(Photo: Allyson Cummings/WCSN)
Arizona State changed the way media will view practice by adjusting the viewing portion of practice with just a couple practices remaining until a Thursday night game against the No. 11 UCLA Bruins. Rather than allow the media to watch the first 40-50 minutes of practice as they previously had, the media instead watched the first 30 minutes of practice after the team went inside the Verde Dickey Dome.
Regardless, things didn’t change too much after practice as players continued to preach the same philosophies echoed by Todd Graham on a daily basis.
“When you wear a fork on your helmet, ball security is the number one thing,” ASU quarterback Mike Bercovici said. “Ever since I’ve been here, ever since Coach Graham and Coach [Mike] Norvell have been here, that’s the number one thing we focus on every day.”
Preparing for Hundley
Arizona State isn’t the only team that had a Heisman-hopeful quarterback go down in the third week of the college football season. UCLA’s Brett Hundley suffered a hyper-extended left elbow and did not return to the game against the Texas Longhorns, as backup Jerry Neuheisel led the team to a come-from-behind victory.
UCLA has been mum about the availability of Hundley for Thursday, but it doesn’t sound like anyone from the Sun Devils is buying it. They expect Hundley to play and they are preparing for what the Chandler High School-product brings to the table.
“I heard he got hurt, but we’ve prepared like he’s going to play,” senior defensive end Marcus Hardison said.
Even if he doesn’t play, Hardison said not a whole lot will change with the defensive line as they’ll still have to win their assignments to be successful. Still, he knows the type of plays that Hundley is capable of making.
“He’s a bigger guy who is more athletic,” Hardison said. “He can run, he can pass, so we just have to be more sound in our rush lanes so he won’t get out. We have to keep him in the pocket.”
Hardison, who has appealed to ASU fans on Twitter to pass on the Drake/Lil Wayne concert on Thursday to show up instead at Sun Devil Stadium, says there’s a little extra motivation added by the inclusion of black jerseys as well.
“You know how Spider-Man has his regular suit and then he’s got his black suit? It’s like a whole other ego comes out of you. It’s awesome just wearing all black,“ Hardison said.
– Laiu Moeakiola is no longer wearing a green, no-contact jersey and was working with the defense against the scout-team offense. He hasn’t yet been given back his spot with the first-team though, as Christian Sam appeared to work with the first-team.
– Todd Graham said last week that he wants more rotation out of the defensive line and that was evident during the media portion of practice. While the secondary would go several plays without switching between first- and second-team units, the defensive line consistently shuffled through at least 10 players, not including tight end/Devil-backer De’Marieya Nelson, who worked on offense.
– As Matt Harden said last week, we really won’t know what to expect from Mike Bercovici until the lights come on, but if practice is an accurate indicator, there isn’t much to worry about for ASU. He looked very crisp hitting receivers and running backs at all levels. Back up quarterback Manny Wilkins wasn’t quite as smooth, as he struggled with accuracy at times, but Bercovici can definitely spin it and consistently earned praise from Norvell during throwing drills.
– Taylor Kelly was at practice on Monday still on crutches and wearing a walking boot, but the senior quarterback was still getting as much work in as he can, as he was working with some resistance bands while sitting on the sideline during the media portion of practice.
– Former ASU and Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Deveron Carr held court with the defensive backs after practice on Monday, speaking with the group for about 15 minutes after the conclusion of practice.