“Let’s play like champions today.”
Some of the first words out ofTodd Graham”s mouth at Tuesday’s practice, were exactly the same as he’s preached all year. The Arizona State Sun Devils are back to business and the vibe the team is putting out is that they’ve already forgotten about the tough loss to Texas A&M.
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“Their mental maturity is at a different level where it doesn’t seem to bother them,” Graham said, “the challenge every day is to have their best practice ever.”
“Obviously great lessons to be learned…..your character gets exposed when you face adversity.”
Graham pointed out that they did a lot of things to beat themselves on Saturday, pointing to fumbling the ball several times, and a record performance in the penalty area. He had a meeting with the team leaders Mike Bercovici, Jordan Simone, Nick Kelly and DJ Foster after practice where he said they talked about leading during this time and the lessons to be learned from the loss.
During practice the AP released their weekly Top 25 and Arizona State had been knocked out after starting the season ranked 15th in the nation. Graham says that should be expected when you don’t win, but he’s focusing on the next 11 to 12 games. Overall, he says he’s impressed with how the team has responded and the players echoed the same sentiments.
“We’re fine. Everybody’s fine,” running back Demario Richard emphasized. “Last week was last week. We care but we don’t care, you know what I mean?”
Even with losing key running back Kalen Ballage, running backs De’Chavon (Gump) Hayes and Richard are ready to step up into a bigger role. “I love it….when your number’s called be ready and make the play,” said Hayes.
Arizona State was exposed on Saturday and they know it, but that doesn’t change the mindset and it shouldn’t. All is not lost and they recognize that and are refocusing to Cal Poly and the Pac-12 slate ahead of them.
Notes From Practice:
– Redshirt senior Jordan Simone, redshirt senior Lloyd Carington and redshirt sophomore James Johnson all wore the Tillman practice jerseys.
– Both senior Nick Kelly and redshirt junior Evan Goodman wore green no contact jerseys
– Receiver Tim White wore a green no-contact jersey but did get some first team reps during the hurry up tempo today.