Arizona State head coach Todd Graham is wasting little time assembling his staff as he made four hires on Friday.However, the major news comes not from who has signed a contract, but rather who has yet to do so.
As had been speculated since the hire, Graham brought his offensive coordinator and Director of Recruiting from Pitt, Mike Norvell, over to ASU. Norvell has been with Graham for five years, holding various positions during Graham's four years at Tulsa.
The other hires include Chris Ball, who was the co-defensive coordinator and safeties coach at Washington State, Chris Thomsen who comes to Tempe from his current position as the head coach of Abilene Christian and Bob Connelly, most recently at UTEP after a stint as UCLA's offensive line coach. Their future positions have yet to be determined.
While those hires generated some buzz, they pale in comparison to one possibility once thought dead.
The Arizona State head coaching search took a turn from awful to complete fiasco earlier in the week when the Devils seemingly lost the two assistant coaches it desperately wanted to keep.
Recruiting coordinator Steve Broussard officially left the program to take a job with UCLA. Broussard was the driving force behind most of ASU's highly ranked 2012 recruiting class, and the damage his departure would have both in the near and long term seemed significant.
That was compounded by the reported loss of offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone, also to UCLA. His absence would have further crippled recruiting, especially with four-star running back prospect D.J. Foster of Scottsdale Saguaro, who now has Cal and UCLA ahead of ASU.
However, recent reports indicate that Mazzone and the Bruins are still far apart on contract terms. Fueling the hopes of a return to Tempe is an upcoming meeting between Graham and Mazzone. Along with salary, one of the main points in determining a return for Mazzone will be responsibility over play-calling.
In addition to his recruiting prowess, Mazzone was immensely popular with the players, who rallied the administration to hire him as the head coach after the firing of Dennis Erickson. Mazzone has also drawn high praise for his work in quarterback Brock Osweiler's development.
Whether these development result in Mazzone's return remains to be seen, but this is undoubtedly a far more positive outlook on the situation than earlier in the week.
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