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Monday, September 1, 2014 @ 5:23pm

Weekend witness

By: Doug Franz
What a great weekend of family, football and golf.

Here's my observations from Thursday through Monday. Tweet me @doug987FM to tell me what you saw.

ASU STUDENTS:

Amazing. Almost 10,000 for a game against Weber State. Although the attendance from adults is sad, the future is bright with so many students making ASU football important.

UCLA'S OFFENSIVE LINE:

Not even close to acceptable if they're truly a championship-caliber team. It's too early to judge the rest of UCLA's season with their starting center hurt, playing on the road against a good UVA defense. After granting them an excuse, the tackles were not good. With a schedule as difficult as any in the country, that line is the difference between competing for a conference championship and competing for a good bowl game.

ARKANSAS' OFFENSIVE LINE:

Larger than most NFL offensive lines. Dan Skipper is a 6-foot-10 sophomore left tackle who moved from starting at guard as a freshman. The kid is massive and athletic. With the spread so prevalent, many college defensive lines are small. Watching Arkansas play old school might make a lot of other colleges go back to school. Too bad Arkansas can't play defense.

ANU SOLOMON:

It was only one game. It appears the one-and-done quarterback phenomenon every year under Rich Rod is over. Yes, it was a weak opponent but Solomon showed poise and patience with the needed athleticism to run the read-option.

MY PUTTER:

Monday was my last day of golf for the year because I'm too busy to play during football season. I shot a 93. I've never broken 90 before. I missed five very makeable putts. Putting is the only part of the game I'm pretty good at. So it was frustrating to not put myself into the desert as often as usual but not take advantage.

Monday, September 1, 2014 @ 5:23pm

Weekend witness

By: Doug Franz
What a great weekend of family, football and golf.

Here's my observations from Thursday through Monday. Tweet me @doug987FM to tell me what you saw.

ASU STUDENTS:

Amazing. Almost 10,000 for a game against Weber State. Although the attendance from adults is sad, the future is bright with so many students making ASU football important.

UCLA'S OFFENSIVE LINE:

Not even close to acceptable if they're truly a championship-caliber team. It's too early to judge the rest of UCLA's season with their starting center hurt, playing on the road against a good UVA defense. After granting them an excuse, the tackles were not good. With a schedule as difficult as any in the country, that line is the difference between competing for a conference championship and competing for a good bowl game.

ARKANSAS' OFFENSIVE LINE:

Larger than most NFL offensive lines. Dan Skipper is a 6-foot-10 sophomore left tackle who moved from starting at guard as a freshman. The kid is massive and athletic. With the spread so prevalent, many college defensive lines are small. Watching Arkansas play old school might make a lot of other colleges go back to school. Too bad Arkansas can't play defense.

ANU SOLOMON:

It was only one game. It appears the one-and-done quarterback phenomenon every year under Rich Rod is over. Yes, it was a weak opponent but Solomon showed poise and patience with the needed athleticism to run the read-option.

MY PUTTER:

Monday was my last day of golf for the year because I'm too busy to play during football season. I shot a 93. I've never broken 90 before. I missed five very makeable putts. Putting is the only part of the game I'm pretty good at. So it was frustrating to not put myself into the desert as often as usual but not take advantage.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014 @ 6:32pm

Stagnant or statement

By: Doug Franz
"We should beat this team."

"I don't like playing in these games because you can't win for losing."

"I expect us to go out there and dominate."

These are not the normal comments from a college head football coach. We've learned over the last two and a half years that coach Todd Graham is not the normal head football coach.

Tuesday night on his coach's show, he told me that Jamil Douglas wants the offensive coordinator to call more run plays. "Ask him about that," he said. "I like to stir things up a bit."

No one in the nation coaches like Graham. He's in-your-face but positive. His intensity is completely off the deep end yet scores of players swear by him. One former player is even marrying his daughter.

This is a fulcrum year for the future of ASU. If Graham gets back to the Pac-12 Championship Game, some football powers will have seen enough. The national stench that was on Graham when he left Pittsburgh will be completely flushed out.

In Gainesville, fans are restless. Despite a mostly joke non-conference schedule and eight home games, Florida plays six preseason Top-25 teams including no. 1 Florida State and no. 2 Alabama. If things go south for Will Muschamp, UF will come calling with more money, better facilities, a better recruiting base and better fans.

How many times can Graham look up at 10,000 empty seats and not think he's done all he can at ASU?

What appears to be different now is the vision of the entire athletic program. It started with the hiring of Steve Patterson -- and the people he brought in with him.

Although the job is not complete, the Ray Anderson group has ramped up expectations. Sure, ASU still has plenty of the narrow-minded, protect-my-turf types. As the people with tunnel vision continue to vanish from the program with greater regularity due to the new regime, there should be an assumption that outside support will increase as well.

One twenty-something at Majerle's Tuesday night said, "I've never been a Sun Devil Club member. I became one because of that man."

He pointed at the empty chair where Todd Graham had been sitting a few minutes earlier.

It's an interesting time at ASU. The program needs Todd Graham. And Todd Graham still needs ASU.

Fans are still disillusioned on just how far behind they are from being a big-time fan base like an Ohio State, Alabama or Oklahoma. Yet the ASU athletic department will let another opportunity slip away if they don't see a bigger picture to attract more fans.

Although it's sad more ASU fans aren't motivated by love of school and community to support their team, there's little doubt many regimes of the past at ASU have dropped the ball in enticing new support or keeping the support they had. Although Graham is comfortably under contract, every win will make him more attractive to big-time programs.

The only way to avoid this is for ASU to become a big-time program.

In the near future, we'll know if ASU stands for Arizona's Stagnant University or Arizona's Statement University.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014 @ 6:32pm

Stagnant or statement

By: Doug Franz
"We should beat this team."

"I don't like playing in these games because you can't win for losing."

"I expect us to go out there and dominate."

These are not the normal comments from a college head football coach. We've learned over the last two and a half years that coach Todd Graham is not the normal head football coach.

Tuesday night on his coach's show, he told me that Jamil Douglas wants the offensive coordinator to call more run plays. "Ask him about that," he said. "I like to stir things up a bit."

No one in the nation coaches like Graham. He's in-your-face but positive. His intensity is completely off the deep end yet scores of players swear by him. One former player is even marrying his daughter.

This is a fulcrum year for the future of ASU. If Graham gets back to the Pac-12 Championship Game, some football powers will have seen enough. The national stench that was on Graham when he left Pittsburgh will be completely flushed out.

In Gainesville, fans are restless. Despite a mostly joke non-conference schedule and eight home games, Florida plays six preseason Top-25 teams including no. 1 Florida State and no. 2 Alabama. If things go south for Will Muschamp, UF will come calling with more money, better facilities, a better recruiting base and better fans.

How many times can Graham look up at 10,000 empty seats and not think he's done all he can at ASU?

What appears to be different now is the vision of the entire athletic program. It started with the hiring of Steve Patterson -- and the people he brought in with him.

Although the job is not complete, the Ray Anderson group has ramped up expectations. Sure, ASU still has plenty of the narrow-minded, protect-my-turf types. As the people with tunnel vision continue to vanish from the program with greater regularity due to the new regime, there should be an assumption that outside support will increase as well.

One twenty-something at Majerle's Tuesday night said, "I've never been a Sun Devil Club member. I became one because of that man."

He pointed at the empty chair where Todd Graham had been sitting a few minutes earlier.

It's an interesting time at ASU. The program needs Todd Graham. And Todd Graham still needs ASU.

Fans are still disillusioned on just how far behind they are from being a big-time fan base like an Ohio State, Alabama or Oklahoma. Yet the ASU athletic department will let another opportunity slip away if they don't see a bigger picture to attract more fans.

Although it's sad more ASU fans aren't motivated by love of school and community to support their team, there's little doubt many regimes of the past at ASU have dropped the ball in enticing new support or keeping the support they had. Although Graham is comfortably under contract, every win will make him more attractive to big-time programs.

The only way to avoid this is for ASU to become a big-time program.

In the near future, we'll know if ASU stands for Arizona's Stagnant University or Arizona's Statement University.

Monday, August 25, 2014 @ 11:18am

Initial thoughts on the Cardinals' first cuts

By: Doug Franz
The Cardinals announced Monday they've released 13 players. The deadline to have done so is Tuesday at 1:00 p.m. Here are some quick thoughts I had when I read through the names.

1) CLASSY

Always impressive when a team makes the cuts some 27 hours early. The Cardinals had every right to wait until the last minute so they could dangle a player in a trade or study other cuts before making a move. Having the right doesn't make it right. Releasing the players Monday gives them a better chance to make another roster.

2) JAY FEELY

It has always seemed Bruce Arians came down harder on Feely when he messed up than other players. Obviously, that's a completely speculative opinion, but Feely never seemed to be "Arians' guy." Irrelevant if that's true or not, the kicking competition was very fair and I think the kicker with the better preseason won. We won't know until the regular season if the better kicker won.

3) MAX STARKS

Really surprised by this cut. I'm not surprised that he was cut but that he was cut in the first round of cuts. I have great respect for any player that gives all that he has. With that duly earned by Bradley Sowell, he just hasn't played at an NFL level. Although Starks has done very little since his arrival due to injury, I'm surprised Arizona didn't keep Starks and wait to see if his health improves. Sowell has shown he struggles playing NFL football. Starks shows that he struggles with his health. Time might help Starks. I don't think time will help Sowell.

4) RYAN LINDLEY

Everyone knew this would happen the second Logan Thomas was drafted I feel bad for Lindley because he was in a great situation. Lindley won't "wow" you with arm strength so it was imperative that he wins on intangibles, accuracy and decision-making. Lindley hasn't succeeded in these areas during practice. He had a year to learn from two excellent quarterback coaches (Arians and Tom Moore), yet those coaches weren't impressed enough to skip available quarterbacks in the most recent draft. If those two couldn't develop a diamond "from that rough," it's hard to believe someone else will.

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