“Brock is pretty healthy so we let him take all the turns,” Erickson commented. “Sam will be back tomorrow. He did okay for not doing anything for a couple weeks. I thought he threw it well and it looks like his back is okay so I was pretty happy.”
After returning from an injured MCL, junior offensive lineman Dan Knapp has been switched from left guard to right and is now battling with redshirt junior Aderious Simmons for the starting job.
“We haven’t decided who we’re going to start at right tackle yet,” Erickson said. “It’s kind of a battle to see what happens.”
The Sun Devils have a new combination at safety with junior Clint Floyd playing alongside senior Max Tabach who has recently found his stride for the maroon and gold. The combination is something Erickson feels will find much success against the Golden Bears offense.
“It’s a good group for this week,” Erickson explained. “Max is very physical, which we’re going to need because they run the football, that’s what they like to do. Then again, on the other side of the coin they do a lot of different things formation wise, shifting and things like that so you have to have somebody back there that can direct everybody and Clint does a good job of that.”
Freshman defensive lineman, Junior Onyeali has played in six games for the maroon and gold, including one start against Washington. Onyeali, like most freshmen, has transitioned into life as a collegiate athlete and uses has used his unique abilities to move his way into the starting lineup. To date, the freshman has 7 tackles, including 4 for loss.
“I think his potential is up there,” Erickson commented. “He is a young kid right now so he’s going to get bigger and stronger, all the stuff. Once he knows what he’s doing even more, gets bigger and stronger, who knows. He is a pass rusher so he has unlimited potential.
“Particularly in the last couple weeks he’s been getting better and maturing as he goes through all the stuff that freshman go through, not just on the field but off the field. I think he is comfortable with here he is at right now so he’s playing better.”
Two week ago Sun Devils gained much needed confidence by ending their three-game losing streak with a 24-14 win over Washington. Now coming off a bye week, the maroon and gold will have to focus on their next opponent in order to remain in the running for bowl eligibility.
“It gives us some confidence because when you win you get a little more confidence,” Erickson said. “We just have to get another one. All we can worry about is what is happening Saturday; it’s all we can look at. We can’t look any further or back, we have to concentrate on Cal. You can talk and talk but you have to win.”