Tuesday kicked off the 2011 preseason football camp for Arizona State and things appeared to be running as normal. Arizona's boiling sun was out and shining, invited onlookers assembled fold out chairs and took their seats, and rowdy Sun Devils anxiously awaited entry into the Dickey Dome.
What also was no different was the presence of sophomore defensive tackle William Sutton. Whether in the huddle or in between drills, Sutton made sure his voice was heard loud and clear hyping up his fellow teammates with his trademark howl. Sutton set the tone early on for the remainder of practice.
Another player who was extra vocal was junior linebacker Vontaze Burfict. He took on more of a leadership role, often aiding freshman corner Rashad Wadood and others occasionally blending in with the first unit. After Wadood had a couple of missed assignments it wasn't defensive backs coach Greg Burns in his face, it was Burfict shouting, "You gatta get there, you gatta get there!" That's an intense welcome to the next level. It seemed as though the reason coaches used a mixture of starters with deeper reserves was to allow peer coaching and accountability.
There was a great sense of camaraderie during the practice. "We were cheering them on (defense) as they were cheering us on," starting junior quarterback Brock Osweiler said. During 1-on-1s, junior receiver Jamal Miles made a great catch down the sideline while covered by junior cornerback Deveron Carr. Carr simply congratulated Milles with a pat on the helmet for his great effort.
Injured seniors Omar Bolden and T.J. Simpson were also present giving encouragement to fellow teammates. The two of them also were looking a little too similar with matching white tees, hats, shorts and braces on their left leg. They both however were very active during practice, participating in warm ups and doing synchronized latter workouts together.
Although everything seemed to fit the norm of a first day of practice, there were a couple of rather peculiar things that did take place Tuesday night worth mentioning. For one, seemingly as a show of team unity, quarterback Osweiler stepped in as the boundary side linebacker during some of the walk through plays, which is rarely ever seen.
Also, junior punter Josh Hubner displayed how truly big his leg was after kicking ball after ball straight into the ceiling of the Dickey Dome. It was a definite positive he has that type of leg strength, but the negative from a practical standpoint was it doesn't give Jamal Miles, Rashad Ross , or Aaron Pflugrad the chance to return any of the balls. Luckily the sky is high at the Frank Kush stadium.