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ASU Football: Taylor Kelly almost ready to practice, defense makes some adjustments

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The Sun Devils are starting preparations for Stanford

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Sun Devils should welcome back an experienced presence back soon.

Todd Graham said Tuesday that he expects Taylor Kelly to practice by the end of the week.  Arizona State continues to be cautious with him and what they say regarding his status. Kelly was in a much smaller walking boot at practice Tuesday.

"We've got to see where Taylor is, that is something we don't know today," offensive coordinator Mike Norvell said. "We're going to get a chance to reevaluate that as it gets closer to game time, but you know Taylor Kelly is our starting quarterback, everybody knows that."

To be clear, the Sun Devils haven't named a starting quarterback for their game against the Cardinal in two weeks, but for the time being it seems like from what the coaches are saying that it will be Kelly if he's healthy. Remember it's to Arizona State's benefit to keep everyone guessing so Stanford has to prepare for both Mike Bercovici and Kelly. Norvell added, like every week, that both quarterbacks will prepare like they're going to start.

The bye week

The maroon and gold are headed into their second bye week of the season. The first came after Colorado as the team prepared for UCLA the following week, and it gave Bercovici an extra week to prepare for the Bruins. While it didn't seem to help much against UCLA, both teams had a bye that week, but Stanford has to play this upcoming Friday against Washington State. Todd Graham is using the extra practice time to return to basics.

"We need it for guys to get healed up and for Taylor as well and then also to get better fundamentally," Graham said. "If you watched today's practice it was like a spring practice. We went good on good, we cracked the pads and got after it fundamentally so this week couldn't have been more perfect timing."

Running game

A major concern on Saturday was the Sun Devils inability to get the ground game going with Bercovici at the helm. The team had just 138 yards on the ground against UCLA and 31 against USC while not recording a single touchdown. That's compared to 998 yards through the air with eight touchdowns for Bercovici.

"It didn't have anything to do with our running backs or our offensive line," Graham said. "It had to do with the scheme so we have to be able to make adjustments a little bit better on that."

He admitted that while both Bercovici and Kelly bring different skill sets to the position, Kelly's ability to run does bring a different dimension that the defense has to account for. It's that dimension which has been lacking with Bercovici under center. D.J Foster agreed that Kelly's presence on the field opens up for him and said the team needs to step it up on the ground.

"We've got to be able to run the ball better than what we did," Graham said. "We've underperformed the past two weeks in that."

Notes:

  • Redshirt senior linebacker Marcus Washington's career as a Sun Devil is over after he tore his ACL running down on a kickoff against USC. He was on crutches in a green jersey and had a large brace on his leg Tuesday morning. Graham called him a "unbelievable trooper."
  • Zane Gonzalez was back at practice Tuesday after missing the Los Angeles trip to USC. He was still the last player off the field after practice, doing up-downs.
  • Laiu Moeakiola  and Viliami Latu both wore green no-contact jerseys today. Latu had a brace on his knee as well. Graham didn't seem overly concerned about either player after practice and seemed confident they would be okay resting during the bye week.
  • Defensive walkthrough: Linemen: Demetrius Cherry-Tashon Smallwood-Jaxon Hood-Marcus Hardison. Linebackers: Antonio Longino (WILL), Salamo Fiso (SAM), Marcus Ball (SPUR) Corners: Lloyd Carrington, Kweishi Brown Safeties: Damarious Randall, Jordan Simone.
  • What should catch your eye: The team practiced a more 4-3 look with another down lineman instead of a Devilbacker Tuesday. Marcus Ball is seeing first team reps at SPUR linebacker for the first time since before the New Mexico game. Carlos Mendoza shadowed Antonio Longino at WILL linebacker while DJ Calhoun and Laiu Moeakiola shadowed Ball at SPUR linebacker.