An Arizona State defense that was short-handed (particularly at linebacker) in last week’s upset loss to Nevada-Las Vegas has been bolstered by the return of Jamarr Robinson and Morris Wooten from suspension.
Robinson, a defensive end, and Wooten, a linebacker, have not played this season due to an undisclosed team rules violation. At practice on Tuesday, Robinson received snaps with the first- and second-team units, and Wooten backed up Gerald Munns at middle linebacker.
“They were moving around,” coach Dennis Erickson said. “They have fresh legs. They both will help us. Morris will help us physically against the run. With him and Munns at MLB, we can move other guys around, which gives us depth. We didn’t have much depth last week.”
Shelly Lyons, who had been behind Munns in the middle, moves to the strong side, where he will back up Travis Goethel. Mike Nixon, who started in the middle against UNLV because Munns was out with a broken finger, was the first-team weak-side linebacker on Tuesday, with Ryan McFoy behind him.
Wooten, through a school spokesman, declined interviews.
Robinson — whose suspension halted momentum he built during an impressive spring — said he has learned from the experience.
“I’ve been in it mentally, paying attention at every meeting and every game, watching what’s going on, staying in the scheme of things,” said Robinson, a converted linebacker. “When I come back, I’ll be ready.”
Munns, who had three pins placed in his left pinkie finger last week, will wear a cast for about five weeks. He will play this week, but Munns’ finger ailment has become contagious.
Running back Dimitri Nance fractured a finger in a recent practice and has a cast, and on Tuesday, defensive tackle Saia Falahola departed practice temporarily to have protective gear put on his right hand.
Tight end Andrew Pettes (groin) participated, while running back Keegan Herring (hamstring) and linebacker Brandon Magee (pectoral) ran on the side. Defensive lineman Spencer Gasu, who has missed two games with a sore back, practiced as a scout-team offensive lineman.
Walk-on running back James Morrison, who stood out during fall camp, broke an ankle in Tuesday’s practice and will be sidelined for about two months.
Georgia’s game at ASU on Saturday is its longest regular-season road trip in more than 40 years, and there was some debate in Athens as to whether the team should arrive a day early to get acclimated to Tempe, especially the heat?
Bulldogs coach Mark Richt determined that scenario would create more problems than it would solve, so the team plans to arrive on Friday.
“I didn’t want the team there an extra day to bore them out of their minds, as well as miss more class time,” Richt said. “We thought about flying in the day of the game, get out, stretch and let’s go. We have a good record in other people’s homes, so I figured that we would stick to our normal game plan and see what happens.”
Erickson said of Tuesday’s practice: “It was spirited and intense, but it should be like that all the time. We shouldn’t need something like (a tough loss) happen to us to have it that way. We’re normally a good practice team, but last week, we didn’t practice good.”
Zach Richards, who pushed Thomas Weber for the ASU kicking job in 2007 and failed to win the punting job during camp this year, has left the program.