MOSCOW, Idaho – Back at Arizona State, Ryan Bass used to listen to Dennis Erickson talk about the players he coached at the University of Idaho. That was pretty much all he knew of the Vandals – or anything related to Idaho
But then he decided to transfer, and Robb Akey quickly called when he heard Bass was looking for another school.
Landing in Moscow soon felt like the right move.
“I saw myself here,” said Bass, a heralded junior running back who made a definite impression in the Vandals’ first spring scrimmage Saturday.
Bass ripped off the most electric run of the morning, a 60-yard scamper for a touchdown to liven up an otherwise dreary outing from the Vandals’ offense. He was one of the few bright spots Akey mentioned after a bitterly cold, wind-swept 90-minute session at the UI outdoor practice field.
Bass, a 5-foot-9, 209-pound tailback who sat out the 2010 season, showcased an explosive running style in limited action. Although he’s been with the second-team offense this spring, he figures to be in the mix with Princeton McCarty and Kama Bailey for carries in the fall.
But he sees his role as much more substantial than that.
“Coming from Arizona State, I played two years there,” Bass said. “I’m looking to become a starter here and do big things.
“I want to get about 20 carries a game. That’s my goal this year. And I’m going to keep working hard.”
Bass acknowledged his playing time will be determined by the coaching staff. Already, though, Akey and Bass’ teammates are pleased to see his physical approach and quickness.
“I think we saw what his speed is capable of doing,” Akey said. “Granted, that was against our (No.) 2 defense, but he’s going to get more opportunity.”
“You want as (many) playmakers as you can,” left tackle Matt Cleveland said. “Adding Ryan Bass, it really boosted our arsenal.”
Bass was highly recruited out of Centennial High in Corona, Calif., where he finished his prep career with 47 rushing touchdowns as a senior. But once he got to ASU, he said he didn’t mesh with his position coach.
He saw action as a true freshman in 2008. The following year, after playing in seven games for the Sun Devils, he was suspended for a team rules violation.
“I just wanted to do things different,” he said of transferring. “This is my future. I’m trying to make it pro, and I just thought leaving was the best choice for me. So that’s what I did.”
Dropped passes irk Akey
Neither starter Brian Reader nor Taylor Davis, who saw most of the time as second-team quarterback, put up impressive passing numbers in rough throwing conditions. But perhaps half of their 14 combined incompletions were the result of drops from receivers.
“It was a little sloppier that I’d like to see. I’m not going to lie to you there,” Akey said. “But I did I see some things on both sides of the ball that were good.”
Preston Davis (three catches for 43 yards) and Landon Weaver (five for 31 yards) led the Vandals in receiving.
Taylor Elmo, who’s expected to play a prominent role at tight end, will miss the rest of spring practice with a broken bone in his left foot. His injury won’t require surgery, Akey said, and he should be fully healed for summer workouts
Offensive guard Jordan Johnson (ribs) left midway through the scrimmage and didn’t return. He was replaced on the first unit by Bilal Liggins. The Vandals were also without offensive lineman Guy Reynolds (knee).
Three players missed the scrimmage because of concussions: receiver Armauni Johnson, tight end Michael LaGrone and offensive lineman Larry Dugan.