Tuesday, August 12, 2008

More Changes on the O-Line?

Last Sunday, head coach Dennis Erickson announced that his young and inexperienced offensive line took a major hit when Richard Tuitu'u, the only tackle on the roster with any collegiate experience, left the team because of academic issues. Adam Tello is the new starter and right tackle, a redshirt freshman who hasn't played a snap at Arizona State and gives up two inches and 70 pounds to the departed junior starter.

After this morning's scrimmage, it seems as if another change is coming. It now looks like it might take two players to fill the giant shoes of center and Colts draft pick Mike Pollak.

Junior Thomas Altieri and redshirt freshman Garth Gerhart (pictured) entered the fall as co-starters at center, but after the spring it was evident that Altieri had taken more snaps with the ones and looked like the more polished offensive lineman. However, injuries and inconsistency have changed that, as coach Erickson has mentioned that Gerhart will start to get more reps with the 1st team. Altieri missed this morning's scrimmage with a concussion.

So, if you're keeping score at home, the offensive line that will be charged with cutting down on the Sun Devils' 3rd worst sacks allowed total from last season has a grand total of 30 starts over the last two seasons: Jon Hargis (a converted defensive lineman) at left tackle, Shaun Lauvao (9 starts) at left guard, Garth Gerhart at center, Paul Fanaika (23 starts) at right guard and the right tackle spot is occupied by Tello.

Kyle Williams also missed the scrimmage with a slight concussion. Brandon Smith is still banged up, but frankly, when has he not been banged up?

I'm starting to get a little uneasy about Keegan Herring and this nagging shoulder injury. I know I shouldn't be as concerned as I am, but he's still wearing an orange non-contact jersey after sitting out practice last week with a slight aggravation of the right shoulder injury that he's nursed for years. Dimitri Nance and Shaun DeWitty have performed admirably with Herring's reduced reps, but with just 17 days of practice left before NAU comes to town, I'm antsy to get Herring back into full contact drills, especially with DeWitty now nursing a hamstring.

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