The first college football game is next Thursday. ASU’s season opens the following week.
With both dates imminent, the Sun Devils introduced their scout team in gold jerseys Friday in their first practice of the regular season. The scout team is a mix of walk-ons and newcomers to prepare the first and second teams for their upcoming opponent by emulating their plays and tendencies. They also usually indicate which players will sit out or use their redshirt for the season in order to develop.
Notable players who were moved to the scout team were redshirt sophomore safety Ezekial Bishop, junior defensive lineman Demetrious Cherry, redshirt freshman linebacker Matthew Rowe, redshirt sophomore offensive lineman Christian Westerman and freshman defensive lineman Kisma Jagne.
There were many true freshmen, however, that weren’t moved down to the scout team, particularly on defense. Linebackers Alani Latu, Viliami Latu and Chans Cox as well as safeties Jayme Otomewo and James Johnson were not demoted.
Co-defensive coordinator and linebackers coach Paul Randolph said he believes those players will play key parts in the defense this season.
“We’re trying to get them ready,” Randolph said. “At some point this season, we’re going to need them. It may be game one, maybe game two or three.”
As for the players on the scout team, Randolph said he thought they gave the first and second teams a good look and wants them to stay ready. He thinks they’ll improve as they begin studying the team’s upcoming opponents.
“Twelve to 14 games on the schedule is a long season in football, so the guys always have to be working and prepared and getting prepared because you never know when your number is called, so you better be ready to be the next guy in,” he said.
- Senior wide receiver Kyle Middlebrooks, who has been practicing without the green no-contact jersey since Tuesday, took reps with the second-team offense at running back over redshirt junior Marcus Washington, redshirt junior R.J. Robinson and redshirt freshman Terrell Davis. All three players were not wearing gold jerseys but each had reps with the scout-team offense against the third-team defense.
- Senior tight end Darwin Rogers did not practice for the third straight time because of an undisclosed injury.
- Johnson had reps with the second-team offense at bandit safety, a position Bishop was practicing at before being moved to the scout team.
- The team went through several high-tempo drills the past two practices. Randolph said he was glad the team has two more weeks to prepare for its season opener against Sacramento State onSept. 5, but he added the team is close to being fully conditioned and in football shape.
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