Tape It Up: Arizona State: Devils Took The Linebackers

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Arizona State: Devils Took The Linebackers

Arizona State can attribute some of last week's basting at the hands of Oregon to the semi-MIA status of linebackers Morris Wooten and Gerald Munns, who were both on the injured list last week. Wooten's thumb and Munns' knee are not tweaked seriously enough to keep them out of this week's game at UCLA, which is good news for the Sun Devils' rotation. Mike Nixon can now go back to filling in at all three linebacker positions, instead of starting, and Arizona State can go back to its winning ways.

Wooten ranks fifth on the team in tackles, with 37, has one broken up pass and a forced fumble on the season. A redshirt junior, Wooten has six starts this season but has seen time in all nine games. He stepped back into his middle linebacker position in mid-week practices after Nixon had taken over the starting role at that spot for the past two weeks. Nixon moved to the strong side, but the two should rotate on Saturday along with Munns, Travis Goethel and Robert James for a total of five linebackers.

Wooten is still wearing a cast on his right hand, which has kept him limited for two weeks.

"I didn't feel comfortable out there," Wooten said. "But after seeing the team take a loss, I want to come back and have a role in helping the team win some big games down the stretch."

Several other Sun Devils were banged up against the Ducks, as well. Defensive lineman Dane Gunthrie suffered a concussion, but no one realized it until Tuesady. The oversight makes the junior end questionable for this week, and should raise some questions about just how thorough Arizona State's medical staff is in its post-game player assessments.

Guard Paul Fanaika, who has been out with an ankle injury, was moving well on the sidelines during mid-week practices and should play against UCLA on Saturday, as should receiver Chris McGaha, who is recovering from a knee injury. Safety Jeremy Payton's ankle injury will keep him off the field for at least another week.

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