This week, ASU travels to Colorado as heavy favorites, yet Todd Graham and his players remain focused on the task at hand. Conversely, media members and fans are talking about the highly anticipated Oregon game next week. Therefore, this Thursday's ASU-Colorado match-up has the smell of a traditional trap game.
"We are very single minded and focused, we have to stay motivated on the opponent that is right in front of you," Graham said. "That's the hardest thing about my job, keeping 18 to 22-year olds focused."
While heading into the heart of Pac-12 play, ASU appears solid at 4-1, but actually continues to battle depth issues. In order to compensate, Graham's been forced to make a plethora of mid-season position changes. The most recent transformation comes via junior wide receiver J.J. Holliday moving over to cornerback, in effort to strengthen a depleted secondary.
Running back Deantre Lewis is now a safety, and fellow tailback James Morrison will line up at defensive end on third downs. Normally, position swaps rarely occur, yet has become normality for ASU in 2012.
"It's the thinnest we've ever been, I don't like moving people, but we don't have any depth at critical positions," Graham said. "I've probably moved more people around this year than I have in a while."
The issues mentioned above will not go unnoticed, as the Sun Devils next two contests can be seen nationally on ESPN. Playing under the bright lights during mid-week games presents several pros and cons. The benefits range from increased recruiting exposure to fan excitement, although negatively effecting scholastics.
"We have to miss two days of school and makes it academically a challenge," Graham said. "Our kids are excited about those games and I think recruits are too."
Switching gears to Colorado's personnel, Graham believes stopping the run must be a priority. Graham also mentioned Buffs quarterback Jordan Webb being smooth all year.
"No one is going to lay down for you, offensively we want to establish our running game," Graham said. "They have got quality personnel like every Pac-12 team, but more than anything we have focused on the fundamentals of us getting better."