Two weeks out from its Aug. 29 season opener, Arizona State football practiced Thursday night at Kajikawa practice fields.
“We’re in the mode now of really trying to become a better team in situation football. A lot of it has to do with our quarterbacks. How we move the chains on third down are critical. We’re not running out of days, but days are lessened by our first game. The guys understand here shortly we’re going to be playing football.” — ASU coach Herm Edwards
Starting temperature: 110.
Ending temperature: 96.
Media viewing: Entire practice.
Jones earns second chance
Saying ASU is “in the development business,” Edwards explained why he and others — all the way up to school President Michael Crow — approved adding former USC cornerback Jack Jones as a transfer on Thursday.
He was arrested in June 2018 and pled guilty in October to a second-degree misdemeanor charge of burglary after breaking into a Panda Express in California.
Felony charges against him were dropped at the time of his plea. As part of the agreement, he spent 45 days on house arrest and is on three years of informal probation.
Jones was a five-star recruit out of Long Beach Poly High School, where he was coached by Antonio Pierce, now ASU linebackers coach and recruiting coordinator. Six other Long Beach Poly players are current Sun Devils.
“There was a vetting process,” Edwards said. “We felt knowing his background and taking a hard look at this, that this was a place where we felt he would be given an opportunity. Everybody is not given a second chance. In this case, we felt he deserved a second chance.”
ASU football coach on vetting process before addition of former USC cornerback Jack Jones
Jeff Metcalfe, azcentral sports
“He had to do a lot of work before he could even be a part of this and get here. To his credit, he did what was required. There were consequences for his actions, and he paid for those consequences somewhat. Now he understands what’s expected. If that is not the case and he should falter then he won’t be a part of the program, and he knows that.”
Jones comes to ASU from Moorpark College, where he improved his academics to be eligible for a return to a university. He can play immediately with two years of eligibility and was at practice Thursday but has a lot of catching up to do.
Jones is coming back from an ankle injury, not yet in shape and must learn ASU’s 3-3-5 system. He was shadowing starting cornerback Kobe Williams, also out of Long Beach Poly, on his first day.
“We’ve got to get him in shape and figure out what we’re going to ask him to do,” Edwards said. “It’s still a long road, but we’re glad he’s part of the program. He adds a different dimension and brings a skill set you try to recruit,” including a punt returner.
Edwards said Crow and ASU Vice President for Athletics Ray Anderson signed off on the addition of Jones, partly because of the influence they believe Pierce will have on him.
“He’s in a place where the surrounding is familiar to him,” Edwards said. “It had to go to parties way above my head to make sure this was going to be OK. We have a support staff here where all parties felt this could be a place where this young man could get his career and his life back in order and also be a part of the community.”
Jones will in time be allowed to speak to the media, Edwards said, but must earn that right. It’s a stretch to think that Jones would be ready to play in non-conference games but perhaps he could be ready for Pac-12 play.
Senior offensive lineman Zach Robertson posted a social media message Thursday night suggesting he might return to ASU from personal issues that have kept him out of preseason camp.
Robertson, 6-6, 336, started in 2018 at left tackle. In his absence, Cohl Cabral has moved to tackle from center with Cade Cote now at center. On Thursday, redshirt freshman Jarrett Bell worked with the first team at right guard with Roy Hemsley back on second team.
If Robertson returns, the line eventually might revert to him at left tackle, Alex Losoya at left guard, Cabral at center, Cote at right guard and Steve Miller at right tackle.
— Defensive lineman T.J. Pesefea and defensive back Alijah Gammage had interceptions late in practice during a team period.
— Wide receiver Ethan Long continued to make his daily impression at his new position, catching a touchdown pass vs. defensive back Timarcus Davis.
— Linebacker Kyle Soelle was out for a third day with illness.
— ASU has added Venezia’s Pizzeria as a partner with pepperoni and cheese slices to be sold at Sun Devil Stadium, Wells Fargo Arena, Phoenix Municipal Stadium and Farring Stadium.
The Sun Devils are scheduled to practice from 7-9 p.m. Friday at Kajikawa practice fields, their final night practice other than a walk through Aug. 21 at Sun Devil Stadium. They are off Saturday then practice shifts to the morning starting Sunday. Practice is open to the public.
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