It’s not unusual for ASU football to practice outside in September. It is unusual, however, for them to practice outdoors when temperatures push 110-degrees as they did late Tuesday afternoon. Remember, there is that practice bubble just a few feet away.
“Not so much for the elements,” head coach Dennis Erickson explained for why they were outside, even though he had a number of players cramp up in the season opener against UC Davis. “I just want to get out on the grass more than anything just to [work on the] timing of our passing game.” Erickson added they would be back inside Wednesday.
A couple of lineman may be back soon. Senior guard Adam Tello and freshman defensive tackle Mo Latu have worked with the second team this week. Tello, who is recovering from back surgery, even got in some reps with the first team at left guard.
“I thought he did some really good things with movement and getting his hips down that normally bother a back injury like his,” said Erickson. “Whether he’ll play this week or not the doctors have got to totally clear him but I would say he’s got a good chance.”
So too does Latu, who played at Perry High School in Gilbert but was just recently cleared by the NCAA.
“We think he brings an element to us on that defensive front that we don’t have right now which is a 340-pound defensive tackle,” Erickson said. “I don’t know if we’ll play him Friday or not but he will play this year.”
Erickson has been impressed by what he’s seen from Latu, who stands 6-foot-3. “He’s one of the better freshman I’ve seen at that position. He’s got one thing nobody else can give him and that’s size. He’s a big guy.”
The Tuesday practice was the first for ASU since debuting in the USA Today coaches poll this season. The Sun Devils are ranked 23rd, though that’s of little concern to Erickson. “No, not at all. I’d rather be out of it.”
Erickson on the continuing talk of conference expansion, particularly with the PAC-12 joked after practice, “We could have everybody in the country in our league. Who knows we might be playing somebody from Canada.”
Starting defensive tackle Will Sutton left practice early with a bruised toe. Erickson said Sutton should return Wednesday. And for a second straight day, OL Sil Ajawara, RB Deantre Lewis and OL Aderious Simmons did not dress.