Thursday was the first day of school for most Arizona State students and exactly two weeks until the Sun Devils kick off the season against UC Davis. "Two weeks from tonight we play, so everything's starting to catch up with us a little bit," head coach Dennis Erickson said. Here are some sights and sounds we observed from the practice.
Omar Bolden and Gerell Robinson spontaneously started a competition during WR/DB 1-on-1's as they watched from the sidelines. Before senior receiver George Bell and freshman corner Rashad Wadood took their marks, Bolden and Robinson began jaw jabbering one another over who would win in the matchup. Within seconds, it was determined the loser of the drill had to drop down and give the other 20 pushups. Unfortunately, Bell not only lost the bet for Robinson, but the ball -- a drop -- and his left shoe as well. As Robinson went for his push ups, Bolden said it was a one-time competition. "It got heated that fast," he said.
Bolden may be named one of the most active players this fall camp without even having a chance to put on his shells. His injury did not bring down any part of his enthusiasm or natural thirst for the interception. When the ball was overthrown towards the sideline during 11-on-11's, Bolden managed to scoop it off the turf, low and off balance with a nice move to his right, and finished with a rather graceful back roll. He stood up waiting for applause, however most teammates spectators were probably more concerned about him re-injuring his knee than his amazing stunt. Perhaps the new, heavier brace that Bolden was wearing for the first time, gave him the confidence to make the grab. Or perhaps it was just that thirst for the interception.
Bolden has also taken to playing scissors, rock, paper with teammates, but with a bit of a new twist. He and an opponent put their "shooting" hand behind their back, then quickly forward with their designated selection in a rapid movement, then back, and forward, without hesitating until someone has three wins. In on session last week, Bolden lost three out of four contests with teammates and bemoaned his result and strategy following the matches. It's that competitive spirit that has led Bolden, who said Tuesday, "After watching everything from [the sidelines] I'm going to be so much better if I ever play again here. I see so many (different) things."
Sophomore running back Deantre Lewis returned to the practice field Thursday night for the first time during fall camp. Lewis was spotted doing some minor conditioning and athletic tests, specifically a number of 50-yard rush at half speed, smooth, wave-looking runs over the same span, and some harder cuts covering the distance. He looked a little winded and admitted to needing to get his stamina back. Erickson[/db] said Lewis had a physical and was cleared to come out to practice. However as time goes on they will have a more clear depiction of what he is capable of doing. For now, he said he's just happy Lewis is with the team.
The Sun Devils broke out their new matte black helmets during a practice session for the first time, having previously worn gold, white and maroon. The rest of the practice uniform has remained constant: previously used maroon game pants worn by all players with the traditional white jerseys for defense and maroon for offense. ASU will be sporting their all black uniforms when it faces Missouri on Friday Sept. 9 at Sun Devil Stadium.
Redshirt freshman kicker Alex Garoutte has a big leg -- bigger than that of former Sun Devil kicker Thomas Weber though we're not sure we'd agree -- but has been inconsistent throughout the month. He has a lot of kicks from beyond 35-yards that tend to miss either just wide left or wide right, including three Thursday, one of which had plenty of distance from 52-yards. What's important to note, however, is that it Weber struggled with his accuracy in his first camp, nearly losing the job to walk-on Zach Richards, before connecting on all but one of his field goals during the season, winning the Lou Groza Award for best kicker in the nation. What will happen with Garoutte's first season remains to be seen.