Todd Graham is probably the football coach every parent only dreams of for their son. In Graham's mind, attitude off the field is just as important as how each player carries themselves on the gridiron.
He has already talked about the "NC 15" or national championship attitude he expects the team to have in 2014, but took time out today to express how he wants the team to become closer in the fraternal sense.
"Our focus has been on the brotherhood and becoming a close family unit and enjoying the competition, enjoying what we're doing, enjoy the fact that we hold you accountable to a high standard," Graham said.
Graham mentioned that even doing "up-downs" after practice is something every player should enjoy because it's making them better. It's a focus that has been both visible and audible at every practice. The team brings big boards with pictures of the national championship trophy into the team huddle at the end of practice. Almost every huddle is broken on three, with the players saying, "National championship" or "Pac-12 champs."
"Our team has just got a service mentality, every kid out here has just got a great attitude," Graham said. "They're listening, paying attention, they're very teachable, they're smart."
The players may be in the right place mentally, but Graham also called on his assistant coaches to help the players be the best they can be.
"The key to our success is how well do we do as a staff to adapting to our players, and getting them in the right situations," Graham said.
What the Sun Devils need to do on the field is also taking shape. After Graham said he's "uncomfortable" having to adapt the system to the new players, he feels he's in a better place.
"It was very cloudy, nut I feel like it's starting to clear up about what we're doing," Graham said. "The guys are picking it up, we're executing probably half our package right now (on defense)."
- First team defense: Linemen: Viliami Latu- Mo Latu- Marcus Hardison. Linebackers: Laiu Moeakiola (SPUR), Carlos Mendoza (WILL), Salamo Fiso (SAM), De'Marieya Nelson (DEVIL). Corners: Solomon Means, Lloyd Carrington. Safeties: Jordan Simone, Damarious Randall.
- First team offense: Wide receivers: Fred Gammage, Gary Chambers, Jaelen Strong. Running back: D.J. Foster and Deantre Lewis split carries.
- Second team defense: Linemen: Renell Wren-Connor Humphreys- Tashon Smallwood Linebackers: Marcus Washington (SPUR), DJ Calhoun (WILL), Antonio Longino (DEVIL), Alani Latu (SAM). Corners: Kweishi Brown, Chad Adams. Safeties: Dasmond Tautalatasi, James Johnson
- Second team offense: Wide receivers: Jalen Harvey, Eric Lauderdale, Tyler Whiley. Running back: Kalen Ballage.
- Graham specifically praised Damarious Randall, who he said had three interceptions in practice today. He also noted Laiu Moakiola as a standout player again.
- Both first and second teams received penalties for what looked like an offsides and a holding during 11 on 11.
- Jaxon Hood is still not in camp due to "personal issues."
- Rick Neuheisel, Mike Yam, and Curtis Conway from the Pac-12 Networks visited practice today. They were in Tempe to film their training camp feature show which will air Tuesday night on the Pac-12 Network. Rick Neuheisel on Todd Graham: "I've never seen a guy happier to be in a place (ASU)."