(Photo: Allyson Cummings/WCSN)
After receiving three of its last four days off, the Sun Devil football team opened its second official week of practice at the Kajikawa Practice Facility Tuesday morning.
“So much of today was about getting refocused and getting reenergized,” head coach Todd Graham stated. “I spent 30 minutes of our meeting time talking about having victorious attitudes and spirited energy every day.”
“I liked their attitude today,” Graham continued. “We talked about not having destructive attitudes. There’s only a certain amount of people who can play. We are going to need all of them.”
No current unit on the Sun Devil squad exemplifies that statement better than the cornerback group.
The assortment of talent at the position is young and inexperienced for the most part (Lloyd Carrington being the only one with legitimate collegiate experience), but Graham has displayed full confidence in this group by essentially platooning the boundary cornerback position based on favorable matchups.
Against Weber State on Thursday, it was redshirt junior Solomon Means who lined up as the starting boundary cornerback, opposite of Lloyd Carrington at the other cornerback position. At practice on Tuesday, freshman Armand Perry replaced Means and assumed first team duties.
All told, Graham emphasized that there are five players (Lloyd Carrington, Solomon Means, Armand Perry, Kweishi Brown and Chad Adams) vying for time at cornerback, and all of them will receive playing time.
“We’re helping each other out. We’re working hard every day,” Perry said. “When I’m getting better, Solomon’s getting better; when Kweishi’s getting better, we’re all just getting better. It’s [about] pushing each other to get the best out of all of us.”
If Perry were to start on Saturday against New Mexico, he would join defensive end Tashon Smallwood and WILL linebacker D.J. Calhoun as the three true freshman to have received starting nods on defense this season.
“It’s real important [to have a quick learning curve],” Perry said. “I’m just gaining the confidence of my teammates. Coach Graham says that I don’t have time to be a freshman. [I make] one play and I could be playing the whole year. I just have to be ready at all times, listen to the coaches and help my team out.”
Defensive Line: Marcus Hardison (End), Jaxon Hood (Nose Tackle), Tashon Smallwood (Tiger), Edmond Boateng (Devilbacker)
Linebackers: Laiu Moeakiola (SPUR), Salamo Fiso (SAM), DJ Calhoun (WILL)
Cornerbacks: Armand Perry (Boundary), Lloyd Carrington (Field)
Safeties: James Johnson (Boundary), Damarious Randall (Field)
– Marcus Ball ran with the second team and shadowed Laiu Moeakiola at SPUR linebacker
– In regards to Ball (who is a redshirt freshman), Graham stated that he likes him up closer to the line of scrimmage and hinted that the move may be permanent due to Ball’s injury history playing safety.
– “[Ball] is one of our best 11 guys,” Graham said. “He is just a couple of weeks behind in his fundamental development. I can tell that he is back to normal and progressing and getting better every day. He has a great spirit.”
– Graham relayed to the media that Jordan Simone and Chad Adams are currently the third and fourth safeties, respectively, on the depth chart.
– Despite still being in a green no-contact jersey, Carlos Mendoza jogged for the first time since suffering a knee injury.
– The Sun Devils rose from No. 19 to No. 17 in the latest AP Poll and from No. 18 to No. 16 in the Coaches’ Poll.