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Osweiler, Robinson star in second scrimmage

CHARGING AHEAD: ASU sophomore running back James Morrison breaks through a tackle during a spring football practice earlier this month. (Photo by Michael Arellano)
CHARGING AHEAD: ASU sophomore running back James Morrison breaks through a tackle during a spring football practice earlier this month. (Photo by Michael Arellano)

Sophomore quarterback Brock Osweiler capped off a strong week of practice as the ASU offense continued to show progress under new offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone. The offense looks much improved from last year as the Sun Devils completed their second scrimmage of the spring on Saturday at Sun Devil Stadium.

Osweiler completed the scrimmage 14-of-26 on his passes for 170 yards and three touchdowns, strengthening his bid to be named ASU’s starting quarterback. His three touchdown passes were all long completions — a 35-yard strike to junior wide receiver Gerrell Robinson, a 31-yard toss to junior wide receiver George Bell on a slant and a 21-yard laser to senior wide receiver Kerry Taylor.

His lone interception of the day happened when Taylor let a pass slip through his hands and into the arms of junior cornerback Josh Jordan.

All in all, it was a good day for Osweiler.

Junior quarterback Steven Threet also had a solid day, going 13-of-24 for 145 yards and a touchdown, a 26-yard pass to Robinson.

“Offensively, we made a lot of plays in the passing game, and that what this thing is all about,” ASU coach Dennis Erickson said. “We made some catches, some big plays, and I thought both our quarterbacks played well at times.”

The wide receivers also continued their impressive showing in spring football. Robinson was the star of the day, finishing with five catches for 94 yards and two touchdowns. The former Hamilton High School quarterback simply beat the defense on both of his touchdown catches, as evidenced by his impressive separation on both plays.

“We all forget that he wasn’t a receiver in high school,” Erickson said of Robinson. “What happens sometimes when you’re a highly recruited guy like him in your hometown, the expectations are so high. But he was young and he’s learning and he’s getting better. His work ethic is really good. It’s good to see him make some plays.”

Robinson believes that it is his time to become one of the Sun Devils’ go-to targets.

“I’ve taken my knocks in the last few years and I’ve learned how to become a better receiver,” Robinson said. “It’s my time to step for my team and we’ll take it to the top.”

Bell, the highly-touted junior college transfer had six catches for 77 yards and a touchdown. His touchdown was arguably the most impressive of the day, as he took a mid-range slant across the middle and then simply outran the entire defense for the final 20 yards to pay dirt, a pattern he has shown more than once in practice.

Taylor added five catches for 55 yards and a touchdown and junior wide receiver Aaron Pflugrad showcased his versatility with a 10-yard sweep play and lots of misdirection.

“We took three steps forward and it kind of caught [the defense] off guard,” Robinson said. “We’re starting to execute our plays and we’re starting to run and we’re having more progress..”

Quick hits

Senior defensive tackle Saia Falahola (ankle) and junior offensive lineman Adam Tello (knee) both sustained injuries during the scrimmage. Erickson said neither injury is serious.

Senior kicker Thomas Weber, trying to return to his Lou Groza Award-winning form after struggling last year, was 3-of-4 on field goals for the day. He made two 42-yard kicks and a 38-yard try but missed wide left on a 45-yard attempt.

Erickson said that redshirt freshman offensive lineman Evan Finkenberg is competing with sophomore Patrick Jamison for the starting right tackle spot.

Reach the reporter at kyle.glaser@asu.edu


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