Coach Todd Graham on the senior class: "The seniors had a choice to buy in or not. I think Cam Marshall and Brandon Magee and this group of seniors really bought in and I think what we brought is who they are. I found a bunch of great guys with great character who really fit what we were trying to do. They are a special bunch to me."
After an emotional Territorial Cup victory, ASU head coach Todd Graham praised the senior class for its dedication to the Arizona State football program. When Graham came to Tempe in the offseason, he asked the upperclassmen to take charge of a transformation that would make this team successful immediately.
Armed with a 7-5 record, the seniors look forward to ending their careers on a high note with a victory in their bowl appearance. This group has endured an up and down ride throughout their journey as Sun Devils, and deserves much of the credit for inspiring change at Arizona State.
Before they head off to their bowl destination, seniors Bradon Magee and Cameron Marshall reminisce about the new Todd Graham era and their careers as Sun Devil football players.
Coming into the season, what were your guys’ expectations?
Brandon Magee: "My expectations were to win the National Championship. I always feel like that when the season starts until somebody beats us and takes us out of that game. But I feel like we had a great season and I’m ready to see what happens the rest of the season."
Cameron Marshall: "Our expectations were to be Pac-12 Champions and to be Rose Bowl Champions. Obviously we didn’t reach our goal, but we had some good success. We’ve done a good job finishing strong so I’m looking forward to finishing strong in this bowl game."
What does Coach Graham expect out of his senior leaders?
BM: "He expects us to be the number one leaders on the team. He expects us to lead by example, you know we’ve been here the longest and he wants us to play the hardest when game time comes and prepare like you’re supposed to prepare."
CM: "He expects that leadership and to provide an example for these young guys in terms of working hard, being men of good character, and all things like that. He wants us to show them the way."
How did this group of seniors help implement Coach Graham’s new philosophy?
BM: "We just taught the young guys where we’ve been somewhere where a coach doesn’t care as much as he cares right now and that we didn’t practice as hard as that. We know that discipline really counts and all that he’s teaching us is really going to pay off in the long run."
CM: "In terms of holding each other accountable, you know for the standards he suggested he wanted out of the team. We embraced those standards and held each other as seniors, and as teammates, accountable."
What is the biggest difference from last year’s team to this year?
BM: "I would say discipline and the will to win. That’s definitely the biggest difference."
CM: "I think character is a big thing for us, you know discipline without having the plethora of penalties we had last year. It’s good focusing on being a more disciplined football team. I think we’ve finished a little bit better this year than we did last year. We have a chance to win eight games which I haven’t done since I’ve been here. I haven’t even won seven games. We did that already so it’ll be nice to finish strong."
How important was the Territorial Cup victory for the program?
BM: "That was huge, for the program, the team, the coaches, the whole city of Tempe. Man it’s great. I wake up every morning just happy about that."
CM: "That was huge. Every year it’s a big game, and for me being a senior, it means the world to me to be able to say for the rest of my life that we went out and we won the cup."
What is your favorite memory from your time as a Sun Devil?
BM: "The most recent one. Beating U of A. I’m going to remember that my whole life. That was the big one."
CM: "There have been a bunch. A lot of big games we’ve played in, obviously the two Territorial Cup victories are at the top of the list. That USC game last year was a big game for our team and myself personally. I know the Missouri game last year was big, and then playing my brother was special too. I know that’s a bunch, but I’ve got a lot of great memories as a Sun Devil."