A significant portion of spring football practice at Arizona State is being devoted to evaluating the skills of redshirt freshmen tailbacks Loren Wade and Randy Hill.
But sophomore Cornell Canidate on Saturday let his teammates and a few fans attending ASU's scrimmage know he's still around.
Canidate broke off a 64-yard run against the second team defense and turned a screen pass into a 49-yard gain to provide the big plays during the workout at Sun Devil Stadium.
"I couldn't finish it off. I'm upset about that," said Canidate, who was chased down at 1 on his rush by cornerback Emmanuel Franklin. "There was no way they should have caught me."
Canidate's run came with blocking from the first-team offensive line.
"Cornell had the big plays of the day," ASU coach Dirk Koetter said. "Unfortunately, he has the same speed as I do."
Which is one reason Wade and Hill are being auditioned. Koetter has declared senior Mike Williams the starter (for now). Ankle problems ended Canidate's activity at 11 games last year, but he was still ASU's leading rusher.
Canidate said he welcomes the competition and is doing what he can to help Wade and Hill.
"I tell them everything I've learned," he said. "To have them prepared will better our team."
The offense was given more plays than last week's practice and the result was more production.
It was another situation scrimmage with a slant toward the offense working on a short field and defense working to defend a short field. ASU also ran two minute drills twice in both halves.
In the first half, the breakdown was 25 passes called and 24 runs. In the second half it was 22 runs, 18 passes.
Sophomore quarterback Chad Christensen, who began the 2002 season as the starter, struggled and redshirt freshman Kellen Bradley is nipping at his heels for the backup spot.
The defense got in too many good shots at Christensen, and he had to be relieved by Bradley during one second half series after being belted while scrambling. Koetter said Christensen took too many bad sacks. He also didn't run the two-minute drill well. Christensen finished 3-of-8 for 34 yards.
After the scrimmage, Christensen's father was spotted conversing with quarterbacks coach Mark Helfrich.
Junior quarterback Andrew Walter had one of the day's prettiest plays. He concluded his first-half two-minute session with a beautiful 19-yard touch pass to tight end Jamal Lewis over linebacker Justin Burks for a touchdown.
Wade (13 carries, 48 yards) and Hill (10, 36) each delivered a good block, picking up a blitzing linebacker to protect Walter at different times. Canidate had a good block on safety Brett Hudson to allow Walter to complete a 16-yard scoring pass to Skyler Fulton.
In trying to develop the running game, offensive linemen are being shuffled, which slows cohesiveness. Redshirt freshman Andrew Carnahan took two turns with the first team at left tackle in place of Chaz White. Walter worked with Drew Hodgdon and Tony Aguilar at center. Aguilar also played guard. Chad Rosson is playing guard and right tackle.
"We had too many mistakes on offense," Koetter said.
Overall, though, Koetter was pleased that the staff got a lot of work in a variety of areas on film to evaluate for the rest of spring practice, which concludes next Saturday with the annual Maroon-Gold scrimmage.