spring. Terron Ward seems to have emerged as the favorite to replace Jacquizz Rodgers but there are plenty of players in the mix.
What we've learned: There are plenty of issues on offense out side of the running back position but at least the defense looks better. Being relatively healthy on defense is nice for the new staff and the defensive line looks like it can provide a nice pass rush. The quarterback battle is on hold until the fall but freshman Brett Hundley showed flashes and if he gets the playbook down, could end up the starter. Injuries along the offensive line were an issue once again.
What we've learned: Keith Price is the new starter at quarterback and has the task of keeping the Huskies afloat without Jake Locker and several other starters. Chris Polk has looked good at running back and is primed for another good season if he can deal with more defenders in the box. Three starters along the offensive line needed to be replaced and some of the battles will likely continue in fall camp. Early enrollee Austin Seferian-Jenkins made an impression and figures to make an impact on offense at tight end.
What we've learned: Everything is new for the conference's newest member. First time head coach Jon Embree takes over the reigns as the program tries to reset after a down couple of years. Tyler Hansen had a good spring in the new pro-style offense and the Buffs have a listed 17 starters coming back overall that gives them some hope this year. There's a bunch of questions on defense as the team moves to a more traditional 4-3 alignment from last year's 3-3-5. The front seven seems to be ok coming out of drills but replacing both corners is still a concern.
What we've learned: There are plenty of issues on the Palouse but there's hope this spring. The Cougars are set at quarterback with Jeff Tuel and former starter Marshall Lobbestael and the offensive line seems solid coming out of the spring. The front seven was impressive this spring and should be much improved from last year with a bit of depth Washington State hasn't had. Special teams is a bit of a concern and didn't really get worked out this spring.
Tags: Allan Bridgeford, Andrew Luck, Arizona, Arizona State, Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Brett Hundley, Brock Mansion, C.J. Parrish, Cal, Carson York, Casey Matthews, Chris Polk, Colorado, Colt Lyerla, Dan Buckner, Darron Williams, David Shaw, Harvey Langi, Heisman Trophy, Jacquizz Rodgers, Jake Locker, James Rodgers Terron Ward, Jeff Tedford, Jeff Tuel, Jim Harbaugh, Jim Michalczik, John White, Jon Embree, Jordan Wynn, Keith Price, Kyle Whittingham, LaMichael James, Lane Kiffin, LSU, Mark Asper, Marshall Lobbestael, Matt Barkley, Nick Foles, Norm Chow, Omar Bolden, Oregon, Oregon State, Pac-12, Robert Woods, Ryan Katz, Stanford, T.J. Simpson, Texas, Thretton Palamo, Tyler Gaffney, Tyler Hansen, UCLA, USC, Utah, Washington, Washington State, Zach Maynard
Posted on: April 6, 2011 1:05 pm
Edited on: April 6, 2011 1:12 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
Sometimes spring practice brings bad news: a broken ankle, an academic suspension, a player or two who can't seem to get on track.
And sometimes, unfortunately, the news goes beyond "bad." That's the kind of news Arizona State's Dennis Erickson was forced to announce yesterday, confirming that two senior Sun Devil starters' seasons are in jeopardy after tearing their ACLs in spring camp:
Even details like "All-Pac-10" and "481 receiving yards" don't entirely do justice to how devastating the losses of Bolden and Simpson are. Without Bolden, the Sun Devils not only won't start one of the nation's best cover corners, they'll likely be forced to replace him with untested redshirt freshman Devan Spann. (The Sun Devils now have only two scholarship corners available this spring.) Simpson, meanwhile, was easily ASU's biggest deep threat a year ago, the only Sun Devil wideout with more than three receptions to average better than 13.5 yards a reception.
Thanks to USC's postseason ban, the Sun Devils have been the tentative offseason favorite to claim the inaugural Pac-12 South divisional title. But with every further blow in what's been a tumultuous offseason -- be it the concussion-forced departure of Steven Threet, an uninspiring recruiting class, players arrested or shot -- ASU's favorite role has been more and more tentative, and now the loss of Bolden and Simpson is the biggest blow of all.
Meaning that unless Brock Osweiler and Vontaze Burfict live up to every inch of their hype and then some, it may finally be time for the prognosticators to look elsewhere.