Three games down, but the Sun Devils now head into the toughest part of their schedule. Some players have done more than what is required of them and exceeded expectations, but there are others who have underwhelmed. Here are three players that need to have more success as the season moves forward.
For as promising as Smallwood was throughout fall camp, and for as much as Todd Graham praised his efforts, he hasn't lived up to expectations. Graham even went as far as to call him the best freshman in camp, but through three games, he hasn't recorded a tackle and has failed to get much pressure on any quarterback. Eds. Demetrius Cherry got reps ahead of Smallwood at practice Tuesday morning.
Damarious Randall (on punt return)
Randall leads the team with 27 tackles and four tackles, but can't seem to evade them so far in 2014. While the Sun Devils have forced 19 punts this season, the redshirt senior has only returned five, averaging 2.6 yards per return. He has also made a couple of poor decisions, fielding one punt at the 3-yard line against Weber State and letting one bounce that he had a chance to catch against Colorado. He needs to figure it out soon, or the maroon and gold may need to explore some other options here.
The argument could be made that Hood is still getting himself back into playing shape after missing the first two weeks of fall camp with a personal issues. Three tackles through three games isn't going to cut it on this defensive line though. Marcus Hardison has done a fine job so far and really answered the call against Colorado and a sack, but as a leader on the defensive line Hood hasn't done much. Offensive production will take an expected dip (although it's unknown by how much) when Mike Bercovici steps in under center. This means it's all that much more important for the defense to get stops, especially on the ground where the Sun Devils have struggled this season. Stopping the ground game starts with Hood in the middle.