It's Thanksgiving, and as a staff, we have a lot to be thankful for this season off the field. Over the past week, Todd Graham, Taylor Kelly and D.J. Foster said they were thankful for many things including faith, friends, family, and teammates.
But what about on the field? What are we as a staff thankful for about this team and program as a whole? Find out below.
Jason Galvin: I'm thankful for the continued development of the program under coach Graham. He took a lot of flak from the world of college football when he left Pittsburgh after a season to come to Tempe, but I've believed him from day one that this was where he wanted to be. Besides, Pitt isn't a great job, and hasn't been since some guy named Marino was under center. ASU has always had potential for greatness.
Really, it should be a great athletic school. The weather is perfect during the college year, the city is large and safe, the campus is beautiful, the facilities are good and being upgraded, and it's a Pac-12 school. Graham understood all of this and has continued to transform the program into a national contender. I think Ray Anderson, with his NFL experience, will see this and reward Graham with a giant extension at some point, giving him incentive to stay and continue what he started. But there's no question this program is on its way to being as good as any in the Pac-12. There's no way the Sun Devils should be 9-2, but they are. That's a complete testament to Graham, his coaching and leadership abilities.
Shane Theodore: I'm thankful for Ray Anderson. Since he took over as Athletic Director in January, he's done nothing wrong. Besides the continued efforts towards renovating Sun Devil Stadium, he's secured Todd Graham long-term, which is incredibly helpful towards recruiting. He's also been instrumental in the promotion of ASU Hockey to Division I play, hired a new baseball coach and helped the 2017 Final Four come to Phoenix. And on top of it all, he has assured Sun Devil fans that he's not just going to up and leave when another school comes calling by donating $500 thousand to the school's capital campaign to raise funds for the new stadium.
Nick Krueger: I'm thankful for Mike Bercovici. I don't think everyone truly appreciates what he did for the team this season. Is this Taylor Kelly's team? Yes. But what he was able to provide this team in the three weeks he started was incredible. The loss to UCLA was a rough one for this program, Bercovici then went into the Coliseum and never gave up to get the win. He did the same the following week against Stanford. It was an impressive feat and not only was he a capable replacement, giving this program hope in 2015, he also didn't have any trouble at all handing the team back over to Taylor Kelly once he fulfilled his role.
He has a cannon for an arm and gave the fan base an incredible memory in the Jael Mary. Off the field, it's true what they say in that he's a Sun Devil through and through. I wrote off "speaking victory" as this intangible value that Todd Graham had in his coaching philosophy. That was until I heard Bercovici speak. He carries himself in such a way and talks in such a manner that you just believe whatever words are coming out of his mouth at that time. This team is in capable hands in 2015, which was an uncertainty already fixed before the 2014 season ended. This makes me very thankful for him.
Connor Pelton: I'm thankful for Camp Fargo. I know that it technically started last season, but no one could have imagined the heights it would be taken to in 2014. The student support has been recognized nationally and has been an integral part of the program's rise back to national prominence. The student section has set numerous attendance records this season and makes Sun Devil Stadium one of the toughest venues for opponents throughout the Pac-12. Here's hoping the tradition continues next year. It just gives off the vibe that ASU is ready to be taken as a football power.
Justin Emerson: I'm thankful for an entertaining football team. The Sun Devils blew past the expectations of most people (myself included) for this season and it's made our job as writers incredibly fun. From the Jael Mary to the Notre Dame win to an emotional senior day win to whatever happens in Tucson tomorrow, the Sun Devils have made themselves truly a treat to cover this season. Todd Graham has been a tremendous coach, Taylor Kelly has been the epitome of class, Jaelen Strong has been as electric of a player I've ever seen, and this team has taken us on one ride after another. So for that, I am thankful.
As a staff, we're all thankful for you, the reader. Without your continued patronage of the site, it wouldn't be anywhere close to the levels it has reached over the past couple of years and we're forever grateful for that. From all of us here at House of Sparky, a very happy Thanksgiving to you, however you're celebrating today.