Devils Den Blog

Spring Practice Prospectus


Todd Graham preached redemption at the onset of spring practice, his third as head coach at Arizona State, after an extremely disappointing finish to one of the more productive seasons seen by Sun Devil fans in the past two decades.  Ten win teams have not frequented Frank Kush Field all that often in recent memory, so it was truly unique to hear a head coach talk about unfinished business as organized workouts began on Tuesday.

Much has been said already about the job Todd Graham will have to do to re-shape a team that will need to replace eight starters from the team that played in its first Pac-12 Championship game a season ago, and four more on offense.  Since that fateful night in Tempe, and the poor result in Arizona State’s bowl game that followed later in the month, Graham has had time to re-access and re-tool.  Heading out the door in total were 26 players, many of which were there for Graham’s first spring with the team back in 2012.  Players who transitioned from the former mediocre Dennis Erickson regime, buying into a 180 degree culture change in the football program that has so far revitalized a fan base known more for its fickle support than its overwhelming devotion.  Add to that the recent news that junior wide receiver Richard Smith would be transferring to Boise State and senior guard Sil Ajawara would be moving on to a life outside, and you have to sit back in awe at the amount of roster turnover taking place in 2014.

Not only was their turnover on the active roster, but also departing was a much maligned position coach who seemed to take the full fury from the fan base on many of the Devils struggles centralized on special teams, whether fair or not.  Joining former assistant coach Joe Lorig was the news ASU graduate assistants Trent Figg, Keola Loo, and TJ Rushing had all moved on to full-time coaching jobs at other schools.

But as the weather warms up just in time for spring, so does the introduction of a few early enrollees as well as a new defensive coordinator and new graduate assistants.  That is the beauty of college football: each and every year there will be new blood, for better or for worse.   Tying that together in the weeks ahead we will be discussing each and every starting position up for grabs and what players will be accessed to fill those spots among those currently participating during the spring.  We’ll breakdown the role of the junior college players to the Sun Devil program under the guidance of Todd Graham, and what that means for the 2014 players coming aboard.

So while no one is saying the Devils will be quick to get over the losses of Will Sutton, Carl Bradford, Alden Darby, Osahon Irabor, Marion Grice, Evan Finkenburg, or Chris Coyle; in the upcoming weeks we’ll begin to learn what Graham’s plan is, with a sneak preview on April 19, the Spring Game.  Until then we’ll be tracking the likes of the new guys at practice the likes of linebacker D.J. Calhoun and defensive lineman Edward Boateng, and have a better ideas of what issues still need to be addressed during fall camp.

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