True freshman wide receiver Gerell Robinson ran with Arizona State's first-team offense on Wednesday in place of the injured Michael Jones, showing flashes of his vast potential.
Although he doesn't have a career catch, Robinson is already a familiar name around Tempe because of his success at nearby Chandler Hamilton High and his forecast for greatness.
Tall and fast, Robinson has the tools to become a difference maker. But Robinson readily admits that early on, no matter how bad his coaches and teammates wanted him to succeed, he wasn't catching on.
"You can lead (a horse) to water, but you can't make him drink," said Robinson in a moment of self-diagnosis.
As he became acclimated with college practices on the field and college life off it, Robinson said he wasn't himself, dropping balls he normally would catch and running low on confidence.
"It was kind of a humbling experience," Robinson said. "Not that I'm cocky or anything, but I had to step back and look at things as a whole."
His stat line still reads empty, but Robinson said getting into the flow of a game-week routine and getting his first sniff of the field against Northern Arizona has helped settle him down.
In practice this week, the results are starting to show.
"Gerell's playing a lot better," coach Dennis Erickson said.
"I'm glad I got that first game out of the way and the first few practices," Robinson said. "Now I know what I'm in for. It's been a pretty good week so far. At practice the past few days, I'm starting to feel like myself again."
Jones (Achilles tendon) did some running on the side and will likely play against Stanford. Running back Keegan Herring (hamstring) did not practice and will be a game-time decision.
Linebacker Mike Nixon was sick but should be back for the game. Running back Shaun DeWitty (hamstring) practiced and likely will play Saturday.
Erickson said the move to put Lawrence Guy at defensive tackle and Jamar Jarrett at defensive end on the team's second unit will happen. Jarrett will be the ninth true freshman to play for ASU this year... Erickson said this year's philosophy will be to pass the ball until teams force them to run, a flip-flop from a year ago.