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ASU Football: Spring practice notebook No. 11 — Likens purposefully doesn’t have Wilkins with first-team

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Everyone was getting first-team reps

Andrew Palla/House of Sparky

The Arizona State Sun Devils hit the Kajikawa Practice Fields for their 11th spring practice of the 2018 season under head coach Herm Edwards in shorts and helmets Thursday morning.

Last practice: Tuesday, April 3

Next practice: Friday, April 6 (6:35 p.m.)

Music: Get Down On It (Kool & The Gang), Over (Drake), I’m The One (DJ Khaled), Plug Walk (Rich the Kid), Goosebumps (Travis Scott Feat. Kendrick Lamar), That’s What I Like (Bruno Mars)

Injury Update

Safety Ty Thomas, defensive back DeMonte King, linebacker Koron Crump, defensive lineman George Lea, defensive back Preston Liger and, for the first time this spring, cornerback Chase Lucas each entered the bubble early and missed a good majority of the rest of practice. All of which are defensive players, too.

What happens if Manny goes down?

That question was was brought into perspective of offensive coordinator Rob Likens early this morning. Offensive line coach Dave Christensen was not at Thursday’s spring practice because of personal reasons, according to Doug Haller, and offensive analyst Kevin Mawae was forced to step in.

Likens wanted to turn that situation onto a “teaching tool” for his players.

“(Quarterback) Manny (Wilkins) didn’t go today with the first-team offense. We did that purposely because of what happened with Dave,” Likens said to reporters after Thursday’s practice. “I came into the office and I said, ‘hey, same thing. Let’s see what happens if the starting quarterback goes down.’

Likens said that even those who aren’t going to be in there all the time need to be mentally ready to hop in at any moment. He referenced the 2014 Ohio State team that won the National Championship because third-string quarterback Cardale Jones was ready to go.

Wilkins did jump in and throw during the 7-on-7 drill, but with his absence from most of the 11-v-11 play, fellow quarterbacks Blake Barnett and Dillion Sterling Cole stepped in.

Both looked very sharp and weren’t really looking for that highlight throw. Barnett and Sterling-Cole stuck to a variety of intermediate throws to march down the field, and handed it off most of the time in the red zone.

Likens said Sterling-Cole’s grasp of the offense is “night and day” from last season while praising the leadership abilities of Barnett.

Fluctuating receivers, too

With both quarterbacks getting their chances to line up behind the first-team offensive line, the receivers go to as well — rotating in and out nearly every play. On one drive both the line and quarterback stayed the same but the receivers kept changing — on the first play, the ones were in. On the next, the twos jumped in. And the third-string receivers got their chance on the following play.

While having Barnett and Sterling Cole run the first-team offense simulated a scenario in which Wilkins wasn’t available, the swapping of the receivers was simply to give everyone their fair chance.

“We didn’t want to get to the end of spring practice and for somebody to say ‘I didn’t get a chance,’” Likens said. “So we wanted to get as many people as possible to go with the first-team offensive line in those situations. So, nobody has any excuse.”

Video of the day

First-team offense

QB: Manny Wilkins/Blake Barnett

RB: Eno Benjamin/Trelon Smith

WR: Kyle Williams, N’Keal Harry, Terrell Chatman

TE: Tommy Hudson/Ceejay French-Love

OL: Tyson Rising (LT), Alex Losoya (LG), Cohl Cabral (C), Steven Miller (RG), Quinn Bailey (RT)

Second-team offense

QB: Dillion Sterling-Cole

RB: Mark ‘Goose” Cosgrove, Brandon LaMarche

WR: Trevor Russell, Jeremy Smith, Frank Darby

TE: Jared Bubak

OL: Mason Schell (LT), Zach Robertson (LG), Cade Cote (C), Corey Stephens (RG), Kyle Breed (RT)

First-team defense

DL: Jalen Bates, Renell Wren, Shannon Forman

LB: Malik Lawal, Nick Ralston, Jay Jay Wilson

Tillman: Evan Fields

CB: Terin Adams, Kobe Williams

Safety: Langston Frederick, Jalen Harvey

Second-team defense

DL: Jordan Hoyt, D.J. Davidson, Darius Slade

LB: Duke Ochuko, Khaylan Thomas, Anthony Nicastro

Tillman: Tyler Whiley

CB: Darien Cornay, Kordell Caldwell

Safety: Caleb McShanag, Dominique Harrison