(Photo: Scotty Bara/WCSN)
If there was one thing to learn from Wednesday’s practice, it was that the Sun Devils are on to the next week, and it was made clear by offensive coordinator Mike Norvell.
“I’m not focused on last week anymore,” Norvell said. “Pretty much got past that Sunday night when we started taking a look at Cal Poly… my focus is not on what was last week, we’re focused on correcting and improving what we’re doing, and making sure that we’re putting our guys in the best position to be successful.”
Plain and simple, they’re on to Cal Poly.
Daily Situational Drill:
In today’s edition of the late-game situation, Coach Graham put 56 seconds on the clock, the offense had no timeouts, and had to gain 30 yards to get into field goal range. What made the drill unique this time around, was that the defense was in the nickel package.
This means that a few changes were made in the personnel on the defense from what we regularly see in this drill. Sophomore linebacker DJ Calhoun and redshirt freshman linebacker Ismael Murphy-Richardson were on the field, and redshirt junior linebacker Salamo Fiso (who had eight tackles against Texas A&M) was the first to sub in to replace Calhoun.
Another standout difference in the lineup on the defensive side was senior cornerback Kweishi Brown playing the nickel corner position, and redshirt senior Solomon Means was lined up out wide where Brown typically is.
Offensively, the most notable difference was who was lined up at left tackle, which was freshman Sam Jones. This idea likely arose from the domination of Texas A&M defensive end Myles Garrett’s destruction of that side of the line from the week one matchup.
As for the drill itself, the offense couldn’t get it going. Senior cornerback Lloyd Carrington broke up two passes, and a potential touchdown was dropped by redshirt sophomore wide receiver Ellis Jefferson.
Awaking the Passing Game:
In the loss to Texas A&M, redshirt senior quarterback Mike Bercovici was 25-41, with only 199 yards. That put the Sun Devils at only four yards per completion, which is the exact same number as Texas A&M had per rush.
Jefferson was one of the only Sun Devil receivers to average more than ten yards per catch, even though it was at a point in the game where the Sun Devils were forced to try and make plays in the air.
Despite everything that could be learned from the game, the receiving corps is moving on and preparing for the next game.
“There’s room for improvement,” Jefferson said. “We moved on when we came to Sunday and it was on to the next game.”
Although the plays in the air didn’t come as frequently as some may have expected, no matter how many times the ball is thrown, the receivers still have an important duty in the run game.
“It doesn’t matter about catching the ball,” Jefferson said. “We need to make sure we block too, so it was both sides. We just need to make sure we make our blocks and when the ball is thrown to us make our catches and I think we did that.”
Because of this, Jefferson doesn’t see a problem with limited opportunities in the passing game.
“When an opportunity comes your way, you make sure you take advantage of it,” Jefferson said.
That was the problem in Jefferson’s eyes, making the most of their chances.
“I think we all could’ve made more plays,” Jefferson said. “I think that there was opportunities there that we didn’t take advantage of, but we’ll definitely fix it.”
Regardless of the outcome of the passing attack against Texas A&M, don’t expect any changes come Saturday against Cal Poly.
“There’s no adjustments,” Jefferson said. “We’re just moving on. Just the next game, and we’ll be prepared for them.”
– Senior center Nick Kelly and redshirt junior tackle Evan Goodman in green jerseys.
– Coach Graham did not speak after practice
– Wide receiver Tim White took reps with the first-team.