(Photo: Sun Devil Athletics)
Every Monday Arizona State football coach 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. All quotes transcribed by Sun Devil Athletics. While some of what we’ve decoded may sound like Coach, remember Graham’s actual words are in italics.
Graham: There was a great sense of urgency throughout camp. We knew exactly what we were facing in Week 2.
Translation: As much as I tried to tell everyone during the last month that the Sun Devils weren’t looking past Sacramento State, we were, but you knew that, and of course it’s good news. ASU was clearly focused on the future while still preparing for the present, and the performance on the field showed this team can handle that type of responsibility. Also, come on. It was Sac State.
Graham: The key for us on offense is taking care of the football. We must be able to establish the run and take what they give us. It really depends on what they do … Our philosophy offensively is to focus on us, focus on taking care of the football and take what they give us.
Translation: Did you know I hate turnovers? I also hate penalties. If we play a turnover and penalty-free game, we will win. This concept somehow eluded the previous seven coaches at Arizona State. Also, we plan on giving the ball to Marion Grice a lot, and throwing the ball to Chris Coyle a lot, just in case Wisconsin hasn’t watched tape on us yet
Graham: I thought he (Jaelen Strong) had a really solid first game. Not even close to what he can be. I think that is kind of a process with that group. Even though we are excited, the reality is that they can get a whole lot better. I like Jaelen’s attitude. He is very grateful. He is very gracious. Somewhere around the middle of the fourth quarter, he stopped me on the sideline and said ‘Coach, I just want to thank you for bringing me here and giving me this opportunity.’ I have got a lot of respect for the character and the work ethic he has. I think he is very confident in what he can do and he has learned a lot.
Translation: Jaelen Strong is everything he was advertised to be and more. Not only is he an exceptional football player with huge upside, but also he isn’t a head case and he is going to be a leader on this team before the season is over. Also, there’s a good chance he is in the NFL next year, and an even better chance he is after 2014.
Graham: I really think Salamo (Fiso) is a guy that catches my eye more than anybody else at linebacker … Obviously, Chris (Young) is a dynamic player. Grandville (Taylor) is a guy where every time he gets in there he just impresses me…Carlos Mendoza is a guy who had a good practice for the first time yesterday.
Translation: We need to figure out a way to play eight linebackers at once. Somebody call Buddy Ryan.
Graham: I think it is pretty hard to run at Will (Sutton) or away from him. It doesn’t matter to me either way…He and our other three guys on the defensive line have gotten better. He has gotten better every single day. I think one guy that has really improved is Davon (Coleman). Davon is a guy that has been very active.
Translation: I am the king of turning a question about one player into an answer about multiple players, and in this case I even managed to work the backup defensive end into a conversation about the best defensive player in the conference. But seriously, I’m worried about Wisconsin running at anyone, have you seen them run?