ASU football's fifth day of practice filled with pads, traditions and expectations for a great defense

ASU football had its first practice with full gear and it has a lot more coming its way

On day five of Arizona State’s football practices, things started to get busy for the team on and off the field. 

On Wednesday, the team went to the historic Camp Kush despite the fact it could not have their annual camp there this year due to bad field conditions. 

“We tried to group sing the fight song and there were some guys that kind of messed it up", head coach Herm Edwards said. “I was leading. I was out front. I was good because I’ve been practicing.”

The team needed that kind of a lighthearted trip because practice the following day got very heavy for the players as it was the first time they were in full gear. 

“It’s the first day in pads and that kind of slowed us down a little bit," junior defensive back Darien Cornay said. “Once practice got going, we kind of picked up the pace.”

The tempo was slow, but the offensive line focused on complex footwork with dummies, while the defense did several tackling drills with the dummies including tackle drives. 

Fundamentals continue to be the focus for the offense, while the defense, especially the defensive backs, have been practicing more of a blend of skills. 

“It’s a mix every day,” Cornay said. “Coach Herm takes all the DBs and he works on a different technique for different positions every day so it’s just adding weapons to our arsenal.”

Edwards was a defensive back for ten seasons in the NFL, and as a coach, he can often be seen giving information that could only be from a veteran of the position to ASU’s defensive backs. 

“With Herm being here and always pulling me aside and teaching me, giving me tips and pointers and stuff like that, it shows he really cares.” sophomore defensive back Chase Lucas said.  

Lucas played as a cornerback last season and has continued to do so in all fall practices. 

“It transitions every day ... matter of fact, every snap," Lucas said. “When Herm pulls me aside to say I have to break on this or that I have to open my hips sooner, I try to do it the next play.”

Defense was a weak point for ASU last year and through the summer as well as the practices in the fall, members of the defense can see it improving, as well as that it has the foundation to keep getting better. 

“This whole Fall Camp has shown me that we’ve matured and we grew a lot,” Lucas said. “We’ve got a lot of attributes to this defense and … the sky is the limit for us, we just have to prove it day in and day out.”

As for the very near future, the following two practices will require the players to be in full gear, and after that, Edwards will start cutting the team down to the 50 guys he wants to play. 

“We’ve got to make some decisions here in the next five of six practices because we really start focusing in on opponents,” Edwards said. “We need to figure out where these guys need to be … so we’ve got to find those guys for offense and defense, as well as special teams.” 

Reach the reporter at or follow @paige_burnell on Twitter.   

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