ASU LB Martin expect to play vs. Beavers
TEMPE, Ariz. — Though no specific details came out of Tuesday’s practice, it appears Arizona State junior linebacker Steffon Martin got good news from an MRI on his right arm Monday.
Martin, who suffered the injury in third quarter of last Saturday’s loss to UCLA, participated in practice wearing a green “no contact” jersey and said afterward the injury was related to his elbow. He could not provide further details.
“I’m feeling better,” Martin said. “I wanted to come back (Saturday), but I just couldn’t really raise my arm so they didn’t let me come back in. When you’re a linebacker and you can’t raise your arm, you’ll get messed up pretty bad.”
Martin is not sure exactly how he suffered the injury. He wore a brace on his arm Tuesday and he proclaimed confidently he would be back for Saturday’s road game against Oregon State.
“I’m playing Saturday,” Martin said. “There’s no ifs, ands or buts about it. I’ll be on the field.”
Junior defensive tackle Will Sutton’s status remains unclear. Sutton did more at practice Tuesday than he has since suffering a bone bruise in ASU’s Oct. 18 loss to Oregon, but coach Todd Graham did not offer any update on Sutton’s status.
Sutton participated in installation sessions Tuesday and could be seen jogging but also spent time conditioning on the sidelines. Sutton did not participate in the first portion of team drills, but because media is only allowed to view the first hour of ASU practices, it’s now known if he participated later.
Junior defensive end Junior Onyeali (shoulder) was also dressed for practice Tuesday, but how much he participated is not clear.
“We had all our guys out (at practice),” Graham said. “We got a chance to have a lot of them back, so we’re excited about that.”
Graham said in his weekly radio interview with 620 KTAR on Monday that ASU committed “four critical errors” Saturday on UCLA’s final drive, which led to the winning field goal as time expired. In particular, he noted certain situations called for six defenders to rush the quarterback but only three did so.
“We had guys playing in new positions,” Graham said Tuesday. “We had some guys that are linebackers that were having to play rush defensive end and just didn’t rush. I think they knew to rush but didn’t. Whatever the excuse is, we just had mental errors, and those are critical errors that really were tough.”
UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley struggled at time under pressure Saturday, so presumably Graham wanted to keep him off balance as ASU attempted to keep the Bruins out of field-goal range. But with Sutton and Onyeali both out, ASU’s defensive line was thin.
“More mental errors happen because you’ve got a lot of people on the field that haven’t repped as much,” Graham said. “So hopefully we have some guys back (this week) and be able to be at full strength.”