ASU football coach Todd Graham discusses hiring Danny White and Dave Christensen as consultants. Jeff Metcalfe/azcentral sports
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Arizona State football has completed a third of spring practice, five of its allowed 15 practices.
Credit: Jeff Metcalfe, Rob Schumacher/Arizona Republic
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Arizona State football began the second week of spring practice Monday. The Sun Devils also will practice Wednesday and have a closed scrimmage Friday this week.
Credit: Jeff Metcalfe/Arizona Republic
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Wide receivers Ryan Newsome and John Humphrey – transfers to Arizona State from Texas and Oklahoma – discuss playing as sophomores in 2017 after sitting out last season. Credit: Jeff Metcalfe, David Wallace/Arizona Republic
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Quarterback Blake Barnett, a transfer from Alabama, is in his first year at Arizona State. He is competing with four returners to be the starting QB.
Credit: Jeff Metcalfe, Rob Schumacher, Nick Oza, Thomas Hawthorne/Arizona Republic
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Arizona State head coach Todd Graham discusses the first day of football spring practice on March 14, 2017 at the Kajikawa Practice Facility in Tempe, Ariz. By Rob Schumacher/azcentral sports
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ASU football begins sixth season under coach Todd Graham with five new assistant coaches. (Jeff Metcalfe/azcentral sports)
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Transfer quarterback Blake Barnett talks about coming to ASU to compete for the starting job on Wednesday. Thomas Hawthorne/azcentral sports
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Arizona State offensive coordinator Billy Napier discusses the first day of football spring practice on March 14, 2017 at the Kajikawa Practice Facility in Tempe, Ariz. By Rob Schumacher/azcentral sports
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ASU football coach Todd Graham talks about the challenge of hiring “good people” and losing them to other schools entering ASU’s 2017 season on Wednesday. Thomas Hawthorne/azcentral sports
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New ASU offensive coordinator Billy Napier talks about the culture at ASU and working for Todd Graham on Wednesday. Thomas Hawthorne/azcentral sports
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ASU quarterback Manny Wilkins talks about how his injuries frustrated him last season on Wednesday. Thomas Hawthorne/azcentral sports
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New ASU defensive coordinator Phil Bennett talks about his friendship with head coach Todd Graham and his thoughts going into the 2017 season. Thomas Hawthorne/azcentral sports
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ASU head football coach Todd Graham talks about the two quarterback recruits, Blake Barnett and Ryan Kelley, on Signing Day on Wednesday. David Wallace/azcentral sports
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ASU head football coach Todd Graham talks about top running back recruit Eno Benjamin on Signing Day on Wednesday. David Wallace/azcentral sports
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ASU head football coach Todd Graham talks about ASU’s signees on National Signing Day on Wednesday. David Wallace/azcentral sports
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Here’s a look at some of the top underclassmen planning on entering the 2017 NFL Draft.
USA TODAY Sports
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Head coaches in the college football playoff won’t be the only coaches reaping the benefits.
USA TODAY Sports
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The early front-runner became the first Louisville Cardinal to hoist the prestigious award.
USA TODAY Sports
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Dan Bickley: Let’s not forget, this was never a season of high expectations. But clearly, Todd Graham needs to change some things. Video: azcentral sports
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Todd Graham talks about ASU’s 56-35 loss to Arizona in the Territorial Cup. (Thomas Hawthorne/azcentral sports)
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azcentral sports’ Doug Haller and Paola Boivin discuss Arizona’s 56-35 beatdown on ASU in the Territorial Cup. (Thomas Hawthorne/azcentral sports)
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At its annual Legends Luncheon during Homecoming week Friday, ASU honored its 1986 football team, which won the school’s first Pac-10 title and beat Michigan in the 1987 Rose Bowl. John Cooper, ASU coach from 1985-87, is being inducted into the ASU Athletic Hall of Fame.
Video: Jeff Metcalfe/Arizona Republic
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Todd Graham on new consultants White, Christensen
ASU football completes fifth spring practice
ASU football begins second week of spring practice
ASU WRs Ryan Newsome and John Humphrey discuss eligibility
ASU QB Blake Barnett on starting spring
Todd Graham on opening of ASU spring practice
ASU football opens spring practice
Transfer QB Blake Barnett on coming to ASU to compete
Billy Napier discusses first day of ASU practice
Todd Graham talks staffing challenges, 2017 season
ASU offensive coordinator Billy Napier talks working for Graham
ASU quarterback Manny Wilkins on last season’s injuries
ASU DC Phil Bennett on friendship with Graham, 2017 season
ASU coach Todd Graham on QBs Barnett, Kelley
ASU coach Todd Graham on top RB recruit Eno Benjamin
ASU coach Todd Graham on National Signing Day
Top underclassmen entering the NFL draft early
College Football Playoff is lucrative for assistant coaches
Lamar Jackson wins 2016 Heisman Trophy
Strictly Bickley: It’s the right call for ASU to stick with Todd Graham
Todd Graham talks about ASU’s loss to Arizona
Doug Haller, Paola Boivin discuss the Territorial Cup aftermath
ASU honors 1987 Rose Bowl football team
Danny White is more than a name-only addition to the Arizona State football coaching staff.
But that doesn’t take away from the symbolic importance of ASU’s greatest player rejoining the program. White stood No. 1 in an Arizona Republic 2013 ranking of the top 50 Sun Devils and tops most other such lists since starring as a quarterback and punter from 1971-73.
“I wanted to hire a Sun Devil,” said Todd Graham, going into his sixth season as football coach. “Danny’s a great Sun Devil. He loves this place.”
Graham hired White and former Wyoming head coach Dave Christensen as consultants before the start of spring practice, now in its second week. White also will work as an ambassador with the Sun Devil Club booster arm. Both are regulars at practices, where they are not allowed to directly coach but can contribute to staff evaluations and film study, and in the fall, game planning and grading.
WEDNESDAY PRACTICE REPORT: Manny Wilkins has ‘raised his game’
“I’m still figuring it out, what I can and can’t do,” White said. “The job description is pretty open. There’s a lot of things they’d like for me to help with. Right now, it’s learning all the coaches’ names and the system and how it’s working. All the guys are learning the defense and offense and terminology, and I’m right there with them, more like a player mentally than a coach.”
White, a championship and Hall of Fame head coach in the Arena League for 16 years, and Christensen, with 35 years of college coaching tenure, will have the Xs and Os down soon enough. Already, they are providing what Graham wanted, veteran eyes to see things others might miss.
Graham promised a hard look at all facets of his team after a sixth straight loss, 56-35 at Arizona, ended a second straight losing season. He has five new full-time assistants, including both coordinators. Not all the staff changes are directly related to ASU’s 11-14 record since 2015, but it’s clear that Graham, under contract through June 30, 2021, followed through with a willingness to make changes.
Graham said hiring consultants came from a “self awareness standpoint, I need to get better. I just want to win. Whatever it takes to win. Every single day, they’re giving me input. Here’s a couple of guys that have a lot of diverse years in football. There’s already been little things that Danny has said you might want to look at this,” regarding where quarterbacks were holding the ball. “Sometimes just to have someone to sit back and say you might to look at this, this is something over here we might need to have attention to.”
For White, the chance to positively impact his alma mater is gratifying and comes at a crossroads in his life. His wife, Jo Lynn, died last year and his father, Wilford “Whizzer” White, a football giant at ASU from 1947-50 (No. 9 on Arizona Republic top 50), died in 2013. He has been a Dallas Cowboys radio analyst since 2011 (White played for the Cowboys from 1976-88) and will continue in that role, but at 65, he is ecstatic to be back on the field.
“It feels really good to be standing there during practice watching and evaluating,” said White, who went 32-4 while playing for ASU with wins in the first three Fiesta Bowls. “It’s what I’m made to do. I know my dad’s happy for me to have this opportunity, to be a member of the family with some input and able to help. It’s all because of Coach Graham, this was his idea and I love him for it. I’m so impressed with the staff’s work ethic, the way they work together and how dedicated they all are to get ASU back where it belongs.
“It’s coming at a great time for me. It’s important to me to be involved not only with football but football at ASU. It’s genetic with me. I can’t help it. I was born with ASU blood in me. It wouldn’t be nearly as satisfying if I was doing it someplace else. The guys are a lot younger and a lot of things have changed, but it’s still ASU and still the Sun Devils. It’s always been a second home for me.”