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Spring practice begins at warp speed

(Photo by Scott Stuk)
(Photo by Scott Stuk)

From the very beginning of the ASU football team’s first spring practice, one thing was made very clear.

2010 is going to be a heck of a lot faster than 2009.

The offense practiced at a breakneck pace, with snaps coming at a dizzying rate and the players having to race back to the line of scrimmage the second a play was over. Not a soul dared to stand around and watch. Everyone — wide receivers, running backs, tight ends, even the linemen — was racing up and down the field during and between plays.

“That’s a fast-paced practice,” ASU coach Dennis Erickson said. “Offensively, that’s what we’re going to do, and that’s how it’s going to be every day. That’s the style we want to have, and for the first day, I thought it went pretty well. A lot of things were new, and [with] the pace of everything, guys will get in shape.”

New offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone has made speed a priority in his offense, and the quickening of the pace seems to be the first step in putting the Sun Devils into overdrive.

Sophomore quarterback Brock Osweiler noted the speed increase.

“It’s going to take a little bit of time [to adjust to the difference], but at the same time, it’s where we need to be,” Osweiler said. “It’s the offense I feel we need to run with the players that we have. In time, we’ll run the speed that we had today, except we’ll complete more balls, we’ll be more accurate, and the run game will be a little cleaner. But the speed is about where it needs to be, and now we just have to clean things up a little bit.” Coin-toss quarterbacks

Junior Steven Threet, a transfer from Michigan who will make his ASU debut in 2010, took all of the first-team snaps on Tuesday, but don’t take that to mean he has been named the starting quarterback in his competition with Osweiler.

It was decided that Threet would lead the first team on a coin toss.

“We flipped a coin to this afternoon to see who was going to be with the [first team], and then we’ll switch it tomorrow,” Erickson said. “That’s just kind of how we’re dong it until someone emerges.”

Threet showcased a strong and accurate arm Tuesday, but he also threw a couple of interceptions. Osweiler missed on more throws but had fewer interceptions.

The Bell tolls

Junior wide receiver George Bell, a junior college transfer from Southwestern Community College in San Diego, made a big impression in his first formal practice as a Sun Devil, showcasing blazing speed and blowing by defenders regularly.

“George can really make a difference,” Erickson said. “He’s got great speed, and he’s got a lot to learn like any junior college player. He has a lot of physical talent to really help us.”

Bell said he is just extremely excited to be at ASU.

“It feels so good [to be at ASU] because I’ve been in junior college for two years, and [in junior college] you’re down there struggling, you’re buying books, you’re buying cleats … so when I get here I appreciate it more,” Bell said. “I’m really happy to be here. I love the coaching staff, I love all the players [and] I love the weather.”

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