September 27, 2004
Pulling the redshirt off freshman Price Wilks and making a position switch are two alternatives Arizona State football coach Dirk Koetter is considering while starting tailback Loren Wade is suspended.
As of this morning, ASU has no varsity scholarship tailback completely healthy.
Tempe sophomore Randy Hill tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee with 7:32 left to play in the Sun Devils’ 27-14 Pac-10 victory over Oregon State on Saturday and is out for the season.
Junior Hakim Hill played through the game with a fractured arm.
Phoenix senior Cornell Canidate appears out for the season with an injury in the groin area so complicated that Koetter said there isn't a doctor in the Valley who could perform the necessary surgery. Canidate is taking a “pain free” route to healing, something Koetter said took players at Boise State a year to complete.
“Cornell can't live a normal life,” Koetter said.
It was announced before kickoff Saturday that Wade, ASU's leading rusher, had been indefinitely suspended for a violation of team rules.
“Loren is still up in the air,” said Koetter, who indicated he wasn't the only one involved in the disciplinary process. “I still don't know if, or when, we'll get Loren back.”
Meanwhile, Preston Jones, a 5-foot-8, 173-pound redshirt freshman from East Lansing, Mich., who doesn't have a biography in the media guide, is the backup to Hill.
“He's a capable player,” Koetter said.
Koetter said Hakim Hill was understandably tentative against the Beavers but praised his courage for carrying the ball 17 times.
"Hakim was admirable," Koetter said.
Hill will play next week at Oregon (1-2) with a brace instead of a cast on the forearm, Koetter said.
Koetter and his staff will mull over the possibility of moving players who were running backs in high school to tailback.
But he added, "We're not going to weaken another position to have a third-team tailback. There are guys that are candidates that are too valuable where they're at."
The last two recruiting periods, ASU has signed one tailback, Wilks, who is supposed to redshirt.
"We're going to work through it," Koetter said of the running back situation.
Starting center Drew Hodgdon, recovering from a broken foot, made his 2004 debut on the third series and played one quarter of the game, Koetter said.
"Drew played well. Drew had two downfield blocks that were just beautiful," he said. "A couple of times he favored the foot."
Koetter indicated Hodgdon may not be ready for full-time duty at center. When he is, perhaps after the Oct. 9 bye week, his replacement, Tempe redshirt freshman Mike Pollak, may slide over to a guard position.
While quarterback Andrew Walter did not put up big numbers, Koetter said the senior handled the little things well.
"The thing he did best, no sacks, no turnovers, and he was getting the ball out," Koetter said. "Andrew managed the game well."
The Sun Devils (4-0) moved up one spot in The Associated Press poll to No. 21.
"Our guys have worked hard to get to this point, and they deserve it," Koetter said. "We're playing with a lot of confidence."
EXTRA POINT: The coaching staff awarded game balls to tackle Andrew Carnahan (offense), Emmanuel Franklin (defense) and Josh Barrett (special teams).