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ASU Football: Todd Graham’s comments after Friday’s closed scrimmage

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Couldn’t watch the scrimmage either? Here, read all about it!

Photo taken by Nick Ramirez

TEMPE, Ariz. — The Arizona State Sun Devils performed a closed scrimmage on Friday morning. The scrimmage took place eight days before Arizona State hosts its annual spring football game on Apr. 15 at Sun Devil Stadium.

Following the scrimmage, head coach Todd Graham touched on his team, coaching staff and specific player performances.

The Big Picture

  • “Tempo was better today. It really was.”
  • “One of the things that happens as you start to utilize the tight ends and our three backs, and running backs more in those types of sets, there’s a little bit more language that goes into it, so that’s important.”
  • “You got to learn it and then once you get comfortable, then you’re able to go faster. We still got to figure out where that’s at. How fast is that? So the main thing is managing the tempo and being efficient.”
  • “The big thing is just continuing getting better fundamentally. I want to eliminate too many procedure penalties.”
  • “We had very few penalties defensively. We had very few penalties offensively. Just some holding and some procedure penalties and a lot of those are with the two.”

Ball Security

  • “Ball security has constantly gotten better this spring. And that’s the number one thing we look at at the quarterback position. I think they’re just understanding the system and how to operate the system and being able to keep people off of you.”
  • “We want 100 percent ball security. We need 100 percent. That needs to be a focus that’s the last deal. We’ve been close to it, but we’re not quite there yet.”

First Year Defensive Line Coach Michael Slater

  • “I want guys that are great teachers and went into this business because they want to make a difference in young people’s lives. And the fact that he had a background as a teacher and a high school coach was big to me.”
  • “It’s been a long time of him doing it... From the people that I knew that knew him and obviously coach Bennett being from Texas as well had a relationship with him, and so he’s done a great job so far and in developing these guys. Been really good.”

Graham’s Most Improved Players and Standouts from the Scrimmage

  • “One guy who really stuck out was [Michael] Sleep-Dalton who punted the ball outstanding today. He was really good.”
  • “He was just boombing the punt... He showed up for game day today.”
  • “John Humphrey had a really good catch”
  • “ [Frank] Darby moved back over to receiver and had a touchdown catch about 40 yards — two touchdown catches.”
  • “Terrell Chatman has really improved. When kids come in, it’s just really fast to them. And then how quick they adapt. His process to this point had been slow, but man, big time talent potential. It’s like a light just went on. He’s got a lot of potential and the sky is the limit, but he’s a guy that was really stuck out to me.”
  • “Tommy Hudson’s another guy that has marked improvement. I’m talking about guys who didn’t play last year. J’Marcus Rhodes at SPUR is really going to stand out.”
  • “Rennell Wren. Another guy who did not play. He played some last year.”
  • “And then there’s a whole bunch of veterans who’ve been working to get better.”

Red shirt Freshman Darby Back at Wide Receiver

  • “That kid is like ‘coach, wherever you want me to play.’ So we look at him on defense, move him back to offense, he learns what he’s doing, scores two touchdowns today. That’s the kind of guy you want.
  • “Yeah, we moved him back. We took a look at him and we thought in the beginning he would be in the starting rotation on offense when we started in the two deep. But we said ‘hey, we’ll take a look, see if he could really do that,” and really did a good job, but we think he’s better for receiver, so we moved him back.”