Few offenses that score 38.4 points per game are flawed, but last season, ASU was an exception. Sparky would've had to do significantly more pushups if the wide receivers performed better. Heading into 2013, coach Todd Graham made it his top priority to bring in more help for Taylor Kelly. After the additions of promising newcomers Jaelen Strong, Joe Morris, Cameron Smith and Ellis Jefferson, the unit appears to be headed in the right direction.
We chatted with Arizona State wide receiver coach DelVaugh Alexander to get an update on how the newcomers are progressing.
HoS: What does Kevin Ozier's skill set provide you with at the wide receiver position?
DelVaughn Alexander: "Kevin knows, Kevin brings determiniation, he's a guy who has been a walk-on. That determination and that spirit is something some guys don't have. As a guy that we have as the leader of the group, it's a huge skill set."
HoS: What is the toughest part for the newcomers transitioning from high school to college?
DA: "Understanding what we're trying to do, we're trying to win every game. With that expectation comes a lot of hard work, and without knowing how we've done something before and how we are trying to do something differently. They have no idea."
HoS: Do you think Jaelen Strong can be a true number one target?
DA: "Yeah, I think so. I think he can be a number 1 target. That's what we plan on doing, throwing him the ball just like the rest of the guys."
HoS: What is the biggest difference in Richard Smth now and at this point last season?
DA: "Experience. He has been here a year and we have fought and we have learned. Now he's a year older, so experience."
HoS: At Camp Tontozona Ozier, Strong and Smith saw the majority of first team repetitions together. How do the three complement each other?
DA: "They complement each other by knowing what to do. By understanding the spacing that we need on the field, understanding the timing that we need. Also, encouraging each other as the three, like you have said, stepped up and been the leaders at those spots."
HoS: Last year the unit lacked quality depth. Do you believe that problem has been resolved?
DA: "Yes I do, I think we have a lot of depth. A guy can go in and go for a home run post and come out. We feel good about the next guy."
HoS: Throughout camp who has been one player who exceed your expectations?
DA: "That's a tough question. My expectations are high and we have two weeks for them to even reach my expectations."
HoS: Joe Morris still wearing a green jersey, how much has he missed?
DA: "He has missed a lot, he has been non-contact. He is really smart though, so he understands what we are doing. But he has to go through and make the mistakes and understand the adjustments better. And that's coming here real fast."
Editor's Note: Since the interview took place, Joe Morris has shed his green jersey and is now practicing regularly with the team.
HoS: Before September 5th (opening game against Sacramento State), what is the main point of emphasis you will stress to all the wide receivers?
DA: "Before September 5th the emphasis is going to be detail. Focus on detail."