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Football team anxious to get season started

Redshirt sophomore wide receiver A.J. Pickens waits for a call from quarterbacks freshman Taylor Kelly and sophomore Brock Osweiler. (Photo by Scott Stuk)
Redshirt sophomore wide receiver A.J. Pickens waits for a call from quarterbacks freshman Taylor Kelly and sophomore Brock Osweiler. (Photo by Scott Stuk)

The ASU football team can see the finish line.

That greenish haze off in the distance is becoming clearer: it’s a Viking.

With just eight days left until Portland State rolls into Tempe, the feel inside the Verde Dickey Dome is an anxious one.

“We’re getting better all the time,” ASU coach Dennis Erickson said. “[But] we won’t know until we play next Saturday. We’re to a point, [and] I say this every year, you can [only] go so far until you play a football game.”

Standing in the way of ASU’s first live action, is the squad’s final preseason tuneup Friday under the lights of Sun Devil Stadium.

“[It will be] all situational, no tackling, [just] down and distance,” Erickson said. “The thing I’m happy about is [Friday], we don’t have to hit each other any longer, it’s getting old.”

The coach’s sentiment was shared among his players.

“We want to be physical, but at the same time they are our teammates; we need them,” junior cornerback Omar Bolden said. “We’ve already proven we are physical and we hit, so we don’t have to go out there everyday and prove it to our offense, we have to keep them healthy so we can have a great season.”

Quarterback Depth

Despite the fact that Erickson is waiting until the Monday before the season opener to name a starter, the coach remains confident in the position as a whole.

“[This group] might be as good as I’ve ever had,” Erickson said.  “We have three older guys that can play. I’d be confident in putting any of those kids in … this is a choice of good players, it’s not like we’re just choosing someone to play.”

The coach pointed to the unforgiving nature of the newly installed no-huddle offense as a possible reason for why the quarterbacks got off to a slow start in camp.

“It takes a while to get use to that tempo,” Erickson said. “Sometimes they get up to the line of scrimmage and get in a hurry and the front is really not ready to make the calls, there’s so many little things involved that people don’t realize.”

Threet speaks

Ask any set of eyes that attends practice on a regular basis and they will tell you the same thing: Steven Threet is gaining more and more poise with each snap.

“I definitely feel more confident now than I did in the beginning of camp,” the redshirt junior quarterback said. “Just trusting my reads, [and] letting the offense come to me instead of trying to always make plays and force the ball around.”

Even with all the media scrutiny and speculation surrounding the quarterback competition, Threet remains firm that it doesn’t bother him.

“I try not to focus on it really at all. Obviously we have enough competition with the defense just trying to go up against them,” Threet said. “It’s just about coming out and trying to correct the mistakes you’ve made before and not make any new ones.”

Sweet Lew

Freshman running back Deantre Lewis continues to awe his coaches.

“He gives you the home run, he’s that kind of a back,” Erickson said. “He’s got great speed, great strength. He’s one of the better freshman backs I’ve been around in my coaching career.”

For the tailback to transition into a more regular role, Lewis will, however, have to improve the other facets of his game.

“[With] those freshmen they’ve been hear a month, pass protection is probably the biggest thing,” Erickson said. “It’s a lot more complicated in college than high school. Physically he pass protects pretty good, it’s just a matter of assignments.”

Injury Report

Redshirt junior offensive tackle Dan Knapp sat out practice sick Thursday … Sophomore defensive tackle Corey Adams will likely be out two weeks with a knee injury. Erickson said Adams will have the knee examined Friday for what looks like a torn meniscus.

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