Arizona State football held its 16th preseason practice Thursday at Kajikawa practice fields.

The Sun Devils open coach Herm Edwards’ first season Sept. 1 against Texas San Antonio.

Leading off

“The intensity of practice is something we need  to pick up. It starts with (scout team) look. I told those guys it’s critical you give us a good look. The last couple of days, they’ve done a really nice job of that.” — ASU coach Herm Edwards

And the captains are … 

Quarterback Manny Wilkins, center Cohl Cabral and defensive lineman Renell Wrenn were voted Arizona State football captains on Thursday.

The other defensive captain pick, safety DeMonte King, is something of a surprise simply because he is only in his second year at ASU and played in just seven games last season coming out of junior college.

“I’m excited especially for a guy like DeMonte,” Wilkins said Thursday. “It’s kind of unexpected in terms of the guys outside of this program. But for his work to pay off and be named, that’s us voting for that. I went up to him after and congratulated him and told him let it push you and motivate you to work even harder.”

Before the vote, Edwards passed out a list of qualities to look for in a captain: team before self, positivity, mentally tough, good communicator, emotionally disciplined, self confident, insightful, courageous, loyal, winning matter.

“Being named a team captain is the start, not the end of the journey,” Edwards also wrote along with a list of challenges a captain can expect to face. An honorary captain also will be named for each game to join the season-long captains.

Edwards said King being among those chosen “didn’t catch me by surprise at all. He’s a very vocal guy. He provides inspiration. He’s always willing to correct and help a guy. They see that.

“That’s why I’ve always held a team voting. Not the coach, let the team vote. They know who they want to be represented by. Sometimes team captains are because you’re the most popular guy or you’re the star of the team. That’s not always that way. That’s why I gave them an outline of things they need to look for, and they did a good job of picking these guys.”


ASU football coach Herm Edwards on player voting for team captains
Jeff Metcalfe, azcentral sports

King is in contention to be a starter in five-man defensive backfield and for sure will be in the rotation. He said his captaincy is “the highest honor you can get because your teammates do the voting. They’re not bias in ability or coaches. It’s just your peers.”

King sees the qualities Edwards’ values in himself but did not vote for himself.

“I didn’t expect it, but it didn’t take me by surprise,” he said. “I didn’t do things because I want to be a captain. That’s just who I am as a person. It feels great because I started seeing the stuff I’m doing (in practice), I’m seeing my other teammates doing that too. If we’re all on the same page, we can’t be stopped.”

King vows not to let being a captain go to his head.

“They were making jokes around the locker room, but they know it’s not going to change me,” he said. “I am who I am. I got here for a reason, and I’ll continue to do what I’ve been doing and keep leading.”

Offensive line versatility

Guard Steve Miller was back at practice but wearing a no-contact green jersey. Offensive lineman Zach Robertson was out due to a left knee injury suffered Wednesday so Roy Hemsley was playing with the first team at right guard.

“That’s why we were excited about getting Roy,” a transfer from USC, Edwards said. “We’ve got some offensive linemen now we feel can move around a little bit, which helps us. We’ve got some guys with experience too. It’s good to have guys that have played in the Pac-12. It’s a comforting feeling when you have veteran guys and you have guys that can move around. That helps you if guys get nicked up.”

Extra points

On Friday’s mock game walk-through, Edwards said, “We’re going to go from locker room, outside, figure out where we do calisthenics, where we do our individual drills. Coaches will be in the box with the headphones. That’s important. The staff hasn’t been together. Sideline procedure is very important.”

Edwards said sophomore kicker Brandon Ruiz has improved during camp as he gains more confidence with long snapper Riley John and holder Josh Pokraka. “Those kickers are different. I just kind of leave them alone and pat them and say you’re doing good. At times, it’s almost like a golf swing. Don’t aim it, just kick it. That’s the only advice I can give him. I’ve been around some good ones, and they don’t try to aim it. Sometimes when he aims it, he’ll pushes it a little right. He’s done a pretty good job toward the end of getting himself ready.”

Running back Trelon Smith missed practice Thursday due to illness, Edwards said.

Edwards on his love of jazz, which play s in the early portion of practice before stretching: “I listen to Watercolors (on Sirius radio). That’s my station. My daughters go crazy when I get in the car, ‘No daddy, don’t turn it to 66.'”

Up next

ASU will hold a mock game walk through Friday night at Sun Devil Stadium that is closed to the public and media. It will be the team’s first time in the stadium due to renovations on the east side. On Saturday, ASU will practice from 5-6:40 p.m. at Kajikawa practice fields. Sunday and Monday are off days leading into game week.