Center Garth Gerhart's sprained ankle doesn't sound as serious as coach Dennis Erickson originally thought, and the 302-pound senior has a chance to play this Saturday when Arizona State travels to Salt Lake City to play Utah.
Gerhart has been regarded as ASU's best offensive lineman, and when one looks around football at all levels these days and sees the importance of the center-quarterback snap exchange (see New York Jets this past Sunday, Dallas Cowboys last week), it's easy to see how critical Gerhart is to the Devils and QB Brock Osweiler.
That said, Erickson had this to say about his center Monday:
"He'll get treated but there's the possibility that he could play," Erickson said. "If not, Kody (Koebensky, a sophomore who filled in for Gerhart during last Saturday's game) will play. Andrew Sampson (starting right guard) will be in there, will be the backup center...
"I don't know that Garth will be able to practice much even if he does play. Kody, he did a commendable job, I thought, Saturday night," Erickson added. "Andrew was our backup last year so it's not like it's a hard move for him. We've got some moves that we can make up front. We can always move (starting right tackle Dan) Knapp inside if Aderious (Simmons) is healthy. Adam Tello can play in there... but to answer you're question, yeah, he (Gerhart) has a chance to play."
Koebensky, Erickson said, will be better this week if he has to play because he got game experience against Oregon State, and Koebensky will run with the first-team offense in practice.
"That position is the hardest position to play in football. To me, it's almost like losing a quarterback," Erickson said of playing center.
At another position, kicker, Erickson expressed faith in kicker Alex Garoutte, in part because the team doesn't have many options. Garoutte missed a 35-yard try in the second quarter Saturday, his only attempt of the game, and is 3 of 6 this season with two misses from 30 to 39 yards.
"In practice, he's kicking it good, he's kicked off extremely well," Erickson said of Garoutte. "It's focus and just getting confidence. To me the worst thing you can do is start moving kickers around, try this guy, try that guy.. Alex is our kicker and he'll get better."