Finkenberg fighting for a starting position

Finkenberg fighting for a starting position

Coming into spring practice Head Coach Dennis Erickson has been pleased with the depth his team now has at offensive line. Evan Finkenberg is one player who exemplifies that statement, as the offensive tackle made dramatic improvements since arriving on campus last year. He's been currently getting some first team reps at right tackle, something that naturally excites him for what could lie ahead.

"It's been really good getting a chance practicing on the first team," said the 6-6 290 Evan Finkenberg. "I've been working hard, just like the rest of the team and I'm real excited about getting a chance."

The 2009 graduate of Tesoro High School in Rancho Santa Margarita (Calif.) is regarded as an athletic and versatile lineman who late in his high school career switched from a tight end position and blossomed ever since.

He was clocked running a 4.9 40-yard dash and was listed as the No. 96 overall prospect in the state of California and the state's No. 7 offensive tackle prospect by Scout.com. As a senior he earned First-Team All-CIF, First-Team All-Orange County and First-Team All-League.

Finkenberg was also a pitcher in high school and jokingly admitted that he came at ASU at a "baseball weight" listed at 265 lbs. Like most offensive linemen, Finkenberg sat out his first year and it was a move he believes was very beneficial for him.

"Redshirting has helped me a lot in the weight room," Finkenberg commented. "All my maxes went way up, I'm now benching 350 and squatting 450. I've been eating the right foods to get to a good weight and I have more lean muscle. So far it's been working out very good for me.

"My footwork has improved a lot. The first few steps in pass protection are really huge no matter if you play left or right tackle. So I'm very happy that I was able to improve in that area."

Being able to play right or left tackle, is what has intrigued the ASU coaching staff and allowed Finkenberg to line up among the starters. At the beginning of spring, Finkenberg was listed as a backup at left tackle to Brice Schwab, the heralded junior college transfer. A few practices in, he was moved to right tackle splitting first team reps with Patrick Jamison.

"I don't care what side they put me on as long as I can play and help the team," Finkenberg stated. "They can put me at guard or center if they want. Anywhere you put me on the field I'm happy."

The battle he is waging with Schwab, who ironically is being lined up at left tackle after gaining success at right tackle during his JC tenure, is something that Finkenberg is relishing.

"I like competing with everybody and that's how our whole offensive line will get better," Finkenberg explained. "But we also help out each other. I talk to Brice about left tackle technique and he talks to me about right tackle technique. It's great that we can work together and help each other get better."

Aside from any help he is getting from his teammates, facing a top flight defense in practice is naturally aiding his development as well.

"I'm trying to improve every practice," Finkenberg commented. "Every day I try to work on a different part of my game. I just want to get better and keep on competing. Going against such a good defense can only help us as an offense. When the season starts we'll be ready for some good competition."

Finkenberg saw the trials and tribulations that the offensive line, like the rest of the offense, went through during the 4-8 campaign last year. The tackle has been sensing a better attitude among his teammates in the off-season and feels that results are currently manifesting themselves in the spring.

"I think we worked better as a team and we bonded a lot on and off the field," Finkenberg said. "We hang out a lot on our off days and really push each other hard in the weight room. All that has helped us a lot.

"The whole offense is getting more jelled together for sure. We're getting used to the new system, the tempo, and all the new plays and it's been going good so far. All the hard work we put in is paying off right now."

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