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ASU Football: Team rewarded for effort, defense responds to challenge

What did Todd Graham do to make his team happy?

Safety Jordan Simone hits a blocking sled at practice Friday as corner Solomon Means looks on
Safety Jordan Simone hits a blocking sled at practice Friday as corner Solomon Means looks on
Nick Krueger/House of Sparky

It's Friday, which means it's almost the weekend. Tonight, a lot of people may go see a new movie that comes out or head off to their favorite watering hole for a drink with some friends. Arizona State planned on having football practice, but not anymore.

"Obviously it was a great motivator, I said ‘If we have the best practice all year, then we'll take off this afternoon' and they did that," head coach Todd Graham said.

The Sun Devils were scheduled to practice from 6:40-9:00 tonight, but Graham elected to give the team the night off. Friday morning made seven straight days with at least one practice and 11 total practice sessions.

"The younger guys aren't used to it, they think they're sore," Graham said. "I told them to talk to Taylor Kelly after about 11 or 12 weeks and then you will see what sore is."

Some of the freshmen might have been "sore," but Graham also mentioned that the defense responded after struggling yesterday against the running game.

"They came back today, the defense won today, a lot of sacks and tackles for loss," Graham said. "We're just trying to get the guys where they need to be and in the right position and I think we're close to doing that."


  • D.J. Foster was held out of practice for the third straight day. Demario Richard and Cameron Smith remain in no-contact green jerseys. Jaxon Hood is still not in attendance with, "personal issues". Marcus Ball is still out until after Camp Tontozona with an undisclosed medical issue. Emanuel Dayries and De'Chavon Hayes are still working out eligibility issues.
  • First team defense: Linemen: Marcus Hardison-Mo Latu-Tashon Smallwood Linebackers: Antonio Longino (DEVIL), Carlos Mendoza (WILL), Laiu Moeakiola (SPUR), Salamo Fiso (SAM). Corners: Lloyd Carrington, Solomon Means. Safeties: Damarious Randall, Jordan Simone
  • First team offense: Running back: Deantre Lewis Wide receivers: Fred Gammage, Gary Chambers, Jaelen Strong (Ronald Lewis got a few reps). Tight end: Grant Martinez
  • Second team defense: Linemen: Edmond Boateng-Connor Humphreys- Corey Smith Linebackers: Christian Sam (SPUR), Alani Latu (SAM), DJ Calhoun (WILL), Marcus Washington (DEVIL) (Chans Cox rotated in at DEVIL). Corners: Kweishi Brown, Armand Perry. Safeties: Chad Adams, James Johnson
  • Second team offense: Running back: Kalen Ballage Wide receivers: Tyler Whiley, Ellis Jefferson
  • Graham let Keith Patterson run the entire special teams portion of practice while he stood on the side and spoke with Ray Anderson.
  • Chris Karpman of noticed Tyler Whiley working with the defense during skill work. Graham's comment: "He really looked good, I think that might be a good place for him."
  • Graham on Tashon Smallwood (again): " I told him ‘boy you made a good decision in where you came because you really fit what we're doing."
  • Eric Lauderdale stayed late to work on route running, Ronald Lewis caught passes afterwords.
  • "The number one thing we've got to improve is not giving up sacks," Graham said. He also noted that he counts on offensive lineman Christian Westerman to tell him about how the younger defensive linemen are doing with the physicality.
  • Graham once again reiterated that the race for the second safety spot with James Johnson and Jordan Simone is, "neck and neck."
  • Tomorrow's practice is at Sun Devil Stadium, but completely closed to the general public and media. Graham said Pac-12 officials will come in to run the morning meetings, and then work on procedural things with the team during practice. "Tomorrow is a big teaching and learning session," Graham said.
  • Media day is tomorrow afternoon.