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ASU Football: Graham talks about his return to Texas

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Everybody loves a homecoming. Still, it's going to be a nerve-wracking experience for Todd Graham.

Christian Petersen

There's no place like home.

But, as Arizona State prepares for Saturday night's game in Dallas, head coach Todd Graham said he's a little stressed about his return to his old stomping grounds.

Friends and family have been contacting the coach about his return to the Lone Star State, and he admits it has been a distraction.

"It's been a miserable week," Graham said. "I've turned my phone in to my assistant. It's been a little bit distracting, but we're getting our work done. We'll be fine."

Graham said he's been pleased with his team's effort this week.

"Tuesday's practice was the best Tuesday practice we've had all year. We had a good practice today," Graham said. "The key is to get better every day, every rep."

With the win over USC under its belt, Graham believes the team is prepared for this weekend's challenge.

"I think last week was a big step in our program," Graham said. "I think our guys are maturing, and I know they're looking forward to this game. It's something that our fans are looking forward to. I know I'm looking forward to it." Even with the excitement, Graham said there needs to be some improvements on the defensive side of the ball.

"Our tackling in last weekend's game was not very good...I think it had a lot to do with the physicality. That's one of the things that our guys have to understand," Graham said. "Right now what we're dealing with is every week it's been a physical battle. Wisconsin, then Stanford, and then USC. I'm talking about extremely physical, and I think our tackling got a little tired.

Graham said the biggest challenge will be breaking through Notre Dame's front seven.

"[Notre Dame's] big, really big. They're big inside. Their front seven is a really impressive forcing unit," Graham said. "Reminds me a lot of Stanford's defense as far as how it's built. It's built with size and strength, and they're smart."

However, after scoring 62 points against USC, Graham isn't too worried. When asked if his offense was firing on all cylinders at just the right time, Graham smiled and said, "They were last week."

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Practice Note: Mo Latu and Jaxon Hood are doubtful for Saturday night's game.