Marcus Ball moves to Spur for ASU football

Redshirt freshmen Marcus Ball and Jayme Otomewo finish off a handshake before a game against UCLA Saturday, Nov. 23. The Sun Devils defeated the Bruins 38-35. (Photo by Dominic Valente)

Redshirt freshmen Marcus Ball and Jayme Otomewo finish off a handshake before a game against UCLA Saturday, Nov. 23, 2013. The Sun Devils defeated the Bruins 38-35. (Photo by Dominic Valente)

Marcus Ball has barely even seen the field during his one-plus years at ASU. Coach Todd Graham has said he’s still “two-to-three weeks” away from potentially starting because of how behind he is after missing so much time due to injury. Now, he’s working at a new position: Spur.

During defensive walkthroughs, Ball was shadowing current Spur, redshirt sophomore Laiu Moeakiola, and he at least looked the part. Linebackers coach and defensive coordinator Keith Patterson thought so, too.

“I think it’s probably his natural position,” Patterson said. “He’s big and strong and athletic and explosive, so I think he’ll fit in real well and do some really good things for us.”

Ball fits the prototype at the Spur position. He’s listed at 6-foot-2, 215 pounds. Chris Young, the Spur in 2012, and Anthony Jones, the Spur in 2013, were 6-foot-0, 240 pounds and 6-foot-1, 215 pounds, respectively.

Plus, moving Ball up to the hybrid position rather than a straight safety gives him a chance to do what he likes to do best: hit people.

“I’m a nasty guy,” Ball said. “I like to be up there hitting guys, getting behind the line of scrimmage. I even like to blitz a couple times.”

The perfect Spur has to be “nasty,” but also posses the cover skills of a safety or cornerback. Patterson described it as 60 percent safety and 40 percent linebacker.

Ball believes that, while he does have the build of a Spur, it’s more about the mindset and skillset that he has, which he thinks fit at both safety and linebacker.

“I don’t necessarily see my body being the motive,” Ball said. “But as far as mentally and my strengths of how I like to play, that there is a deciding factor, where you could see a guy like me playing Spur.”

Ball was just informed of the switch on Monday, and it’s unknown whether it will be permanent or just for the upcoming New Mexico game. It comes at an opportune time, as New Mexico runs a triple-option offense, making the added speed on the field more valuable. Ball likes the idea of having essentially three safeties on the field to match up against the run attack that the Lobos bring to the field.

If it does become permanent, Ball is comfortable with who’ll be mentoring him. In just a day of practicing at the position, Moeakiola has already taken Ball under his wing and began to teach him.

“(Moeakiola) isn’t one of those real vocal, vocal guys,” Ball said. “A lot of people get that misconstrued, if you will. A lot of people think it’s the leaders who are always vocal, but he leads by example. The guy comes to practice 10 minutes early … ready … to work.”

Additional notes:

— In other changes to the depth chart, redshirt sophomore cornerback Solomon Means wasn’t occupying the No. 2 cornerback slot for the first time. On Tuesday, it was junior Kweishi Brown, who had previously been working at Nickel. Means was shadowing redshirt junior Lloyd Carrington at the first cornerback position.

— Todd Graham loves his camouflage, and Tuesday, he was sporting a brand new ASU camouflage baseball hat, which, he said took four weeks to get here. He started off his post-practice press conference by noting how excited he was to have it.

 

Reach the reporter at ewebeck@asu.edu or follow him on Twitter @EvanWebeck.

Correction: This story previously listed Chris Young as the Spur in both 2012 and 2013.