Camp Tontozona Practice Report August 15th: Sun Devils Have 'Average' Practice

Doug Pensinger

News and notes from Arizona State's morning practice up in Payson at Camp Tontozona. Updates on Jaelen Strong and the WR's, Marcus Ball and more.

The Sun Devils were back on the practice field Thursday morning for their third practice at Camp Tontozona. The team worked out for about three hours, working on individual drills and 11-on-11 situations. Head coach Todd Graham called the practice "average," saying it was the team's first average day in their time at Camp T.

"As a whole it was average, (compared) to where we have been practicing," said Graham. "A good practice won't get it done, a good practice gets you eight or nine wins. We have to do better than that, it was disappointing today."

The head coached mentioned several players that stood out to him, including Alden Darby, Carl Bradford, Marcus Hardison and Marcus Ball. Graham mentioned one player who has stood out to him since the start of fall practice.

"The guy in my mind, who every single day has stood out to me is D.J. Foster," Graham said. "The leadership that he has is phenomenal, he is another guy who has really been impressive."

WR Update

Both Joe Morris and Jaelen Strong are still getting familiar with the offense, today was Morris' first day catching balls and Strong has barely been in a week. One thing is for sure, both men possess extreme physical gifts.

Strong stands 6-4 and is an extremely physical receiver. He made the catch of the day when he went over the top of CB Osahon Irabor to grab a long pass. He also made a one-handed catch look easy on an out route early on in practice.

"He's doing a good job of trying to pick up the offense," said graduate assistant Aaron Pflugrad about Strong. "He's showing some really good flashes but we are trying to get it so he knows everything and has it down for that first game."

Richard Smith and Kevin Ozier were getting first team reps today and freshman Ellis Jefferson continues to standout.

"A lot of the new guys are doing a great job," said Pflugrad. "They have peaks and valley's and we need to get them ready to go for that first game."

Marcus Ball

The true freshman defensive back was lined up as the starting field safety today. Ball had an up and down day, making some mental errors but showing his natural instincts. Ball made some nice plays in run support today and made a diving interception that impressed his head coach.

"That was a pretty phenomenal play," said Graham. "Athletically and character wise that guy has more ability than any guy I have coached."

Nothing is set in stone yet but FS and SPUR linebacker are the only two spots up for grabs on the Sun Devil defense. Ball is being pushed by Viliami Moeakiola and Ezekial Bishop for the starting job.

Versatile Sun Devil

Stockton, California, native De'Marieya Nelson had quite the practice Thursday. The redshirt junior tight end found himself in the back field and heavily involved in the run game. Nelson may not be on top of the ASU depth chart, but he is a versatile player that Graham enjoys having.

"He can play running back, he can play tight end, he can play fullback and he can split and play wide receiver," said Graham. "He's another guy that is learning that is really a strong kid, it's hard to find guys like that so we are excited about him."

News and Notes

Graham does not kid around when he says he says special teams is important. Marion Grice, DJ Foster, Will Sutton and Devon Coleman were all used on punt coverage today.

Junior Dom Vizzare is handling first team punting duties so far in camp. Vizzare showed a superior leg to freshman Matt Haack at this morning's practice.

Tomorrow's practice is scheduled from 8:30-11 a.m. Practices are open to the public and there were opportunities for autographs and interaction with players and coaches after practice. The scrimmage on Saturday begins at 10 a.m.

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