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ASU Football: Todd Graham rules out Taylor Kelly against USC, expects him back against Stanford

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How did practice shake out Thursday?

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Taylor Kelly was strictly an observer Thursday as the team practiced for the last time in Tempe before taking on the Trojans Saturday. When they step on the field at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, it's really no surprise Mike Bercovici will again be under center. Graham said Kelly was "doubtful" on Tuesday, but took it one step further on Thursday removing any glimmer of hope for Sun Devil fans that he could take the field.

"He's not going to play, he'll for sure be back for Stanford is what I'm told," Graham said. "He'd like to and we tried to give him every opportunity to, but we also have to make sure we take care of him. He'll be in a support role like he was last week and then we got an off week and then I fully expect him back for Stanford."

Bercovici will need the supporting cast around him again on Saturday because it will be against a much tougher defense than he faced against UCLA. Leonard Williams will bring pressure off the defensive line, Graham characterized him as a "really good" and "high motor" player.

Gerald Bowman will also be lurking in the secondary. He's a player Jaelen Strong knows all about. Both players are Philadelphia, Pennsylvania natives and went to Pierce Junior College before maturating to USC and Arizona State respectively.

"Everyday I talk to him," Strong said. " We really don't talk about the game, it's deeper than the game between me and him. I mean we do talk about the game and stuff but it's little things, you know, bragging rights week."

Mendoza/DJ Calhoun

While Laiu Moeakiola took all the first team reps at SPUR linebacker, WILL linebacker seems to be a little more fluid this week with Carlos Mendoza ready to go. Calhoun has 18 tackles and a fumble recovery through four games, but lacks the experience that Mendoza has as a redshirt sophomore.

A shoulder injury forced Mendoza to redshirt in 2012, then he had five tackles last season and is returning to full strength after a leg injury suffered at Camp Tontozona this season.

"He's (defensive coordinator Keith Patterson) has been rotating those guys a bit," Graham said. "I think DJ (Calhoun) has had a good week as well. Carlos (Mendoza) is healthy so he should get some playing time."

Notes

  • Laiu Moeakiola is no longer in a green jersey, quarterbacks were practicing pooch punting with Taylor Kelly standing by watching in a walking boot and on crutches.
  • The linebackers and secondary split up and ran schemes separately from the defensive line today. The media was only allowed to watch a 20-minute portion of practice but here is what I could discern. I would take this with a grain of salt because of the short viewing window for media. First team defense- Linemen: Marcus Hardison- Jaxon Hood- Tashon Smallwood Linebackers: DJ Calhoun (WILL), Salamo Fiso (SAM), Laiu Moeakiola (SPUR), Edmond Boateng and Antonio Longino split reps at Devilbacker. Corners: Kweishi Brown, Lloyd Carrington. Safeties: Damarious Randall, Jordan Simone.