Todd Graham is ready to put Arizona State's 45-14 shellacking of Weber State behind him. He mentioned multiple times before and after Thursday night's victory that he does not enjoy beating up on the FCS schools.
"I don't like those games and our fans don't either," Graham reiterated at his Monday afternoon press conference. "It doesn't matter what you do. If you do good, it's only a 1-AA (FCS) opponent and if you do anything bad..."
The good news is Monday officially starts a new game week, and for Arizona State that means a trip to Albuquerque, New Mexico, to face the Lobos, who are coming off a 31-24 loss to UTEP.
"They had 410 yards of rushing last week," said Graham. "They were one of the most explosive teams in the country last year in long runs. They have very fast skill players."
The Arizona State head coach mentioned three players from New Mexico that caught his eye on film: Running backs Jhurell Pressley and Teriyon Gipson along with wide receiver Carlos Wiggins.
Pressley and Gipson combined for 155 yards on 22 carriers against UTEP. New Mexico's leading rusher was quarterback Cole Gautsche, who will miss the game this Saturday with a hamstring injury. The biggest challenge for the Sun Devils will not be the personal for New Mexico, but the scheme, as the Lobos run the triple-option.
"The biggest thing is being assignment oriented. Obviously when you play a triple-option team you have to do a good job with that," Graham said. "You have to stop the dive first and foremost and stop the quarterback and make sure you don't give up any edges.
"We talked a lot about discipline and not taking the aggression out of our defense. We are an attacking defense, we will always be an attacking defense. The big things are discipline and assignments. You have to be disciplined with this type of offense."
Even with so many fresh faces receiving significant playing time, Graham is not worried about taking this team on the road for the first time.
"This program is about winning championships, you have to go on the road and win," said Graham. "I'm not worried about them going on the road. If you can't go on the road and win you cannot win a championship. "We are just focused on winning, on beating New Mexico."
- Graham said that Marcus Ball was a little rusty in his first action of the season. Because he missed so much practice this fall, Graham feels that Ball is a few weeks behind the rest of the defense.
- Four Sun Devil rookies made 53-man NFL rosters after final cuts were announced over the weekend. Will Sutton (Bears), Carl Bradford (Packers), Davon Coleman (Cowboys) and Robert Nelson (Browns). Marion Grice wasn't initially cut by the Chargers yesterday, but this morning he was put on waivers.