ASU coach Herm Edwards talks about OL Steve Miller and Michigan State QB Brian Lewerke
Jeff Metcalfe, azcentral sports
Arizona State’s offensive line could have a new starter Saturday against No. 13 Michigan State.
Junior right guard Steve Miller was not at practice again Wednesday, his second straight miss, for what coach Herm Edwards described as a “personal matter. We’ll see where it goes.”
Junior Cade Cote, 6-3, 299 pounds, practiced with the first team ahead of junior Roy Hemsley, 6-6, 335, and appears to be the starting choice if Miller is not available.
“Right now we’re anticipating we’re going to play football with the guys that are available,” Edwards said. “Hemsley is there, Zach Robertson could be there, Steve could be there.
“That’s what makes it so unique for us. We did some things in the offseason with the offensive line that allows us to rotate guys in and out. We anticipate Saturday night comes, we’ll be full go. That’s where we’re at.”
Mark Faller and Kent Somers welcome Michigan State football team to relax poolside before facing ASU.
Diana Payan, The Republic | azcentral.com
Miller, 6-4, 310, missed time during preseason camp due to a concussion. He started every game in 2017 at left guard and made three starts as a redshirt freshman in 2016.
Hemsley is a transfer from USC in his first season at ASU. Robertson, 6-6, 301, is a junior who started four games at tackle in 2017 but has not been fully healthy during preseason camp. Cote has played sparingly and until recently was the backup center.
Last week, ASU’s offensive line save up no sacks in a 49-7 win over Teas-San Antonio and the Sun Devils rushed for 266 yards.
Center Cohl Cabral said the O-line needs more work on “technique stuff, hat placement, hand placement, steps, just being in the right spot at the right time.
Cabral, 6-5, 285, was a full-time starter at left tackle as a sophomore but moved to center with the addition of Stanford transfer Casey Tucker, now at left tackle.
“(UTSA) came out in what we were expecting, but there’s still different stuff they showed us,” Cabral said. “We had to adjust.”
On Michigan State, Cabral said, “It’s going to be a physical game. I don’t expect us to open up holes you can push a truck through, but we’re going to get the job done, let those backs go do their job and let them trust us where they can just go hit the hole and have fun.”
3 to make 1 Tillman
Defensive coordinator Danny Gonzales expects Evan Fields to be available Saturday, coming back from a hamstring injury.
Fields missed the opener and Jalen Harvey was ejected for targeting in the second quarter, leaving only senior Dasmond Tautalatasi available at the hybrid Tillman safety position.
“All three bring something different,” Gonzales said Wednesday. “Between the three of them, we can make a complete Tillman.”
Harvey, a senior in his first game on defense after playing previously at wide receiver, was penalized for a hit on UTSA quarterback Cordale Grundy. Targeting is called for hitting a defenseless opponent above the shoulders or using the crown of the helmet.
“Quarterbacks, you can’t touch them,” Gonzales said. “We should probably put a vest on them that lights up when you get close to them so you don’t hit them. That’s kind of where we’re headed.
“When you see a quarterback give himself up and go foot first, you’ve got to be smart and dive over them and avoid them. If that’s a running back, I think you take that shot. If those guys are even moving the slightest bit, I want our guys to hit them. If we get 3-4-5 guys to hit them by the end of the game, they get tired of it and the ball ends up on the ground and we’re going to be around it if we play hard and recover it.
“(Harvey) was a little frustrated because I talk to them about getting to the pile and getting a piece of the running back. But it’s a quarterback. We talked about it. Communicating with this generation, you can tell them, sometimes they listen, sometimes they don’t.”
On the return of linebacker Jay Jay Wilson from suspension, Gonzales said, “He did everything we asked him to do while he was gone. If he plays hard, I think he adds something. Jay Jay’s worked his tail off the last two days in practice. He gives us another good football player to run in and out of there like musical chairs. I’m glad he’s back.”
Senior safety Joey Bryant is out for the season after recently re-injuring his knee for a second straight year. He started the first three games in 2017 at cornerback before being hurt early enough to redshirt. He first competed in jumps for the ASU track team after transferring from Mt. San Antonio College.
ASU played 20 newcomers (freshmen, transfers) against UTSA including six true freshmen (linebackers Merlin Robertson, Darien Butler and Stanley Lambert, running back A.J. Carter, safeties Aashari Crosswell and Ely Doyle). Freshmen now can play in up to four games and still redshirt, retaining four years of eligibility.
The ESPN broadcast crew for the Michigan State game includes Tom Luginbill, whose father Al is ASU’s director of player personnel, and Greg McElroy, whose father Greg Sr. previously worked in ASU athletic administration.