Bill Slane

Devils continue to play best football in the second half

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Coming out of the locker room after halftime and playing well is not an easy thing for a team to do. More often than not, it seems that the Sun Devils are able to play their best football in the second half of their games. This is certainly something that the team will need to continue to do as they get deep into their Pac-12 schedule because there are going to be games that they will have to win in the 4th quarter.

When the Sun Devils made the trip out to Palo Alto to play the Cardinal, they came out very flat in the first half. They really couldn’t do too much on either side of the football and went into the locker room at halftime down 29-0. The second half was a whole other story, as the Devils appeared to come back on the field with more life. Starting the half with a Marion Grice touchdown and adding three Taylor Kelly touchdown throws in the 4th quarter.

They did the same this past Saturday night at home versus the Trojans. While they did not come out flat like they did against Stanford, the Devils did play their best football in the second half once again, scoring 42 points in the second half alone compared to the 20 they scored in the first.

Coach Graham was asked about this on Monday and before answering why he feels it has gone this way for his team, he shot down something most people probably believe. Graham said that halftime adjustments from the coaches are not the reason for the team’s success in the second half. Graham said that most of those adjustments are going on with the coaches while the game is going on.

“Our players deserve the credit, all the credit, for that,” coach Graham said.

The key, in coach Graham’s mind, is the team’s training and their work ethic off the field.

“The foundation of our philosophy is training. Our guys have worked. They have invested […] there’s no one that works harder than what we do,” Graham said on Monday.

“Our guys have gotten stronger as the games go on.”

If the way the team has play in the final half is truly a “by-product” of the mental and physical training as coach Graham put it, then maybe there is one coach to thank for getting the team in the right mindset to put in such good work. Shawn Griswold, who currently holds the title of head coach of sports performance, was part of Todd Graham’s staff in Pittsburgh and has been called by Graham “the best strength and conditioning coach in America.”

 

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