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ASU Football: Sun Devils open bowl preparations, move on to life after Norvell

News and notes from Friday's practice.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Arizona State Sun Devils returned to the practice field Friday night for the first time since Saturday's regular season finale at California. Without a conference championship game to play in, the team is in the odd situation of knowing that their season will continue, yet not knowing where their next game will be played.

Friday's practice saw Arizona State's offense get its first work in after the departure of offensive coordinator Mike Norvell. Assistant coaches Chip Long and Chris Thomsen appeared to be running the offense, but head coach Todd Graham stressed that the job of interim OC will be managed on a day by day basis.

"We hate to lose Mike but I think it is a great compliment to our program," said Graham. "The thing is, nothing is going to change here. What we do and what we believe in is something we have been at a long time."

While the offense is being run by committee at the moment, the quarterbacks are being coached by graduate assistant and former Sun Devil signal caller Taylor Kelly. Kelly is less than a year removed from playing quarterback himself in Graham and Norvell's system.

As far as the official replacement at offensive coordinator goes, Graham either has no idea or is doing a very good job at bluffing. He did say, however, that he is open to all options.

"It might be someone inside our staff or outside the staff," Graham said. "Our philosophy here at Arizona State University, and what we believe in, is that we want an educator. We have a great staff and a great system that I think a lot of people would be interested in."

With the Memphis Tigers wanting Norvell back east on Thursday night, things around the program are still a little hectic. The only players that Norvell got to speak with before leaving were quarterbacks Mike Bercovici and Manny Wilkins.

"I have not talked to him," said running back Demario Richard. "I actually found out over Twitter. He was a big piece to our puzzle but he's on to bigger and better things now. Well, I wouldn't say bigger and better, but it is better for his family and daughter."

The maroon and gold, in the meantime, are on to a bowl game. The matchup and location for that game is still to be determined (the announcement will come sometime on Sunday), so the team is currently focused on shaking off some of the rust after a four day break.

"We have been talking about moving forward and going to work," Graham said. "The guys had a great spirit today and we had some good competition."


  • Defensive back Armond Perry, running back Nick Ralston, and linebacker Brandon Matthews were all in the green no-contact jerseys. They stretched but did not participate in most drills.
  • Tight end Kody Kohl was walking around the practice field with a crutch. The junior injured his right knee last week against the Golden Bears.
  • Christian Sam had a nice interception off of Bercovici towards the end of the team's 11-on-11 drill.
  • The first string left practice after an hour, leaving the final hour for the second and third team players. Expect that pattern to continue throughout the postseason.
  • Outside linebacker recruit Calvin Bundage is taking his official visit this weekend and was present for practice. The three-star prospect holds offers from Arizona State, Oklahoma, and Oregon, among others.