Arizona State decided to switch things up as it hit the midway point in its fall camp schedule. Some group drills were noticeably different Tuesday, creating some good sights and sounds from the morning practice inside the Dickey Dome.
Tuesday morning was the second time during camp the team did a two-minute walk through while rotating in different personnel groups between plays. The drill displayed the offense's fast pace style while simultaneously trying to practice avoiding any procedural penalties. Offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone would shout group, "12,12,12" and two tight ends would run into position and quickly it would shift into a 10 personnel group (one running back, no tight ends) on the following play, and 11 personnel (one running back, one tight end) after that, as an example. What was important to note about this drill was the ability to sub guys in and out without creating confusion or having procedural penalties such as multiple players in motion simultaneously or having too many guys on the field at a time. ASU ran through the segment without any such issues.
Linebackers coach Trent Bray also had an interesting switch up in drills. This one resembled somewhat of an assembly line. First, each player would go head-to head with another, having to disengage the opposing player at the second level. Then Bray would roll a big workout ball their way in order to practice shedding off a second player. Lastly, they would face their third opponent, presumably the ball carrier and have to then tackle, or in the case of the drill, wrap up. It was a creative and effective way to practice shedding multiple blockers before reaching the intended destination.
A few minutes later Bray brought the defensive end corps in the mix to practice interceptions, with a different look to the group being the addition of several defensive ends who were working on the drill due to ASU's zone blitzing schemes occasionally putting them in position to make such plays on the football. All seemed pretty enthusiastic to shake things up and play a little game of catch. End Davon Coleman got teased a bit for being new to the drill and not looking as polished as a result. Carl Bradford was sure to get the attention of Coleman and several reporters nearby by saying, "watch this…I got the best hands, second is Vontaze (Burfict)." All displayed relatively sure hands, however, Coleman and junior defensive end Gregory Smith each juggled the ball in their hands and dropped it at the last second of the drill on one rep. It left Smth asking Bray, "One more time coach!" Bray laughed, shook his head and said, "We can't all be perfect."
The receivers spent some time Tuesday working on their footwork with a latter drill. Receivers one by one tip toed in and out as quickly as possible in different pattern to represent the nimble footwork required in their route running. In a continuation of what we've seen over the last week or so, freshman Gary Chambers shined during this drill, displaying fast movement and good footwork especially for his size as a bigger player at the position. All of the veterans who have been working with receivers coach Steve Broussard for the last year show good dexterity in these sessions. Newcomers tend to make their identities known via their inexperience, but at least in this exercise, Chambers looks like he's been around longer than he has.
Junior running back Cameron Marshall and senior corner Deveron Carr were seen conditioning and working closely together throughout practice. They were doing mirror drills where the two would go eye-to-eye and Carr would react to Marshall's movement, or vice versa, in order to simulate on field quick twice muscle response, part of the process of rehabbing their muscle strains.
ASU's basketball coach Herb Sendek took some time during his break to check out the Sun Devils during practice Tuesday morning. He's been very supportive of the football program, making at least three camp practice visits to this point.