The Arizona State Sun Devils finished up their week of practice Tuesday morning and afterward, head coach Todd Graham used his time with the media to praise his offensive linemen, calling them the key to the team's success moving forward.
"Everything we do offensively, really is built upon being able to effectively move the line of scrimmage and run the football," said Graham. "That group (offensive line) is the key to our success. If we can run the ball effectively, protect our quarterback and don't turn the football over, that's huge."
The Sun Devils began the season working in new players at right tackle and right guard. In Arizona State's two losses, Taylor Kelly has been sacked nine times, in their five wins, Kelly has been sacked eight times.
"The offensive line is a group that I have never walked in their meetings, this is first place that I have been where I haven't," said Graham. "The character of that group, the work ethic of that group and how coach (Chris) Thomsen has developed those guys. I have no worries about them."
Against Washington, the Sun Devils rushed for a season-high 314 yards, after posting 276 rushing yards against Colorado. In their first five games, the Sun Devils rushed for an average of 130 yards per game. Graham also noticed an improvement along the offensive line in pass blocking.
"One of the things that really kills us is negative yardage plays," said Graham. "The fact that we don't get many penalties is 'X-d out' when you get a lot of sacks."
The head coach praised the play of right tackle Tyler Sulka as well as both interior lineman, Jamill Douglas and Vi Teofilo. Graham says both guards are doing a good job with inside pressure.
"I think that group is the foundation," said Graham. "If we win a championship, it will be on those guys' backs."