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August 8, 2011

Erickson: Report on Burfict fight overblown

Arizona State coach Dennis Erickson said last week's locker room scrap between junior linebacker Vontaze Burfict and sophomore walk-on receiver Kevin Ozier "wasn't that big of a thing."

The incident occurred after the players were involved in an altercation in practice, with popular Los Angeles-area based blog SportsbyBrooks reporting Burfict sucker punched Ozier, knocking him to the ground and rendering him unresponsive.

"I've been in 38-40 camps in my coaching career," Erickson said. "Things like that happen on the field, tempers, and sometimes unfortunately they carry off the field, not very often but that happens. That's not anything unusual. Because it was Vontaze obviously it was reported the way it was reported."

Multiple ASU program sources said Ozier and Burfict each threw one punch, neither of which landed, and the fight was quickly broken up. Many details of the SportsbyBrooks report have been labeled as inaccurate by the sources.

Neither player has commented about the incident.

Crash test dummy

Sophomore defensive tackle William Sutton broke a tackling sled in Monday's morning session, the first outdoor practice of ASU's camp. Sutton contacted a portion of the sled during a drill and it detached from its housing, the first time something like that has been observed at the school in years.

After the feat, which was unseen by a majority of the team, Sutton screamed in the direction of the offense, shouting, "Let's go" as his defensive line mates applauded. Most of his teammates had no idea what happened.

Breaking in the whites

ASU wore its white helmets on the practice field for the first time. Most had no logos, but a few players -- sophomore cornerback Alden Darby and freshman quarterback Michael Eubank in particular -- had them looking as they will in games with proper logo placement.

Then there was senior receiver Mike Willie, who had three of them on his helmet and still found room for his black "X" which, he told ASUDevils.com previously, stands for "X Factor."

According to one source, the players wearing decals on their helmets took them from their playbook material.

Fading away

Cornerbacks coach Greg Burns had his players spend a portion of their individual instruction period practice covering fade routes.

"We've got to get better at not giving up fade routes," Burns told his players.

During the reps, which had corners pinning to the hip of other corners acting as receivers, Burns repeatedly said "control" to the defender in an effort to get them to maintain their in route poise.

Notes

  • Director of Football Operations John Wrenn will have the football field at Chandler Hamilton High School named in his honor in an unveiling ceremony on Sept. 2. Wrenn coached Hamilton for eight seasons, winning two state titles. He had a 91-11 record at the school and was named Coach of the Year three times in Arizona.

  • With sophomore Evan Finkenberg nursing a hamstring strain, senior Dan Knapp shifted to left tackle and senior Aderious Simmons worked at right tackle.

  • ASU used some nickel looks in practice, with sophomore jack-of-all-trades Alden Darby playing the role with the first-group.


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