With the Arizona State football team on bye this week, House of Sparky thought this would be a good week to reflect on the season thus far. Yesterday we put out out midseason Heisman ballot. Today we are giving out our midseason position grades for the Arizona State offense.
If Taylor Kelly is still a "game manager" he has not shown it this season. Kelly has been asked to carry the Arizona State offense in most of of their seven games. He has attempted 40+ passes in four games this season and has two games of over 50 pass attempts.
The junior has been up to the task this season, throwing for 2,236 yards, 18 touchdowns, seven interceptions and a 62% completion percentage. His completion percentage, yards per attempt, and quarterback rating are all down, however the Arizona State running game is not as consistent as it was last year.
One number Kelly has to improve on is his interceptions, which is at seven through seven games. Kelly threw just nine interceptions all of last year, this season when he throws multiple interceptions in a game, Arizona State is 0-2.
Running Backs: B
The Sun Devils rank 55th in the nation in rushing this season, averaging 177.1 yards per game. Marion Grice finally broke out with his first 100-yard rushing performance of the season, rushing for 158 yards and two touchdowns against Washington. Grice already has more rushing touchdowns this season than he did all of last season.
The surprise so far in the running game has been the lack of action for sophomore D.J. Foster. The Scottsdale native has just 125 rushing yards on 26 carries. R.J. Robinson has just four less carries than Foster this season.
It has been nice to see Deantre Lewis get involved in the offense again after health issues cost him all of 2011 and most of 2012. Lewis has been the primary backup to Grice, ranking third on the team in both carries and yards and leading the team with 6.0 yards per carry.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends: B-
If we were grading just Jaelen Strong, he would get an A+, as the redshirt sophomore has exceeded his high expectations this season. Before getting hurt against Washington, Strong had put together five straight games of over 100 yards receiving. He leads Arizona State in receptions and yards and is second on the team in touchdowns.
The Sun Devils have struggled to find consistency on the other side of Strong. Richard Smith was moved off the first team following the Notre Dame game and the Sun Devils lack depth at the wide receiver position.
Kevin Ozier had a nice game against Washington (eight catches 88 yards), however Arizona State only has three wide receivers with over 10 catches on the season.
Chris Coyle is having another standout season, with 18 caches for 302 yards and and three touchdowns. The Sun Devils have good depth at the tight end position with De'Marieya Nelson and Darwin Rogers. Two of Nelson's five catches this season have been for touchdowns.
Offensive Line: C+
Taylor Kelly has been sacked 15 times this season and the Sun Devils are averaging 4.4 yards per rush in 2013. Arizona State has had trouble finding consistency in the running game, and the offensive line struggled against Stanford and Notre Dame.
Agree? Disagree? Tell us your midseason positional grades for the Arizona State offense in the comment section below.