August 4, 2007
Depth impressive at several key position groups
Arizona State was back in action for Day Two of Fall Camp. The overall energy remained high, and several position groups are looking extremely stocked with talent, most noticeably running back, which, seemingly goes at least five deep now. Here is a look at the sights and sounds of the workout. There was a lot of solid play from the defensive line on Friday, most notably perhaps Luis Vasquez who has had high energy and a playful spirit through the first couple fall practices. Vasquez was beating just about anyone put in front of him throughout the workout. Dexter Davis also showed well with his parents in attendance and he spent some time with them in between the two practice fields toward the end of the workout. Davis' parents were beaming with pride. Eric Tanner continues to be much improved from the spring. At tackle, Michael Marquardt and David Smith were very active up front, and they're in the best physical condition we've ever seen. Jonathan English beat his man on back-to-back plays versus the third/fourth team offensive line.
We continue to be impressed with the play of the wide receivers, as well as the technical approach to teaching the position by first-year coach Eric Yarber. He had the players working on route running with the aid of cones and was very precise in the body angle and balance of the receivers going into and coming out of their breaks. The athleticism at the position is certainly there, of that there is no doubt. The two freshmen, Kerry Taylor and T.J. Simpson are both in great shape and looking quite athletic. Taylor is technically very sound for a freshmen. Rodney Glass is not practicing with the team due to an undisclosed academic issue that has not been resolved.
Quarterback Rudy Carpenter was loose and throwing the ball very accurately, even on deep downfield passes. Samson Szakacsy was also very accurate on his short to intermediate throws and though he has a bit of a unique release it's high and quick coming out. The quarterbacks seem to be more in sync with the receivers already than through much of last season and even into the spring.
An already deep running back position group has now become significantly deeper due to the health and strong early camp performances of Shaun Dewitty and Jarrell Woods. Dewitty said he's been pain free for months and he worked hard on strengthening his core muscles to avoid a recurrence of the back spasms that kept him out much of the last year. He is running extremely well, and weighing 222 pounds while still looking very lean. Woods oozes with athleticism and he's very well put together. He appears to be a north-south runner who can hit the hole fast with good burst. Keegan Herring was playful as usual, taking a bow for us on the sidelines after a nice play early in the workout. Later, however, he appeared to be held out of the action.
The overall cornerback play was really solid on Friday. Chris Baloney had one obvious hold that elicited a laugh from teammates and media on the sideline in 11-on-11s late in the session but there were numerous broken up passes, several interceptions and near interceptions. Jeremy Payton should have had a pick that would have been an easy touchdown the other way but he didn't stay focused on the ball. Baloney and Justin Tryon have been most impressive but there really has been consistently good play from most of those behind them on the depth chart.
Team speed continues to be noticeably improved from last season, especially when factoring in the newcomers. At the skill positions, they all seem to have one commonality and that is speed. Even the safeties and linebackers are very good athletes. Oliver Aaron was working with the linebackers on Friday, and he is similar to Ryan McFoy physically.
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