Arizona State held its third preseason practice Monday night at the Kajikawa practice fields. The Sun Devils are practicing at night for the first two weeks.
Once school starts later this month, they will practice in the morning.
“It was a lot better than last night (Saturday). We actually put the pads on. You’re always concerned when you put pads on, do they understand the tempo? And pretty much they did. I like the way they’re starting to figure things out how things need to be done. There’s still a lot of things we’ve got to cover, but the effort is there, the mindset’s there.” – coach Herm Edwards
Starting temperature: 110.
Ending temperature: 104.
Media viewing: Entire practice.
After Monday’s practice, ASU football coach Herm Edwards said he is easy to play for provided players keep their poise and stay in emotional control.
Jeff Metcalfe, azcentral sports
Newcomers matching billing
Edwards repeatedly said during the spring that ASU’s 22 incoming players would make an impact this season even given the late start on recruiting for a new coaching staff.
After only three days of preseason camp, his prediction seems to be coming true.
Players like running back Isaiah Floyd, wide receivers Brandon Aiyuk and Geordon Porter, offensive lineman Jarrett Bell, linebackers Merlin Robertson and Stanley Lambert and safety Aashari Crosswell are showing up at least on the second team and in Robertson’s case on the first. Transfer offensive lineman Casey Tucker already appears to have a lock on left tackle with transfer Roy Hemsley backing up at left guard for now.
“There’s a couple of young ones, him (Robertson) and No. 17 (Lambert),” Edwards said. “He’s kind of interesting that guy. Aashari as well. It wouldn’t surprise me if some freshmen play.
“It’s just competition. I’ve always told them that. Your eyes don’t lie when you watch practice. Some of these young guys are behind, but you watch them in a football environment and their instincts take over and that’s something you can’t teach. They have athleticism. All those three guys can run. I’ve got a feeling they’re going to play. Maybe I’ll chicken out, but knowing me I won’t because I’m not afraid to play young guys.”
– Right guard Steve Miller was out for personal reasons. Zach Robertson, who had been backing up at right tackle, replaced Miller on the first team.
“I like our line,” Edwards said. “Joe Connolly has done a great job in the weight room of giving these guys a lot of confidence. We’re a lot bigger and stronger. Just look at the body types when we got here in the spring compared to now, it’s like night and day. We’ve got some depth there not. We’ve got about six or seven guys now we feel pretty good about.”
That group includes Tucker, Alex Losoya, Cole Cabral, Miller, Quinn Bailey, Robertson, Hemsley and Tyson Rising.
– Starting quarterback Manny Wilkins was active in a leadership role, instructing Aiyuk during 7-on-8 play, telling freshman running Brock Sturges to run hard to the end zone instead of pulling up on a play and even demanding that an official call a penalty. “Don’t be scared to throw that (flag),” Wilkins yelled from the sideline.
– Like on Saturday when he was unhappy over some skirmishes during practice, Edwards sent a few message to his team Monday.
“You don’t play football with your jersey pulled up,” he said early on when heat was at its peak during the 2 1/2-hour practice. “They’re not going to let you play like that. That’s nonsense.”
Afterward, Edwards said, “I’m a pretty easy guy to play for, but I think they’re going to start learning when you get a little out of kilter, you’re not going to participate in practice. Just go inside. We’re not going to lose (a) game because we’re not emotionally in control of ourselves. You can’t let things bother you. The teams that keeps the poise in stressful situations are the ones that win. We have to built that with a lot of these guys.”
– Wide receiver Ryan Jenkins, expected to be a contributor after spring, is not doing much so far in camp because of what he said is a lower body injury.
“I should be back out here soon,” he said. “It’s been a combination of things. It’s a little frustrating, but I know God has a plan and there’s a reason why all this is happening. I may not know right now, but I know when I come back it’ll be at the right time. I’ve just got to focus on learning the playbook the best I can so I can play any position and work on my conditioning the best I can.”
Offensive coordinator Rob Likens said during the spring that a healthy Jenkins was among ASU’s top three receivers.
Jenkins redshirted in 2013 at Tennessee then played in 13 games but had just one catch in 2014. He transferred in February 2015 and largely has been out of action since due to injuries.
“I know this time once I get healthy, I’m sure I’ll hit the ground running and have a successful season. I’m not worried. I’m progressing a lot, rehab is going well, I’m getting stronger and my injury is getting better.”
Jenkins believes this is the best receiving corps in his time at ASU. “We thought last year was good but with the addition of Brandon Aiyuk and Geordon Porter and those other guys, we’re really good. As a team, I just love the edge we have right now. It’s always better to say whoa than sic ’em, and right now everybody is real aggressive, real excited to be in pads. I think we’re headed in the right direction.”
ASU is back on the field from 7:20-9:30 p.m. Tuesday. The entire practice is open to the public unless the team is required to move into the Dickey Dome due to weather conditions. On Wednesday, the Sun Devils will may make a day trip to Camp Tontozona for team bonding with no fan viewing. They are not staying longer at Camp T because the new artificial field installation will not be completed until September.