Arizona St. Sun Devils head coach Todd Graham spoke with the media on Monday, and spoke at some length regarding ASU's upcoming opponent, the Washington St. Cougars. While it may seem like one of Arizona State's easier conference games, Graham was not in the mood to sell head coach Mike Leach and his Cougars short:
"Obviously their coach is a great offensive coach. You can tell the difference between where their system was four weeks ago to where it is now. They came back and gave UCLA a run for their money. You look at the Stanford game and they're sitting there in the red zone getting ready to score and tie the game up. They're making great strides there, and it's a very difficult offense to defend. They're a very capable football team. I see a very capable offense that's putting up 400 yards, as they did against Stanford and UCLA, two really good defenses. They play hard, these guys. Obviously defensively, their guys play extremely hard and extremely physical. We have to play well, and our guys know that. Our guys know that last year this was a game they know exactly how Washington State is going to play and how you have to prepare. It doesn't matter who you play in this conference. You have to go in ready to play and win. We've come up short four games in a row, and we have to go out and get the win. Our guys are going to be very motivated and focused and know that they're playing a capable team."
The Cougars are only 2-8 on the season, but have been competitive in losses over the past few weeks. They also bring the nation's sixth-ranked passing offense into Tempe on Saturday, and are averaging over 337 yards per game in the air. It will be a test for the Arizona State defense, but the Sun Devils' secondary has made massive strides over the past year. The ASU defense ranked 108th in passing defense in 2011, and currently sit at fourth in the nation through 10 games, allowing just over 167 yards per game through the air.