Arizona State Sun Devils coach Todd Graham said he wants the offensive tempo to pick up when they play the Illinois Fighting Illini on Saturday.
Despite the offense exploding in a 63-6 win over Northern Arizona University, Graham was down on the offense tempo and said he noticed too many snaps taken below twenty seconds. He would like to see the offense land in the 22 to 25 second range more often, he said in a press conference on Monday.
"Our tempo was really, really really slow,'' Graham said. "We're waiting on the defense. It's like we were being courteous to them, to let them line up. We need to go. A lot of that has to do with just being familiar with how to identify the fronts, how to identify the coverages. And then our quarterback just being comfortable where he can go through all the things he has to do, which is a lot. We want 10 guys going as fast as they can go and the quarterback going at his pace."
Keeping the Illinois defense off-kilter will be a key to the game Graham pointed out as he lauded the Fighting Illini defense.
They have probably four players I think who are really dynamic and all 11 players are really explosive. Really good back end, really good linebacker corps and really, really good defensive line. Their inside defensive tackles and obviously their defensive end are all special players.
Graham said the key for the Sun Devils offensively will be ball security and avoiding turning the ball over. Arizona St. had two fumbles in the game against Northern Arizona University, and the Illinois offense will be able to capitalize better on mistakes that result in turnovers than NAU could.
Make sure that we play disciplined football, that we don't have stupid penalties. No negative plays. It's OK to punt the football, just to make sure we don't do things to beat ourselves.