On what was officially the last day of camp, head coach Todd Graham pushed his team hard before an off day tomorrow. Game week preparation begins on Sunday with the first of 21 straight days in uniform.
"I challenged them today," Graham said. "If we practice the way we did last year we get the same result."
After practice, Graham stated that he thought Jaxon Hood had improved from last year. Hood played in every game recording 26 tackles and three sacks.
"I challenged Jaxon to not do what everybody else does and to step up and to set your own standard everyday but he's got to get there," Graham said.
Junior defensive lineman Marcus Hardison is "coming on strong" and is challenging Hood for a spot on the line according to Graham.
The question of who will take Marcus Ball's vacated spot in the defensive backfield is still up in the air. Redshirt junior and Mesa Community College transfer Damarious Randall took reps with the first team today after being out with a groin injury.
"I'm just happy to be back out there with my team, " Randall said.
He put his own health at 90 to 95 percent but was unsure of the coaching staff's intentions for him.
"We're just kind of bringing Damarious along," Graham said. "He's a few weeks (away)."
With Ball out three to five weeks and Randall still needing some work, the Sun Devils have a spot to fill at the field safety position.
"If we played today Laiu (Moeakiola) would start at free safety," Graham said. "He's been the guy who is the most consistent and has the best knowledge of what he's doing there."
If this is the case, Robert Nelson would most likely start at field corner.
The team will still look at film tomorrow without practicing.
"They are tired of practicing and ready to play, but the key to winning is in preparation," Graham said. "The hay is in the barn now, it's about what this team's leadership is willing to do."
- Will Sutton arrived ten minutes early to practice and began stretching before the rest of the defense arrived.
- Osahon Irabor went home sick, the type of illness is unknown.
- Offensive lineman Jamil Douglas jumped into the running backs' ball security drill and took a rep. He held on to the ball and yelled, "Ball security baby!"
- D.J. Foster took first team reps at running back, Michael Eubank ran the second team at quarterback.
- The biggest surprise of camp according to Graham was the offensive talent.
- "Me personally, it’s the most excited I’ve been in 27 years of coaching, I think it’s the best team I’ve ever coached…this is the most talented team I’ve ever coached," Graham said.
- Todd Graham said he used an extended analogy involving Mike Tyson and his trainer Cus D'amato in his post practice speech to teach the team about the need for preparation and a teammate to lean on.