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Arizona State Sun Devils

Updated Nov 12, 2012 - 4:32 pm

AD Patterson encouraged by Graham's first season

Arizona State head coach Todd Graham, second from right, talks to his team during a timeout during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Southern California, Saturday, Nov. 10, 2012, in Los Angeles. Southern California won 38-17. (AP Photo/Bret Hartman)

The Arizona State Sun Devils find themselves in a familiar situation.

With a 5-5 record and just two games remaining, Arizona State appears to be staring mediocrity in the face once again.

Under first year head coach Todd Graham, the Devils started the season with plenty of promise but faltered once their schedule got tough.

Despite being on a four-game losing streak, ASU Athletic Director Steve Patterson is optimistic that the football program is going in the right direction.

"I'm encouraged overall. I think Todd [Graham] made great progress laying the foundations for a successful program," Patterson said. "If we get two more wins, we are going to be in good shape and get into a decent bowl game."

Patterson pointed out that a bowl game is key when it comes to developing a young talent and hopes his team will have the opportunity to do so this year.

"It gives you more days to practice than teams that are not in bowls. That is important for particularly the younger players who are just starting with it," Patterson said. "It helps Todd instill the rest of his system before he goes into next year."

With only eight senior starters, extra practices will give Graham a valuable chance to continue to develop his young team for next season.

"Overall, I feel good about where he has gone and where the development of the team is right now," Patterson said.

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