ASU Football: Carlos Mendoza Wears Green, Joe Morris and Eriquel Florence Return

Robert Nelson is a front runner to land two starting spots at the moment. - Jennifer Hilderbrand-US PRESSWIR

The media only watched about 15 minutes of practice, but there were plenty of story lines behind the closed doors.

Joe Morris may have competed to start at the wide receiver position for the Sun Devils, but a foot injury sidelined him for the majority of camp and clouded those hopes. The 6-foot-4, 200-pound JUCO product received good news from the doctor on Monday, clearing him for action.

"Joe Morris is rolling, Joe looked good," Todd Graham said. "I saw him during special teams and that's what I'm excited about. I'm excited we got a guy that is a physical tough guy at wide receiver. Joe will be a guy I think that will factor into that five spot."

Linebacker Carlos Mendoza continues to battle injury problems, and wore the green no-contact jersey Tuesday. However, Mendoza did participate in the majority of team drills.

"I think he will be fine, nothing major," Graham said. "He just had a little bone bruise."

The competition at the safety position opposite Alden Darby still appears fluid. After the presumed starter freshman Marcus Ball experienced a shoulder injury that will sideline him for 3-5 weeks, the Sun Devils had to reopen the competition. Robert Nelson and Laiu Moeakiola are still switching off on first team repetitions, while Damarious Randall could also factor in once he returns.

"Obviously Damrious is real close, and he will be full next week," Graham said. "I really appreciate Robert, he's being really unselfish because he is a guy who needs to be on field, so if he isn't starting at safety he will play at field corner. Right now if we started and played today, I got to ask coach Ball, I think it'd probably be Laiu or Robert obviously."

Other practice notes

  • Todd Graham asked Doug Haller if his hair looked good, which gave the media a nice chuckle. In addition, Graham accidentally hit my microphone while flailing his harms.
  • In case you didn't already know, Graham placed high expectations on the team and continues to drill the point home. Regarding motivation, the entire staff focuses on challenging the star players to improve further.
  • "The expectations are not what they were last year. You see at the end of practice, Will Sutton up-downing, Carl Bradford up-downing, we are coaching the best players harder than we did last year."
  • Graham said D.J. Foster took home the team's most improved award, yet center Kody Koebensky and defensive end Gannon Conway also made huge strides. Because of the hard work, Graham mentioned Koebensky as the next possible player to don the prestigious Pat Tillman jersey.
  • Among the Pac-12 quarterbacks, Graham puts Taylor Kelly right up there with Oregon's Marcus Mariota. Beyond the statistics, the increased leadership from Kelly stands out. Graham also noted Kelly should be one of the team captains.
  • "I wouldn't trade him (Kelly) for anybody," Graham said.
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