August 12, 2008

Sun Devils starting to feel strain of camp

Although there still aren't any major injuries for the Sun Devils, the number of players sitting out of practice or wearing the orange jerseys designated for non-contact players is steadily growing.

Along with Keegan Herring (shoulder), Shaun DeWitty (hamstring), Brandon Smith (hamstring) and Nate Kimbrough (facial fracture) who have all been out of action or limited in practice over the past several days, there were four new players to add to that list Monday.

Thomas Altieri, who suffered a concussion during a collision with Saia Falahola in a drill Monday morning, was not wearing pads Monday night. Coach Dennis Erickson said Altieri should be back soon, but that he was not sure exactly when.

"It could be four days, five days, three days I don't know," Erickson said. "They do all those base tests… So obviously he won't go tomorrow."

Kyle Williams suffered a concussion Sunday, and he too will likely not practice for several days.

Samson Szakacsy sat out of Monday night's practice with a sore right throwing elbow, the same elbow that was operated on earlier this year. Since camp began, the redshirt freshman has been wearing an elbow sleeve on the arm, but it has continued to bother him and he received a shot for pain relief Monday.

Erickson said Szakacsy has a chance to practice Tuesday.

Junior defensive tackle David Bertrand was donning an orange jersey Monday night because of a shoulder issue. He should be ready to go tomorrow, Erickson said.

And while Monday night's practice ended with no new injuries, there were two occasions when many onlookers thought Mike Jones would be the latest victim of two-a-days.

During 11-on11 drills, Jones caught a short pass from Rudy Carpenter across the middle, but got his cleat caught in the field turf as Troy Nolan came in for would have been a tackle in a game situation. It appeared as if Jones' knee twisted unnaturally, but the senior receiver was fine.

Then several plays later, Jones nearly hauled in a touchdown reception in the back of the end zone, but came down on his back and slid into one of the huge temporary air conditioning generators behind the west end zone.

Jones came up holding his back but is fine.

And at the wide receiver slot opposite of Jones, Chris McGaha is still not 100-percent since his toe surgery in the spring.

McGaha has participated in every practice thus far, but he has been limited in 11-on-11 drills. He did, however, have one of his best reps in camp on Monday when he ran a sideline comeback route in expert fashion.

"He goes for a while, then it bothers him," Erickson said of McGaha. "We have a lot of time but we have to be careful. The biggest thing with Chris is he just needs to be healthy when we play that first game. It's not about him scrimmaging or anything like that. It's about him being ready to go. We'll be very careful with him tomorrow if we scrimmage him at all. But it's getting better, there's no question about that."

Quick hits

  • Kerry Taylor had a very impressive day during 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills. The sophomore wide receiver seems to always find a way to get open as he made far more catches (at least seven receptions of more than five yards) than any other receiver.

  • Pierre Singfield earned first-team reps on Monday on the side opposide Omar Bolden. Until the afternoon practice, Terell Carr had been working with the first-group.

  • Ryan Bass continues to be the recipient of a lot of screen passes. At one point Monday, he caught one to the left for a gain of about six yards then caught one on the right side on the next play for a gain of about four. The freshman has an incredibly quick first two steps and can get out of traffic quickly if the defense is closing in on him.

  • Perhaps the nicest play of the day came on the last play of 7-on-7 drills when Jack Elway threw the ball 45 yards in the air to Allante Battle in stride. Battle beat Grant Crunkleton on the play en route to a touchdown.

  • Junior defensive end Eric Tanner did not pratice on Monday. Erickson said he was dealing with a personal family issue.

  • With Altieri out of action, Andrew Sampson has worked as second-team center. The Sun Devils now currently using three true freshman on the interior of the offensive line with their second-team.

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