Arizona State head coach Todd Graham discusses Sun Devil leadership at Camp Tontozona.
By Rob Schumacher
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azcentral sports Doug Haller wraps-up Day 3 of ASU football practice at Camp Tontozona.
By Rob Schumacher
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Arizona State coach Todd Graham said he liked applying a little adversity with 3 ‘gassers’ at the end of practice on Tuesday at Camp Tontozona. Video: Doug Haller/azcentral sportsl
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Arizona State head coach Todd Graham talks about defensive back Chase Lucas at Camp Tontozona.
Rob Schumacher/ azcentral sports
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The Sun Devils opened Camp Tontozona on Monday, July 31 with a morning practice on their field tucked amid the pine trees outside Payson, Arizona. Follow @doughaller at week for updates on ASU.
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azcentral sports Greg Moore and Doug Haller wrap up Day 1 at Arizona State’s Camp Tontozona. Video: Rob Schumacher/azcentral sports
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Arizona State football pays an annual visit to Camp Tontozona as part of its preseason training camp every season. Video: azcentral sports
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Coach Todd Graham on his sixth trip to Tontozona and Frank Kush legacy
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Blake Barnett, Chase Lucas, Kalen Ballage and others talk a few favorite moments about Todd Graham. Some even offer up their impressions of their head coach.
Patrick Breen/azcentral sports
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ASU’s head coach gives a quick chat with reporters before Media Day on Saturday.
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Doug Haller from azcentral sports and Paul Myerberg from USA TODAY Sports discuss the Pac-12 Media Days and Arizona State’s chances in 2017. Video: USA TODAY Sports
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USA TODAY Sports’ Paul Myerberg breaks down Day 1 of the PAC-12 media days.
USA TODAY Sports
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Transfers talking about ASU wide receiver depth and new defensive backs. Video: Jeff Metcalfe/azcentral sports
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Quarterbacks Manny Wilkins and Blake Barnett, offensive coordinator Billy Napier and coach Todd Graham discuss the first day of practice.
By Sam Caravana/azcentral sports
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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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ASU’s Todd Graham on Sun Devil leadership
ASU Football: wrapping up Day 3 at Camp T
Tuesday at Camp Tontozona: ‘Probably our best day’
Monday at Camp T: ASU coach Todd Graham
Video: Day 1 at Camp Tontozona for ASU
Day 1 at Camp T: Greg Moore and Doug Haller
What ASU fans should know about Camp Tontozona
ASU football leaves for Camp Tontozona
ASU players share favorite Todd Graham moments
Todd Graham talks shorter halftimes and linebacker depth before camp
Doug Haller at Pac-12 Media Days in Los Angeles
PAC-12 media days: Washington has bullseye on its back
ASU wide receivers John Humphrey and Ryan Newsome
ASU Head Coach Todd Graham, OC Billy Napier and QBs talk after practice
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
CAMP TONTOZONA – With his post-practice weightlifting session over, A.J. McCollum walked across the field looking like a prize fighter. The bearded Arizona State senior center wore a championship belt around his waist, a reward given to the offense for winning the day.
“Pretty cool,” McCollum said.
Give credit to the line.
WEDNESDAY PRACTICE REPORT: Discipline takes a hit
Outside of the secondary, ASU’s offensive line might be the biggest question mark entering coach Todd Graham’s sixth season. Last year, the Sun Devils couldn’t run the ball. They struggled in pass protection. Not much went right.
Under new position coach Rob Sale, the Sun Devils, down two starters from last season, are trying to reverse course, and over the past two days, they’ve made progress here among the pines.
“We’ve had two good days back-to-back,” Sale said. “That’s been the challenge. To stack them on top of each other and not just have a good day, fall back two steps, then move forward two steps, so it was good.”
Graham and his staff keep score throughout practices. In certain drills, it’s offense against defense. Winner gets a point. The defense had won Tuesday. McCollum said Wednesday’s competition came down to the final period on the goal line.
The situation: Third-and-goal from the 2.
Play 1: With senior Frank Ogas lined up at fullback, senior Demario Richard took a hand-off and charged into the first-team defense. Touchdown.
Play 2: Sophomore quarterback Blake Barnett pitched to freshman running back Eno Benjamin. Too easy. Touchdown.
Play 3: Junior quarterback Manny Wilkins rolled left and fired a pass to sophomore tight end Alexander Otero. Touchdown.
Play 4: Freshman running back Trelon Smith broke through the line. Touchdown.
“We got all four,” McCollum said.
Somebody get that belt.
“It just (reflects) the emphasis we’ve been making this camp, getting tougher every day, and there’s no area in football that it matters more than on the goal line, especially for linemen,” junior guard Sam Jones said. “That’s a good competition period. Coach Graham said we were going to start doing it at the end of practice a lot more. It’s just a sign of our team in general of how much tougher we are.”
It’s too early to know how this line will shape up. Even Sale, who joined Graham’s staff in February, is still in discovery, experimenting nearly every day. Example: Three players – McCollum, Jones and sophomore Cade Cote – lined up at first-team center Wednesday.
In addition, junior Quinn Bailey shifted from right tackle to right guard. Sophomore right tackle Zach Robertson moved from second team to first. And sophomore Steven Miller shifted from right guard to left tackle, although that was mostly because two linemen were out with minor injuries.
“A couple guys have been in different spots, and when you do that you get to see what other guys can do,” Sale said. “You also push the buttons of other guys and see how they respond.”
Sale is different than his predecessor. Last year Graham said previous offensive line coach Chris Thomsen (now working at Texas Christian, where he once played) reminded him of legendary coach Tom Landry, just in how he went about things.
Sale might be the opposite. On the field, he looks like he’s in a foul mood. He barks commands. While Thomsen preferred to do a lot of correcting in his office, Sale gets the process started on the field.
“Complete 180 from Coach Thomsen,” sophomore left tackle Cohl Cabral said. “He’s loud and he lights a fire under your butt.”
Another difference is Jones. Last year, he was a strong voice in the position room, but this season he has taken leadership of the entire team.
“We nicknamed him supreme leader,” Cabral said.
Nine days in, it’s a good start. At this point, Sale said a sixth, seventh and eighth lineman has started to emerge. The next step: settling on a first five.
And keeping that belt.
“I think I’m going to put it in my cabin, where nobody can find it,” Jones said.
Contact Doug Haller at 602-444-4949 or at [email protected] Follow him at Twitter.com/DougHaller. Download and subscribe to the ASU Pick Six Podcast, available on iTunes. Download the ASU XTRA app for iPhone and Android.
Camp Tontozona schedule
Thursday: 8:35 to 11:20 a.m.
Friday: Special teams walk-through, 9-11:30 a.m.
Saturday: 9:30 a.m.-noon, followed by autograph session.
Directions: Camp Tontozona is located at 235 S Camp Tontozona Rd., in Payson. From Phoenix, take 87N to Payson. Turn right on 260E and got 17 miles.