(Photo: Sun Devil Athletics)
The Sun Devils practiced early Tuesday morning at Sun Devil Stadium for the final time before suiting up for the season-opener against Weber State in two days.
The team was fired up and flying around for the duration that was open to the media, and head coach Todd Graham reflected that sentiment in the post-practice interview.
“Good Thursday practice. I feel really good. Our guys are excited. Can’t wait till these guys get on the field and compete,” Graham said.
Despite being massively favored against a Weber State team that went 2-10 overall and 0-7 on the road last year, Graham listed various focal points that will be monitored closely during Thursday’s contest.
Among them, he acknowledged the dismal special teams play of last season. Yet with so much attention devoted to kicking, coverage and returning in fall camp, he anticipates much better results in 2014.
Graham also referenced his talented cornerback crew of Lloyd Carrington, Solomon Means, Armand Perry, Kweishi Brown and Chad Adams—a unit which he coaches—as a group that he is anxious to watch in game action.
“These are not my favorite games, as you know,” Graham said. “I’d much rather play in the big games because there is a lot less unknown. [There was not much information] but we have researched where the coordinators are from and all that. We’ve gone through every possible formation you can line up in.”
Even though a season opener against an FCS school might not be the most exciting start to the season, Graham said he will have his team ready to play.
“I was talking to our players today about how you compete and the passion and the intensity that it takes,” Graham said. “We’re going to get after it. How we compete and the intense focus that we have is the foundation that we are laying for the championships that are coming.”
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: Solomon Means (Boundary), Lloyd Carrington (Field)
Safeties: Jordan Simone (Boundary), Damarious Randall (Field)
– Defensive back Marcus Ball is scheduled to find out this afternoon if he has full medical clearance for Thursday.
– Ball was in pads and was slotted with the second team defense (behind Jordan Simone) at Tuesday’s practice.
– Edmond Boetang appears to have secured a starting spot at Devilbacker, which means that De’Marieya Nelson will see the bulk of his playing time at tight end.