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Football tunes up in final scrimmage

JUST PRACTICE: ASU sophomore receiver Kevin Ozier makes a leaping grab during the scrimmage on Saturday. (Photo by Lisa Bartoli)
JUST PRACTICE: ASU sophomore receiver Kevin Ozier makes a leaping grab during the scrimmage on Saturday. (Photo by Lisa Bartoli)

Like in any intrasquad competition, one unit’s success is another’s failure.

On Saturday, during the ASU football team’s final scrimmage before the 2011 season kicks off, coach Dennis Erickson saw a good combination of both.

“There was some good and some bad things we did out there,” he said. “I thought the offense moved the ball well; we converted on a couple long third downs. And defensively, they flew around a lot.”

Junior starting quarterback Brock Osweiler finished his day 10-for-15 for 137 yards with a 14-yard touchdown pass to senior wide receiver George Bell.

His longest pass was a deep sideline route to senior wide out Mike Willie for 42 yards. He also completed a 39-yard seam pass to sophomore receiver Kevin Ozier on a third down and 19.

“We’re right where we need to be right now,” Osweiler said. “Because of the supporting cast around me, I feel comfortable and I’m ready to get started. I just have to play within myself and we’ll be okay.”

From a defensive perspective, sophomore defensive tackle Will Sutton had the biggest day.

He consistently disrupted the pocket while recording a sack and a pass deflection.

The kicking game struggled Saturday, with redshirt freshman Alex Garoutte connecting on just two of his five attempts.

He has first attempt of 22 yards blocked by junior linebacker Vontaze Burfict, while the snap and hold on his 52-yard attempt was botched.

“I’m sick and tired of seeing field goals blocked,” Erickson said. “How many games are we going to have to lose before we figure that out? That’s disappointing.”


Backup QB battle

With Erickson’s decision expected to come early this week, Saturday’s scrimmage provided one last chance for freshman Michael Bercovici and redshirt freshman Taylor Kelly to showcase their skills against live action.

Bercovici was the second quarterback to take snaps and was on the field for a longer period of time than Kelly. He finished his day 5-for-10 for 64 yards.

His longest completion came from a 24-yard screen pass to redshirt freshman running back Marcus Washington.

Kelly only threw three passes but completed all of them for 71 yards and a touchdown.

His best highlight came on a 45-yard pitch and catch to redshirt freshman wide receiver Kevin Anderson.

“(The competition) is still an ongoing thing,” Erickson said. “We’re going to have to look at the tape. They both did pretty well.”


No injuries

For a team with so many significant injuries, getting out of Saturday without suffering another blow was important.

But the Sun Devils weren’t playing to avoid injury either.

“When someone starts to slow down because they think they’re going to get injured, that’s when people get hurt,” redshirt senior offensive lineman Garth Gerhart said. “It was a big thing for us coming into the scrimmage but you can’t play like that.”


Unranked by AP

The Associated Press Top-25 poll came out Saturday morning and ASU barely missed out on the rankings.

The Sun Devils are third among teams not in the poll to receive votes, basically ranking them No. 28.

“It doesn’t bother me at all,” Osweiler said. “I don’t care where people think we’re at. Our actions on the field will speak for themselves.”


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