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ASU’s Vontaze Burfict back to practicing with first

He returned Monday, but worked mostly with the second team until Friday, when he lined up aside Brandon Magee and Shelly Lyons. All three prepped at Centennial High in Corona, Calif.

"Yeah, (Burfict) brings a little enthusiasm. He looked good," ASU coach Dennis Erickson said before joking: "He didn’t tackle anybody, didn’t throw anybody down. I thought it was a tremendous improvement."

Since Burfict began camp on the second team, many have speculated that he is in Erickson’s doghouse. The fourth year coach, however, never has indicated as much publicly. He’s simply said that he wanted to reward Munns for his off season dedication. In May Munns
replica ray bans was one of 48 Sun Devils recognized in ASU’s Hard Hat program, which honors players for their weight room and conditioning efforts. Burfict wasn’t among them.

Burfict wasn’t available for comment Friday. He’s been off limits to media all camp, a ban that doesn’t seem to have a timetable. It’s an odd situation for an All American candidate, one whose photo is on the team’s media guide.

With his energy and passion, Burfict gained national attention last season, one that made him the Pac 10′s Defensive Freshman of the Year. Erickson compared him to Ray Lewis, a standout linebacker he coached at Miami. But Burfict’s aggressiveness at
cheap ray ban sunglasses times continued after the whistle, resulting in personal foul penalties that overshadowed his contribution.

Burfict told The Republic in April
fake ray ban sunglasses that it’s something that "I can improve on, and I will," but his temper has gotten the best of him a couple times during camp, disrupting practice.

"As long as he continues to do the right things in practice every day he’ll play," Erickson said.

ASU is deep at middle linebacker. Munns played as a true freshman and likely will see significant action even if Burfict hangs on to the starting job. Munns played in 10 games last season, starting two, and was the Pac 10 Defensive Player of the Week after a win over Stanford in 2008.

"I just approach the game the same way and control what I can control," Munns said. "They’re going to put in who they’re going to put in. It’s nice when you’re with the (first team) because your hard work is paying off and it’s nice that it gets recognized. But whether I’m in or not, it doesn’t change my approach or the way I go about the game. I just play as hard as I possibly can."

Note: Doug Haller’s ASU football practice report for Friday, Aug. 13; the originally scheduled afternoon practice was canceled.

"I’m proud of how hard they’ve worked and how they’ve improved on both sides of the ball." Dennis Erickson

For the first time all camp, sophomore linebacker Vontaze Burfict spent an entire practice with the first team.

Burfict, last season’s Pac 10 Defensive Freshman of the Year, started camp on the second team, but a sprained left ankle kept him out of the next five practices.

"Yeah, he brings a little enthusiasm," Erickson said. "He looked good."

Senior Gerald Munns, a starter since camp opened, worked with the second team. Erickson said he plans to rotate both.

Junior Brandon Magee thinks he’s a different player this year. "Way different," he said. "I’m in better shape. I know what’s coming. I know what my keys are. I know how to read my keys. I know how to adjust. All that’s better from last year."

Magee has spent a lot of time in the film room, studying former ASU linebacker Mike Nixon. In a way, it’s been eye opening. "He’s in (the film room) all the time," Erickson said.

"Both him and Shelly Lyons. They know what made Nixon good. They look at him and say, ‘Wow, how can that guy play so well?’ Now with their physical talent, you do the same things and a lot of good things can happen."

Added Magee: "Consistency is key. Athletic ability, it comes, but you
cheap ray bans can’t use it if you’re not consistent. You got to be in the right spot. That’s what I learned from watching Nixon. He was where he had to be every play. He was (limited athletically), but he knew what was coming."

The offensive line got another scare when first team left guard Adam Tello limped away from a drill. The Sun Devils already have lost Jon Hargis, Zach Schlink and Matt Hustad over the past four months. (Schlink and Hustad ended their careers; Hargis could return mid season.)

Tello was held out the rest of practice, but Erickson wasn’t alarmed. "He had a (posterior cruciate ligament) last spring and he just bruised it," the coach said. "He’ll probably go (Saturday) I would guess, if not, Monday."

Sophomore Andrew Sampson replaced Tello on the first team.

Over the last week, Brock Osweiler and Samson Szakacsy both took positive steps in the quarterback battle, but it was Steven Threet who looked sharp Friday. On one play, he completed a deep touchdown pass to Aaron Pflugrad and was rewarded with a leaping chest bump from offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone.

After practice, Threet said he felt good but downplayed the significance. "There’s a lot that goes into a quarterback having a good day," he said.

Erickson said he thought it was Threet’s best performance of camp, but he also pointed out that one solid day doesn’t mean much in the big picture. "It’s all about consistency," Erickson said. "What are you going to do every day? Unfortunately, when you’re competing for a job, you better not have too many bad days. If you’re the No. 1 quarterback, you can go out there and fling it around and not worry about what’s happening. . Right now, they have to be on the top of their game every day. That’s the thing I do like about this."

Notes, quotes and observations

About a week ago, senior cornerback Omar Bolden gave John Wrenn, assistant athletics director for football operations, a hard time for not having music played while the Sun Devils stretched. The next day, there was rap music, but Wrenn warned privately: "One day, I’ll get them." That moment came Friday. As the Sun Devils started to stretch, the Charlie Daniels Band belted out "The Devil Went Down to Georgia." The players groaned. Erickson, however, looked at Wrenn and said, "Turn that up."

Erickson likes Middlebrooks, a freshman, as a punt returner. "He has great speed, acceleration, catches it real well," he said.Articles Connexes:

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