A damp field may have changed the Sun Devils' plans, but Arizona State still did what they could to put on a show for the 5,200 fans in attendance at the annual Camp Tontozona scrimmage on Saturday morning.
"We had a little bit of a different day today, we did a lot of controlled situations," head coach Todd Graham said. "I thought it was good work, it went back and forth, a lot of good signs up front on defense."
The Sun Devils put a lot of scripted pressure on the quarterbacks, which Taylor Kelly and Mike Bercovici reacted well to, but both were still sacked a number of times. Most notably by linebackers Laiu Moeakiola and DJ Calhoun. Solomon Means, Kweishi Brown and Lloyd Carrington also had impressive and athletic pass breakups at points in the scrimmage
"As long as coach Graham is alive, we're not going to do anything but pressure," defensive coordinator Keith Patterson said.
On offense, the play of the day came on a 65-yard touchdown pass from Mike Bercovici to redshirt freshman Ellis Jefferson. But the player that had everyone talking was 5-foot-10, 203-pound freshman running back Demario Richard, who performed very well grounding and pounding the ball up the middle and had some impressive cuts to get upfield
"I thought Demario Richard had an unbelievable day," offensive coordinator Mike Norvell said. "He showed that he can be an every-down back that can help take some of the pressure off of DJ (Foster). "
Graham echoed Norvell's feelings about Richard, but also added the, "worst thing" about the scrimmage was the "dumb" penalties. He mentioned pass interference, and a couple offsides calls with which he was specifically displeased.
"We just have to make sure we do what we're coached to do, we made some critical errors," Graham said.
One of the more uncharacteristic errors for a Graham-led team came after Richard scored a 10-yard rushing touchdown. He was clearly already in the end zone and had slowed his speed when Antonio Longino came up and hit him a little half-heartedly but still knocked Richard off balance drawing a flag. He had to do up-downs and also got a few choice words from Graham after the fact.
Regardless, for what was dubbed a "controlled scrimmage" by Graham, he and Norvell were content with what they saw.
"There were some execution things we got to get cleaned up, but overall I was really pleased with what I saw today," Norvell said.
- Green no-contact jerseys: Ronald Lewis, Marcus Ball,
- Yellow limited contact jerseys: Jaelen Strong, Damarious Randall, D.J. Foster
- Tight end Grant Martinez was injured during practice and is out about a week with a sprained MCL according to Brad Denny of 3TV.
- First team defense: Linemen: Marcus Hardison- Tashon Smallwood-Connor Humphreys Linebackers: DJ Calhoun (WILL), Salamo FIso (SAM), Laiu Moeakiola (SPUR) Antonio Longino (DEVIL) Corners: Lloyd Carrington, Solomon Means Safeties: Marcus Ball, Damarious Randall
- First team offense: Running back: DJ Foster Wide receivers: Jaelen Strong, Gary Chambers, Frederick Gammage. Tight end: Kody Kohl
- Second team defense: Linemen: Emmanuel Dayries-Jaxon Hood-Edmond Boateng Linebackers: Marcus Washington (WILL), Christian Sam (SPUR), Alani Latu (SAM), Chans Cox (DEVIL). Corners: Armand Perry, Kweishi Brown Safeties: James Johnson, Jordan Simone
- Second team offense: Running back: Demario Richard Wide Receivers: Cameron Smith, Ellis Jefferson, Kyle Middlebrooks, Eric Lauderdale. Tight end: Grant Martinez
- De'Marieya Nelson got a look at first team Devilbacker on some later drives
- Marcus Washington laid a "welcome to Division I football" hit on Manny Wilkins when Wilikins decided to tuck it and run.
- Christian Kirk, widely regarded as the best player in the class of 2015 in Arizona, attended the scrimmage. Kirk has Arizona State in his top six schools.
- Frank Kush watched from under a tent near the end zone, Ray Anderson paced the sidelines throughout the day.