For the second straight practice, redshirt freshman linebacker Salamo Fiso saw some reps with ASU’s first-team defense at Will linebacker during Wednesday morning’s practice.
Fiso’s appearance with the starters is a result of redshirt senior linebacker Anthony Jones being limited due to precautionary reasons.
Still, coach Todd Graham has been pleased with Fiso’s performance as of late and has been looking for ways to incorporate him in the rotation regardless of Jones’s health.
“Salamo’s done a good job,” Graham said. “He’s obviously gotten stronger and faster, and he’s done some good things as of late. “
Along with giving Fiso a chance, Graham is testing out Chris Young at Spur linebacker. Young originally started fall camp at first-team Will but Jones’s absence allowed the coaches to reconsider Young at Spur, which was what he played last season. As a result, Fiso moved to Young’s vacant spot at first-team Will over redshirt freshman Carlos Mendoza, who has been battling injuries.
Similar to the situation in the secondary, Graham is testing how he can play his three best linebackers at one time.
The only two starting linebacker spots that appear to be locked are at Sam (senior Steffon Martin) and at devilbacker (redshirt junior Carl Bradford), which is also considered as a defensive line position.
“We have a bunch of guys we think — Carlos Mendoza, Anthony Jones, Salamo, (redshirt senior) Grandville Taylor — those four guys are vying to be the third linebacker,” Graham said.
Graham expecting WRs C. Smith, Morris to fully practice soon
Graham has been optimistic about the Sun Devils’ receiving corps during fall camp, but he will be even more confident when two of his new wideouts become 100 percent healthy.
Freshman Cameron Smith (hamstring) and junior Joe Morris (foot) haven’t seen much action in fall camp due to injuries but Graham expects both to be taking off the green no-contact jersey soon.
“Joe could go right now,” Graham said. “We’re just being cautious with him so I look for him to be full-go within the next few days. Cam is the same way.”
Smith and Morris have been restricted to participating in catching and route-running drills, but receivers coach DelVaughn Alexander has found ways to help them stay active as they’re still transitioning onto the team.
“It’s mainly in the classroom and getting them focused in practice,” Alexander said. “While they practice, it’s important that they condition. There are times that we’re not in a group or team setting and outside of that, I got the guys either signaling or staying engaged with their eyes and in conversation.”
Morris came to ASU with redshirt sophomore wide receiver Jaelen Strong from Pierce College in California and was the No. 16 junior college prospect last season. Smith was a three-star recruit from Coppell High School in Texas and once ran the 40-yard dash in 4.4 seconds according to the athletics website.
Redshirt senior wide receiver Kevin Ozier has also been limited in practice due to nagging injuries. He hasn’t taken many first-team reps lately but Alexander expects the leader of the receiving corps to be fully practicing again soon.
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