Todd Graham spoke to the local media this afternoon at his weekly Monday press conference. Graham discussed the mental mistakes on defense, stating that of 34 pass plays of 15 yards or more the Sun Devils have given up this season, 14 of them have come in the last two weeks.
Oregon State scored three touchdowns of 49 yards or more Saturday, including two Cody Vaz touchdown passes.
"We have blown seven coverages all season, two in that game," said Graham about his team's game performance against Oregon State. "It was just a miscommunication on both of them, it cost us 14 points, you can't make those kind of mistakes against really good football teams."
The Sun Devils gave up 267 passing yards and three touchdowns to Vaz.
"We started the game off well, we felt like going into halftime we were sitting good," said Graham. "We just could not do anything offensively in the second half, and you have to give their defense a lot of credit for that."
Two mainstays in the ASU offensive attack, D.J. Foster and Marion Grice, were relatively quiet on Saturday night, as the two running backs combined for 36 yards on nine carries.
"We're trying to get the ball in the hands of our best players as often as we can," said Graham. "With D.J. and Marion, it's obviously not anything that they did, we did not do a very good job, our plan wasn't very good and we didn't get the ball to them as much as we needed them to."
Even though Arizona State blocked a punt on special teams, coach Graham was very critical of that unit.
"I thought we played bad special teams wise," said Graham. "Our kickoff cover was not very good, our kickoff return was not very good, our punt cover was not very good, we did not win special teams."
News and Notes
- One player Graham was quick to praise was punter Josh Hubner, who averaged 43.7 yards per punt on Saturday and nailed three punts inside the OSU 20. "I'm really proud of Josh, he's been a weapon for us," said Graham. "No question in my mind he's the best punter in the country."
- Graham spoke highly of USC's wide receiver Marqise Lee. "Marqise Lee is hands down the best receiver in the country," said Graham. "He can catch the short screen pass, he can catch the vertical route, he can catch the intermediate route and he can take it to the house anytime he puts his hands on the ball."
- Marqis Lee and Robert Woods combine for 16.4 receptions and 215.8 yards-per-game for the Trojans. The ASU passing defense is only allowing 164.1 yards per game.
- Arizona State has not beaten USC in the Coliseum since 1999 when they beat USC 26-15.
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