Camp Tontazona welcomed the 2014 Sun Devils with dose of rain, thunder and lightning on Tuesday night through early Wednesday morning. The result, ASU football had to be on the move wednesday because of the field at Camp T being completely flooded.
The team drove down the hill to Rumsey Park in Payson, a place ASU planned to practice at at least once this week anyway, and had their first practice of camp, outside the camp.
“There was a little rain so we had the audible ready,” Todd Graham said after the first day of practices away from Tempe. “We came over, tried to figure out where the numbers were on this field and the hash marks, but guys worked good.”
Over the last few years, the camp grounds at Camp Tontazona made significant upgrades to help get the team to come back up and bring back the beloved tradition. Will a situation like wednesday arising, more improvements could be looked into in the future. Maybe the addition of field turf perhaps?
“Yes that would be nice,” Graham mentioned. “It would be good to have field turf there…I don’t know if we have the option to do that or not but yes I would love to have field turf so we didn’t have to worry about the rain.”
That was that for the weather, as for on the field, the team adjusted well despite having to make the quick audible as Graham called it. The team came out with good energy and there were players that stood out both as leaders and with their play on the field.
It’s hard to watch the ASU offense and not notice Jaelen Strong at wide receiver. He made some nice plays in one-on-ones and had what could have been a game winning touchdown in their scrimmage at the end of practice but it was called back because officials said quarterback Mike Bercovici was touched down during the play. Redshirt Freshman Ellis Jefferson also had some nice plays at receiver on the day as well.
On defense you find yourself constantly watching safety Jordan Simone. He was forced to redshirt last season so the Sun Devil faithful have not yet had the chance to watch him play, but when they do, he will instantly be a fan favorite. He is a born leader as you can see on the field as he leads the defensive backs in stretches, is the first in line to do every drill and everyone went nuts when he was the one that caught the interception that ended wednesday’s scrimmage. He told me after, that “he really needed that one.” People couldn’t help but notice him last year at Camp T and now it is more than evident that he will have a big role with this team this season.
While the play on the field is important as the Devils are gearing up for a much anticipated 2014 season coming off of an appearance in the Pac-12 Championship game, it is the time spent off the field this week at Camp T that is just as important.
“Camp T is all about coming together as a team,” Graham said. “We had a great night last night with leadership with the things we have going on there.”