This past Wednesday, Arizona State head coach Todd Graham joined Doug & Wolf and Arizona Sports 620 to discuss a wide variety of topics.
For those fans that have been following Graham closely since his hire, there were no major surprises and the usual assortment of catchphrase-ready terms such as "explosive" and "high-octane".
Most importantly, he once again displayed the skill and passion in his words that so far have won him tremendous support from the ASU fanbase and community. The simple fact that he has turned a horrific situation in the dark days of the coaching search to genuine optimism in the wake of an impressive recruiting class is nothing short of remarkable.
Among the interesting topics discussed:
Fan Support: Graham proclaimed several times that it was of paramount importance for the program to do everything in its power to win the support of the fans and the community. He plans to do so by fielding a team that competes with "class and character", and individually, he has over 100 speaking engagements booked in the coming months to continue to rally support for Sun Devil football.
In-state Recruiting: After securing a major commitment for this year's class in D.J. Foster, Graham said that continuing to put relentless effort into keeping the top Arizona high school players in-state was a major priority. That is a very refreshing-and necessary-change in policy, as the damage done by former head coach Dennis Erickson's general ignorance of the Valley high school scene did significant damage to the program.
Spring Practice Goals: Not surprisingly, the first goal of the upcoming series of spring practices is to "develop relationships" with the players and begin to get the staff's "philosophy established". The most imperative task for Graham since his arrival was changing the toxic culture that had surrounded the program for the last several years. Given Graham's coaching heroes were Tom Landry and Gene Stallings, it's no surprise that his new edicts are surrounding discipline, character and accountability. Given where this program was two months ago, there will certainly be an adjustment period.
Quarterback Competition: With three quarterbacks--Michael Eubank, Mike Bercovici and Taylor Kelly--competing for the starting job, Graham has a major decision to make in the coming months. He says he is looking for a quarterback who can extend plays and be a running threat, but first and foremost must be a passer. Graham also noted that the job won't necessarily go to the most skilled player, but rather the right one for the system. That system will feature a lot of two-back sets and be a run-first attack, with the passing game built off of play action.
Here the entire interview here, starting at the 22:30 mark.
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