Just as quickly as ASU’s first practice at Camp Tontozona began, it was interrupted by probably the only man who could get away with it. Sun Devil analyst and recent Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee, Kevin Mawae, was sporting his new gold jacket for the team to see.
Everything halted when he walked onto the field and he rallied the team up for a quick speech. Head Coach Herm Edwards gave him the week off, but the Hall of Famer didn’t want to miss the experience.
“It was important for me to be here,” said Mawae. “Part of my job is to mentor these kids and to give them inspiration so they can aspire to be something greater than themselves and something greater than what they are now and that’s part of why I needed to be here.”
As long as there’s a quarterback battle, it will remain a focus at practice. The group was put into different situations including two-minute drills that allowed coaches to see how they respond under pressure for the first time.
“That was really, really good to see that procedure part of it for the quarterbacks,” said offensive coordinator Rob Likens.
Likens wouldn’t get into specifics about which quarterback is beginning to separate himself from the group, but he did hint at a very important factor that could help identify the starter; how their teammates respond to them.
“That was the number one thing I looked for when I went out and recruited them,” said Likens.
“I wrote up a report on practice as I was watching them in the spring and I would write down notes on how the kids responded to them. Do they coach other players, are they talking to their receivers or are they yelling at their receivers and blaming them and every one of those guys passed those tests.”
Sun Devil running back Eno Benjamin did not practice today, he ate something that upset his stomach, but when we caught up with him after practice he said he was feeling better.
“He’s just used to that fine dining, ordering out,” said Edwards. “He’ll figure it out, he’ll be alright.”
ASU will practice again on Wednesday from 10 a.m. to noon.