October 22, 2004
With each passing day, former wide receiver Rudy Burgess feels more at ease in the Arizona State backfield. Saturday against UCLA, he may even look like a tailback.
While Burgess has been lining up as a running back, the Devils have used him primarily as a receiver out of the backfield — a la USC’s Reggie Bush — or as a decoy. But Burgess, in his fourth week practicing at the position, said Thursday that he expects to get more touches against UCLA, whose run defense has been porous, at best, this season.
"I’m at the point where I’m a lot more comfortable with everything we’re doing," he said. "Whether it’s reading a block, getting up field, carrying the ball or just being a decoy, I expect to be more a part of the offense this week."
Burgess has four carries for 17 yards this season while catching four passes for 80 yards and two touchdowns.
Defensive end Kyle Caldwell (hip pointer) took part in most drills at Thursday’s practice. Defensive coordinator Brent Guy did not say whether Caldwell would start Saturday, saying only that Caldwell "is fine," but Caldwell’s injury appears vastly improved since the early part of the week.
If he does not start, the Sun Devils would likely shift tackle Jimmy Verdon out to end and start Gabe Reininger alongside Jordan Hill at the tackle spots.
The Devils could also use junior college transfer DeWayne Hollyfield, who has played some end recently.
UCLA’s top receiver, Craig Bragg, practiced Wednesday for the first time since dislocating his left shoulder Sept. 18. He will wear a shoulder harness for Saturday’s game.
"It’s not as limiting as I thought it would be," Bragg told the Los Angeles Daily News. "The only thing it’s keeping (the shoulder) from doing is going too far back. I don’t think it’s going to affect me reaching and catching the ball."
Bragg has missed the Bruins’ last three games.
Between 8,000 and 9,000 tickets remain for Saturday’s game. . . .
Dirk Koetter is 0-2 against UCLA since coming to ASU, but both games were in Los Angeles and were relatively close — 52-42 in 2001 and 20-13 in 2003.