With some much transition on defense, one of the most familiar faces on the Sun Devil sidelines is defensive assistant coach Paul Randolph. The defensive ends coach has been with Todd Graham since his days at Rice. Randolph has held many titles since arriving at Arizona State, but he remains an intrigue part of the Sun Devil defensive staff.
Recently, House of Sparky was able to catch up with coach Randolph following an Arizona State practice.
House of Sparky: Now that you have had a few days to review the film of Weber State, how do you feel the defense performed?
Paul Randolph: I thought we played hard. Naturally there are a lot of things that we need to get corrected, especially with my guys up front. But I thought focus, effort and things of that nature were good. We have some things that we can improve upon and that is what the guys are doing this week. We put Weber State to bed and are already focused on New Mexico. We have to move forward, and I think the guys have had good focus and preparation for game No. 2.
HoS: Talk about the preparation for New Mexico's triple-option attack.
PR: The biggest thing is you have to be assignment football. That is the toughest thing about it, really it shouldn't be because we are always assignment football. So guys have to understand if they have the dive, they have to take it, if they have the quarterback, they have to take it and if they have the pitch, they need to take it. The guys are really just honing in what what their responsibilities are. And like I said, they have done a really good job at working towards that this week. I'm excited about the work we have put in and about the game.
HoS: Have you guys watched a lot of the Navy game from 2012 in preparation for New Mexico?
PR: Well the thing is, it is a different look from New Mexico. They (New Mexico) are the high octane version of it I guess, they are in the shot gun and different things like that. Really the focus as just been on New Mexico.
HoS: Having to replace Carl Bradford at Devilbacker, can you just talk about how that position is coming along?
PR: The position is evolving, we have about three guys by committee right now that are really doing a good job at it. You have De'Marieya Nelson, Antonio Longino and Edmond Boateng. Each one of them has a different skill set. So we are able to throw different looks at people who are trying to defend that DEVILbacker. You have a bigger Boateng, a very athletic De'Marieya Nelson and a guy who has a mix of both in Antonio Longino.
HoS: Can you talk about the challenges of having nine new starters on defense and getting them to all mesh together?
PR: Really that is all it is, it is about guys growing together and spending time together. We went to Camp T this summer and the biggest part of that week was guys meshing with each other and getting to know each other. I think the guys are coming together, this is probably the closest team we have had since we have been here. Guys are playing for each other, laying it on each other for each other and that is what you want.
HoS: What growth have you seen out of Marcus Hardison from last year to this year?
PR: It is night and day with his attitude and work ethic. He has been working extremely hard, working at being more physical. He had no doubt his best game since he's been here (against Weber State). I am really excited about him, he is sprinting upfield and spiriting towards the ball and making plays. Those are the type of things we need him to do and he is stepping up.