(Photo: ASU Athletics)
Every Monday Todd Graham holds a press conference to discuss the previous week and Arizona State’s upcoming opponent. We’ll try to decipher what exactly the second-year Sun Devil’s head coach is saying during his often long-winded, sometimes funny, and always entertaining and informative media sessions.
Note: All quotes were transcribed by Sun Devil Athletics.
Graham (on the defense giving up big runs): This has got to get better and I think it can. That is our number one focus. Focusing fundamentally on getting lined up. I do think there are some personnel issues. We will make some moves that we have to do to get kind of straight.
Translation: Graham prefaced this by saying the issues aren’t to the boundary side of the field, and he is right. Osahon Irabor has been the best run defender on the team, and he is the boundary corner. The issue has been at field corner, where Robert Nelson is just too small and not strong enough to get off blocks, and field safety, where neither Laiu Moeakiola nor Damarious Randall have taken good routes to the ball. USC exploited this just as Wisconsin did, and it needs to get fixed or the Sun Devils are in trouble.
Graham: Is it more important than the Pac-12 games? No, it is not.
Translation: Notre Dame is a huge game, but you don’t get to the Rose Bowl by beating them. The goal should be to win, because beating Notre Dame has a mystique about it, and that will help the program nationally. But just getting away healthy and preparing for the rest of the Pac-12 schedule is just as important.
Graham: There were some things we did last week that we want to focus on. One of the big things was his ability to hurt people with his legs. That is important.
Translation: Uhhhhhh…maybe we should let Taylor Kelly run more. He did, after all, have two huge runs against USC. Also, he is still a better runner than Eubank. Faster? Nope. More athletic? Not at all. But Eubank doesn’t understand the game of football. He is still stuck in high school mode, where he could just use his athleticism to beat people. Welcome to college football, where you can’t do that. Stop playing Eubank!
Graham: Obviously, the number one focus is to win the game but this is exciting to the guys. Looking sharp is part of being a champion and part of the educational process and teaching our players that if you want to be successful it looks a certain way, it speaks a certain way, it walks a certain way and it plays a certain way, and it works a certain way and that is what this is all about.
Translation: If it works for Oregon, it will work for us, right? Hey, where’s Phil Knight?
Graham: I was very involved. I am pretty much involved in most everything we do.
Translation: I’ve taken it upon myself to make sure that I agree with what our uniforms look like. Did you think differently? I’m a self-admitted control freak, of course I’d be involved in the process.
You can reach Jason Galvin on Twitter @Jason_Galvin or by email firstname.lastname@example.org