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Football makes final preparations for NAU

LONG RANGE: Senior kicker Thomas Weber drills a kick during last week's game against Portland State. Weber practiced "may day" field goals in Thursday's practice in preparation for Northern Arizona. (Photo by Aaron Lavinsky)
LONG RANGE: Senior kicker Thomas Weber drills a kick during last week's game against Portland State. Weber practiced "may day" field goals in Thursday's practice in preparation for Northern Arizona. (Photo by Aaron Lavinsky)

It was a lovely day in Tempe Thursday and the ASU football team took full advantage of the unusually tepid 95-degree weather.

The Sun Devils practiced outside the Verde Dickey Dome in the afternoon for the first time since the team gathered for fall camp last month.

“We’re used to the heat; inside it’s a luxury,” junior defensive end James Brooks said. “We come out and know what it’s like already; we’ve been through it before we had the bubble. It’s just practice; it’s always a grind.”

To put a cap on the week’s preparations, ASU finished with a scenario drill to test the field goal kicking unit’s response time.

Often referred to as a “may day” field goal, the drill tries to emulate a situation in which the offense cannot stop the clock and the field goal unit must rush into position.

On this particular occasion, redshirt senior kicker Thomas Weber drilled a 40-yard attempt to end practice.

Final scouting report on NAU

The Lumberjack offense is much improved from years past and features talent at all the necessary skill positions.

“[I’m expecting] a lot of screens; they are going to play hard,” junior linebacker Brandon Magee said. “They have a good quarterback, they have a good running back, pretty good o-line and good receivers. So we’re just looking for them [to try] to spread out the linebackers as much as they can and we got to run to the ball.

“We plan on shutting them out though, that’s our goal every week,” Magee said. “We respect everybody but fear nobody.”

Brooks, a graduate of Flagstaff High School and the sole Sun Devil from the area, also points to NAU redshirt senior quarterback Michael Herrick as a key to the game Saturday.

“Their quarterback looks real good on film,” Brooks said. “He looks like he has a quick release. They have a good, fast-paced offense so we have to come out and respect them.”

ASU coach Dennis Erickson, a former Idaho and Wyoming coach, knows what it’s like as a small school heading into a big conference environment.

“This is a good football team we are playing in Northern Arizona,” Erickson said. “They’ve got a chip on their shoulder and that’s how it should be. I’ve been on the other side of these games before and they’ve got some dang good athletes and a lot of guys from this area. They’re going to come play their rear ends off and we better be ready to play.”

Injury Report

Erickson said after practice both junior tight end Trevor Kohl and sophomore defensive tackle Toa Tuitea will not play Saturday versus NAU.

Freshman defensive end Junior Onyeali returned Thursday after leaving practice early Wednesday after a scrap with redshirt junior tackle Dan Knapp.

Junior wide receiver Gerell Robinson will play Saturday after missing last week with a hamstring injury.

“He’s a great receiver,” redshirt junior quarterback Steven Threet said. “We’re happy that he’s getting better and has a chance to get back on the field for us.”

Reach the reporter at tyler.emerick@asu.edu


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