October 8, 2008

Sullivan works with first unit Tuesday

Quarterback Rudy Carpenter was at the Arizona State football team's practice Tuesday, but he wasn't suited up. The senior signal caller was in street clothes and limped around with a walking boot covering his left foot.

In his place with the No. 1 offense was Danny Sullivan.

Sullivan is about as prepared as any backup quarterback in the country, at least for someone who hasn't had much real game action.

The junior has watched ASU run its offense for the past two seasons and has taken his fare share of reps along the way.

So when the spotlight was on him Tuesday night, he practiced pretty well.

Sullivan admitted he was a little nervous at the start of practice, but then he quickly settled down and found his rhythm.

"It was [easy to get into a rhythm] and it kind of showed out there too," Sullivan said. "Early I was like, 'Oh, here we go, here we go,' but let's hope that doesn't happen Saturday if I get the call."

Sullivan was especially effective with his short to mid-range throws. His passes were very crisp and arrived at the wide receivers almost exactly when they should.

On deep passes however, he overthrew the intended wide receiver several times.

Coach Dennis Erickson was pleased with what he saw out of Sullivan Tuesday, particularly with the focus his quarterback showed throughout the night.

"Not bad," Erickson said. "He threw it pretty well.

"I thought he did really well mentally. Physically he threw it and he's got a strong arm."

Erickson said Carpenter will not practice Wednesday and possibly Thursday as well.
Carpenter's status for the USC game will be a game time decision.

So Sullivan is preparing as though he will be the starter Saturday.

He spent more time watching film than usual Monday and Tuesday, but he knows his biggest challenge, if he does start, will be dealing with how much faster games are than practice.

"Trying to adjust to a real game speed, with starters and everything, I think that's going to be the biggest challenge," he said. "I'll take it one step at a time. If you do that, things will come easier and easier as the game goes on."

Sullivan said that if he starts, he wants to come out of the gate quick and hopefully score on his first drive to build some confidence.

But if he doesn't, he won't let that affect him.

"If I make a bad throw I make a bad throw," he said. "I've got to pick myself up if I do."

Erickson and quarterbacks coach Rich Olson weren't the only people giving Sullivan advice Tuesday.

Carpenter was out on the field helping Sullivan throughout the workout, something Erickson said will help Carpenter in the long run.

"I told [Carpenter], 'It's fun to be a coach, isn't it?'" Erickson joked. "It's great to look at it from back there and say, 'Golly that quarterback screwed up. How the heck can he make that throw?'"

If Sullivan does start, the wide receivers are confident he will be able to step in and lead the offense.

Junior Chris McGaha said there isn't too much difference between the two quarterbacks.

"Danny, he's taller, McGaha said. "He has a little more velocity on his ball but besides that it's just a football coming at you that you have to catch.

"If Danny has to be out there we'll support him. Hopefully we'll catch a lot of balls for him."

But the wide receivers are still supporting Carpenter too.

McGaha was wearing the No. 12 jersey Tuesday night to support the quarterback who started 36 consecutive games for the Sun Devils.

"I'm supporting Rudy today," McGaha said. "Mike Jones might be supporting Rudy tomorrow."

Out for the season

Safety Max Tabach tore his anterior cruciate ligament against Cal and will have surgery at some point in the near future. His 2008 campaign is over.

Tabach was at practice Tuesday wearing a brace on his left knee.

Injury update

Defensive tackle David Smith did not practice Tuesday because he has suffered several stingers as of late.

Erickson said Smith will sit out of practice for several days but that he will play Saturday.

Paul 'Unga took reps with the No. 1 defense in Smith's place.

Cornerback Omar Bolden appeared to hurt his hip during kickoff return drills Tuesday and did not return to practice.

Linebacker Brandon Magee (pectoral) and safety Angelo Fobbs-Valentino (knee) were running on the sideline and doing agility drills Tuesday.

Erickson said Magee will not play against USC.

Running back Jarrell Woods (sprained ankle) practiced Tuesday for the first time in more than a week with the injured right ankle heavily taped up.

Tight end Steven Figueroa has been wearing a protective boot covering his injured left foot for the past two months, but he was bootless Tuesday.

Linebacker Shelly Lyons dislocated his middle finger midway through practice, but a trainer popped it back in place and he continued to practice.

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