News And Notes From Todd Graham's Weekly Press Conference

Rick Scuteri-US PRESSWIRE

ASU head football coach Todd Graham sat down with the local media Monday afternoon in advance of ASU's road test against Oregon State. Here's what the ASU coach had to say.

Todd Graham used his weekly press conference to state how proud he was of his football team. Graham said he liked how his team battled in the second half of the Oregon game, and how they fought back from down nine points against UCLA.

"I'm really proud about how these guys respond, how well they are playing for us," said coach Graham about his team. "They never let up one bit. We were down 17 against Missouri, we came back. Down nine against UCLA, we came back."

Graham spoke about how proud he was of his defensive line, which played most of the UCLA without its two best players.

"We had a lot of guys (playing), that had not played for us," said Graham. "I think Gannon (Conway) played about 52 snaps, Mike (Pennel) played about 20 plays. I was really proud with how a lot of guys were battling."

Graham said he went over to Davon Coleman's locker after the game and he was in tears.

"It means something to him," said Graham. "I'm very proud with how he has played, he played two different positions and he is playing fullback on offense. He's a guy that I can see that has transformed himself."

Graham was not pleased about the defensive mistakes on defense that allowed UCLA to rack up 45 points.

"Obviously we are coming off of way too many mental mistakes defensively," said Graham. "We have to get those things corrected, but we have a chance to redeem ourselves this week. We are going to play a very well coached football team in Oregon State."

The match-up on Saturday pits the top two defenses in the Pac-12: ASU is still No.1 in the conference and Oregon State at No. 2. The ASU run defense should get a big of a break this week, as Oregon State ranks 11th in the conference in rushing offense.

Graham did not know the status of Will Sutton, Junior Onyeali or Steffon Martin for this week's game against the Beavers. Onyeali and Martin both left the UCLA game with injuries and Sutton has not played since the first defensive snap against Oregon.

One bright spot of Saturday's loss was the play of D.J. Foster. The true freshman led Arizona State in rushing yards (61), receiving yards (107) and caught the go-ahead touchdown pass in the 4th quarter.

"The toughness of that kid is something that really exceeded my expectations," said Graham. "People follow him, he says very few words, but he's a guy that u can see is developing into a leader, his teammates gravitate towards him."

Graham knows his team is not out of Pac-12 South championship contention. ASU currently sits tied for second in the division with a 3-2 conference mark.

"The great thing about the South is things are wide open," said Graham. "No one sits any better than us, we still have an opportunity."

Notes

  • On the injury front not a lot is clear. Graham hopes to get both Sutton and Onyeali back for Saturday's game, but both will be evaluated later in the week. Right guard Andrew Sampson is expected back for ASU's game against Oregon State.
  • Graham says that Jon Mora. will continue kicking field goals for ASU this season. Mora was 3/3 with a long of 36 yards on Saturday. "I could see after he made the first field goal he was relieved," said Graham. "He's really a talented kicker, he just has to settle in a bit."
  • The Oregon State Beavers boast the Pac-12's best scoring defense, only allowing 17 points per game. ASU ranks third in the conference in scoring offense, putting up 38.4 PPG.
  • Oregon State will start junior Cody Vaz on Saturday against the Sun Devils. Vaz relieved Sean Mannion in the fourth quarter of OSU's loss to Washington and went 7/11 for 97 yards and a touchdown against Washington.
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