For an ASU Sun Devil football team that's taken its share of injury blows, Thursday's report from head coach Dennis Erickson comes as a relief. From the sound of things, running back Cameron Marshall is making progress with his ankle and safety Eddie Elder should play on Saturday against USC in the first conference game of the season.
"Cam (Marshall) is better, looks like he'll play. Eddie Elder got cleared with the concussion and so he's ready to go. Aderious (Simmons, OL) will probably be a back up, he's a lot better. Hopefully, he don't have to play him," Erickson said.
There was also good news for start defensive lineman, Jr. Onyeali who suffered a knee injury early in the game against Illinois. Originally, there was a chance that the pass rusher would miss the entire season but after having surgery the news is better.
"Jr. (Onyeali) had his surgery. It looks like he can probably be back in four to six weeks, right in that area. Talking with doc when they went in today, because they didn't know, they had to shave down the meniscus and all that stuff so it's a four to six week deal depending on the rehab and all that," ASU's coach reported.
If Marshall can't play or is limited, expect to see backup RB James Morrison in short yardage situations.
"I'm sure they're trying to get in his head. Everybody we play does. We'll see how he plays."
At the same time, Erickson added, "He's got to play like he plays and not hold down the aggressiveness that's made him a great football player. But again, snap to whistle. Not after or before, that's the biggest issue."
Asked about the improvement the defense showed against Illinois, Erickson pointed out that the Illini aren't the offensive team that Missouri or USC are. "They are playing better but now have to face (USC wide receivers) Robert Woods and Marqise Lee."
Asked who would cover Woods, he said, "Whoever volunteers."