Members of the media were given their first look at the new Student Athlete Facility in the north end zone of Sun Devil Stadium. The facility is state of the art, according to Head Coach Todd Graham.
Tom Tingle/azcentral sports
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ASU football ended summer workouts on Wednesday, July 19 with its tradition of breaking a rock.
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Fans of Arizona State football should keep these key dates in mind as the Sun Devils’ preseason approaches.
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Raul Monreal, 45, Chandler, brings flowers to the statue of Arizona State University Head Coach Frank Kush outside Sun Devil Stadium, Thursday, June 22, 2017. Monreal, from ASU Class of 1995, is a big fan of Kush. Tom Tingle/azcentral.com
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Former ASU coach Frank Kush leaves a lasting memory for Sun Devil fans.
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Ray Anderson (ASU Vice President for Athletics) talks about ASU’s new club level seating at Sun Devil Stadium on June 23, 2017.
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Jay Dieffenbach and Dan Bickley give tribute to former ASU football coach Frank Kush and discuss the NBA draft in our Shot Clock video.
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A look at each game in the Sun Devils’ 2017 season
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Here are 10 Arizona State football players whose performance in 2017 will go a long way toward determining if the Sun Devils will have their first winning season since 2014.
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azcentral sports’ Jeff Metcalfe takes a look at some pressing issues for the Sun Devils heading into 2017.
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Jay Dieffenbach and Doug Haller discuss: Will it be newcomer Blake Barnett, or will Manny Wilkins hold on to the job? Video: azcentral sports
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Jeff Metcalfe takes a closer look at some of the top issues surrounding the Sun Devils football team. Video: azcentral sports
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The college football season doesn’t start until the fall but it’s never too early to start looking ahead.
USA TODAY Sports
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Wide receivers, including John Humphrey and Ryan Newsome, were the headliners Saturday at the Arizona State football spring game.
Credit: Jeff Metcalfe, David Kadlubowski/Arizona Republic
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Offensive highlights from ASU’s spring game on Saturday.
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Hyperlapse of ASU’s spring football game.
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Here’s what you need to know before you head to ASU’s Spring Game and Fan Fest on Saturday.
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Arizona State head football coach Todd Graham talks about his team’s second spring scrimmage on Friday, April 7. Video: Jeff Metcafle/azcentral sports
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ASU football coach Todd Graham talks about Demario Richard, Christian Hill and more after spring practice on Wednesday, April 5.
Credit: Jeff Metcalfe, Nick Oza/Arizona Republic
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ASU defensive line coach Michael Slater gives instructions to his players at Monday’s workout in Tempe. Video: azcentral sports
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Coach Todd Graham says defense came out ahead by limiting big plays during ASU’s first spring scrimmage on Wednesday. Jeff Metcalfe/azcentral sports
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Arizona State football completed its sixth spring practice Friday at Sun Devil Stadium with nine practices remaining over the next three weeks. The spring game is April 15.
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ASU football coach Todd Graham discusses hiring Danny White and Dave Christensen as consultants. Jeff Metcalfe/azcentral sports
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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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Coach Todd Graham gives tour of new Student Athlete Facility
ASU football: Breaking of the rock
Important dates for ASU football’s 2017 preseason
Paying homage to ASU legend Frank Kush
ASU football legend Frank Kush passes away at 88
ASU’s West Side Club at Sun Devil Stadium
Mixed emotions: Kush’s death; draft excitement
Breaking down Arizona State football’s 2017 schedule
ASU football – 10 players to watch in 2017
ASU football: 5 areas of concern
Who will be the starting QB at ASU?
5 observations from ASU spring football
Early preseason top 10 college football teams for 2017
Wide receivers shine in ASU football spring game
ASU shows off some offense in spring game
Sights from ASU football’s spring game
2017 ASU Spring Game & Fan Fest
Todd Graham: ‘The big thing is to get better fundamentally’
ASU coach Graham on Richard, Hill and more
ASU defensive line coach Michael Slater gives instructions at practice
Todd Graham speaks after ASU holds first spring scrimmage
ASU football completes second week of spring practice
Todd Graham on new consultants White, Christensen
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
Statistically, Arizona State’s defense has gotten worse every year under coach Todd Graham.
In 2012, the Sun Devils allowed 24.3 points per game. Last year, they gave up 39.8, the most over a full season in school history. With practice starting Tuesday, Graham and his staff will look for answers that have plagued the program for two seasons.
ASU arguably is coming off the worst defensive season in school history. Big plays no longer are a season issue, they’re a program issue. In 2015, the Sun Devils gave up 30 40-yard plays, most in the nation. Last year was worse. ASU gave up 33 40-yard plays (most in the nation) and 23 50-yarders (most of any team over the last seven season.) As a result, ASU has fielded the nation’s worst pass defense the last two seasons. Obviously, that’s a difficult way to win. Five starters return.
In January, Graham hired Phil Bennett as defensive coordinator. Bennett replaced Keith Patterson, who remained on staff as linebackers coach. Bennett, 61, brings a ton of experience. He has run defenses at Baylor, Iowa State, Purdue, LSU, Texas A&M, TCU, Kansas State and Pittsburgh. From 2002-2007, he was head coach at SMU, where he went 18-51.
- Who makes the calls? As everyone knows, Graham is a defensive-minded coach. After pretty much running the defense his first few years, he relinquished some control to Patterson, his former college teammate and close friend. It’s unknown how Bennett’s arrival will change things, but it’s difficult to think Graham won’t continue to have his fingerprints on this, especially with his job possibly at stake.
- How will the secondary shape up? This group struggled last season, and then over the offseason it lost its top two returners. Safety Armand Perry retired because of health issues and cornerback Kareem Orr transferred out of the program. That’s not good. ASU needs its returners (such as seniors Maurice Chandler and Chad Adams) to take significant steps and its newcomers to adjust quickly.
- Is there enough depth? Injuries affect every team, every season. The last two years, however, ASU has not had enough depth to overcome them. This season, ASU looks thin at nearly every spot.
- JoJo Wicker. The junior defensive end – one of Graham’s prized defensive recruits – arrived in 2015 with great potential. Last season, he took a significant step in reaching it with 11 tackles for loss, earning All-Pac-12 second-team honors. Wicker needs to be even better for this season’s defense to have a chance.
- Koron Crump. Usually, it takes junior-college transfers – especially those on defense – a season to adjust. Crump, however, wasted no time last season, collecting 10.5 tackles for loss, including a team-high nine quarterback sacks. At 6-3, 222 pounds, he’s among the team’s best athletes.
- Marcus Ball. For four years, ASU never seemed sure what to do with Ball, moving him back and forth from spur linebacker to safety. Midway through last season, mostly because of injuries, ASU moved Ball to bandit safety and kept him there. Ball played well. A physical presence, he led ASU in tackles for four consecutive games, finishing with 64, second-most on the team. The key for this season: staying healthy.
- Christian Sam. Often overlooked in last season’s issues: The Sun Devils played nearly the entire season without Sam – a starting linebacker and one of their better players– because of a season-ending ankle injury. As a sophomore, Sam had posted 98 tackles, second most on the team. Now healthy, he should give the Sun Devils a boost.
- Malik Lawal. Last season, Graham said Lawal would have a role, most likely as a third-down pass rusher. That never really happened, but it could this season. A sophomore linebacker, Lawal is among the unit’s most explosive players.
- Renell Wren. The only thing keeping Wren off annual preseason “Freaks” lists is playing time. For the past two years, the junior defensive lineman – 6-5 and 295 pounds – has had trouble getting and staying on the field. His adjustment period has expired. Even Wren admits: It’s time for him to produce.
- With the right personnel, ASU’s attacking defense has been effective, and at times, dominant. Problem is, Graham has not had the right personnel in a while. After two poor seasons – and with Bennett on board – it will be interesting to see what changes are made. Trying to do the same thing likely won’t end well.
- Senior linebacker D.J. Calhoun was last season’s leading tackler, but even he admitted he didn’t have a great year. He felt his ball pursuit was lacking. His pass drops weren’t good. At his best, Calhoun is a playmaker, someone who can force turnovers. This season, ASU needs all that and more.
- Speaking of turnovers, ASU last season produced only 17 takeaways, fewest of the Graham era. (In 2012, the Sun Devils had 30. In 2013, they had 33.) Any sort of reversal starts with improvement here.