Red Wolves perform for fans on Appreciation Day

By Daniel McFadin

Published: Sunday, August 21, 2011

Updated: Sunday, August 21, 2011

Scrimmage

Evan Riekhof

Ryan Aplin receives the hiked ball Saturday at Fan Appreciation Day.

            With only two weeks before the Red Wolves kick off their 2011 football campaign, the team took part in a White and Black scrimmage Saturday in front of a small crowd at ASU Stadium as part of the athletic department's License to Howl event.

            With the offense dressed in white and defense outfitted in black, the two squads took the field at 11 a.m Saturday following an hour delay for weather. However, that delay didn't slow down the Red Wolves, who are full of seasoned veterans and new hopefuls trying to make the cut.

            Among those veterans is junior quarterback Ryan Aplin, who led the White team to a touchdown on his second drive of the practice, a 6-yard pass to tight end Anthony Kincy. Before that score Aplin completed a 74-yard pass to senior wide receiver Dwayne Frampton, the longest play of the scrimmage.

            Behind Aplin on the roster at the quarterback position are junior Andre Smith and freshman Stephen Hogan. Both players are fighting for the second string QB that was vacated by Phillip Butterfield after the sophomore suffered a season-ending ACL and MCL injury.

            Smith and Hogan took a majority of the 115 snaps in the 20th and final practice of fall camp. Both players have been converted from different offensive positions—Smith from Tight End and Hogan from wide receiver.

             "Our quarterbacks made some good decisions on running the ball," Head Coach Hugh Freeze said following the practice, "but we were blowing the whistle so fast, so it's kind of hard to tell what those plays would have turned out to be."

            Another drive resulted in a 1-yard touchdown run by freshman running back Frankie Jackson, who also had runs of 18 and 20 yards during the session.

            "I think these two scrimmages have benefitted him greatly," said Freeze of the Baton Rouge, La. native. "He seems to be letting the game come to him a little more, and you see glimpses that he can be pretty special."

            The team will be off on Monday for the beginning of classes and will resume practice on Tuesday. The coaching staff will also begin implementing their game plan for the season opening game against Big 10 opponent Illinois on Sept. 3.

            Coach Freeze, who begins his first year as a head coach at the Division 1A level following a 4-8 season and the resignation of Steve Roberts, is on the fence about whether the team is at full readiness.

             "I wish I could tell you that I think we are where we need to be, but I can't say that," Freeze said. "But I don't feel bad about us either if that makes any sense. When you are going against yourself all the time, it is really hard to project just how good you can be."

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