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ASU Football: A look at the O-Line During Spring Practice

(Photo: Scotty Bara/WCSN)

The fifth ASU spring football practice resumed today at Kajikawa Practice Fields in Tempe, Arizona. The media availability duration was a half and hour and the players participated in individual drills, stretching, ball security and tempo. In addition, today the players were dressed in full pads.

Offensive Line Using Spring Practices to Make Adjustments

Typically, in football when the offensive line is dominant the offense as whole operates on a high level. The offensive line is the essential first level of defense that buys time for quarterback to throw and provides the running back gaps to run through.

The Sun Devils are preparing to have a consistent year with the offensive line unit and the first step was hiring Rob Sale as the new offensive line coach.

Sale is replacing Chris Thomsen, who departed from the position after four seasons to coach the offensive line at TCU.

Adjusting is something that Sale should not find too difficult, as he previously worked with ASU’s new offensive coordinator Billy Napier. The two worked alongside each other for Nick Saban in 2011 at Alabama.

Sale is confident he will create a tough new culture for the offensive line.

“I coach hard, that’s the only way I know,” Sale said. “I do coach hard, I try to bring energy and juice every single day. No. 1 if you ask who Rob Sale is, I think I’m a teacher of concepts, everyone knowing their role and understanding their responsibility. I’m a teacher first and I’m hard on those guys but when they get off the field they know I love them. I treat them just like my son.”

Learning the new offense and perfecting technique has been one of the biggest focal points through five spring practices.

When the play calling becomes more sophisticated there are some challenges that come with it.

“We have a lot more line calls than we did last year,” senior center A.J. McCollum said. “It’s going to hopefully help us with all the missed assignments that happened last year, that’s probably the hardest thing, the new calls.”

Redshirt sophomore left guard Steven Miller mentioned the emphasis has been on the unit’s physicality.

“Be tough and focus on getting better everyday,” Miller said. “ Whether its one thing or two things, whatever you can handle make sure you’re getting better everyday and working as hard as you can.”

Sale is not only bring new schemes, the offensive line coach is bring his own set of verbiage.

“Coach says drink the Kool-Aid, then just drink the Kool-Aid,” Miller said.

The phrase “drinking the Kool-Aid” refers to buying into what the unit is doing. Miller mentioned when the team buys into the system then that’s how they will see success.

Head coach Todd Graham was spotted firing up the offensive line today at practice. Graham mentioned at times he spends extra time motivating them because they have a chance to be special this season.

“I like that group, I like their toughness,” Graham said. “I think we have great experience there. The key is getting the best out of them every day, not good work, not great their best every day. What gives me a lot of confidence is I’ve got we have a lot of talented guys on both sides of the football. We are solid and have a little bit of depth on both sides.”

The offensive line is tight a tight knit brotherhood where everyone keeps one another  accountable.

“We are all close,” Miller said. “We’ve all been through it together. Last year was tough season and we finished not the way we wanted to so we are all hungry. We all know what we want, we all want to win. We are going to push each other every single day, if someone is not on their stuff then we are going to get on each other. All we are trying to do is get better.”

Practice Sightings

 Players in green: (non-contact jerseys)

 

  • (QB) Bryce Perkins
  • (S) Marcus Ball
  • (CB) Kareem Orr
  • (OL) Cade Cote

All players participated in individual drills.

Players sidelined due to injury:

 

  • (TE) Jay Jay Wilson
  • (DB) Chase Lucas
  • (WR) Cameron Smith
  • (LB) Drew Mclntyre
  • (DB) Dasmond Tautalatasi

Players did light exercises on the sideline, including riding the exercise bike and working with resistance bands.

First team reps Offense:

 

  • (QB) Manny Wilkins
  • (RB) Kalen Ballage
  • (WR’s) Jalen Harvey, John Humphrey, Ryan Jenkins
  • (TE) Tommy Hudson
  • (LT) Cohl Cabral
  • (LG) Steven Miller
  • (C) A.J. McCollum
  • (RG) Sam Jones
  • (RT) Quinn Bailey

First team reps Defense:

 

  • (DL) Jordan Hoyt, Tashon Smallwood, JoJo Wicker, Koron Crump
  • (LB) DJ Calhoun
  • (LB) Christian Sam
  • (DB) Kareem Orr, Chad Adams, Ty Thomas, Maurice Chandler, Frank Darby

Next practice is set for March 24, at 8:30 at Kajikawa Practice Fields.

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