Spring is in the air.
Wednesday is the first day of spring; yet, Tuesday was the first day of spring football for ASU.
Under a sunny sky and temperatures hovering near 70-degrees, the Sun Devils completed their first spring practice at the Kajikawa Practice Facility inside of two-and-half hours.
“I’m really, really pleased with how the guys worked,” Todd Graham said as he enters his second year as head coach. “I loved the attitude.”
He also loved the tempo.
The pace at which players performed each period of practice and moved from one drill to another was noticeable compared to one year ago. There was sharpness, crispness to their work as a result of being more familiar with Graham and his staff.
“Guys understand where to go in the offense and where to line up,” quarterback Taylor Kelly said. “We’re moving at a lot faster pace. It’s still slow for Coach Graham’s liking but we got to keep working on that and studying film.
“[Tuesday] in practice, instead of (the coaches) just coaching everybody, I was out there coaching our guys…. Guys are just out there coaching each other, pushing each other and having fun.”
Added defensive tackle Jaxon Hood, “Lots of high energy, high tempo; physical even though we didn’t have pads on.”
Pads will enter the equation on day two, Wednesday.
“You only get so many days,” Graham said. “You only get so many reps. Every single rep you’ve got to be inspired. Who needs to inspire you is you. At the very end, I said, ‘Let me tell you, there’s only one group of people that can keep us from accomplishing our goals and that’s you.'”
Graham, who has scheduled 14 more practices through April 18, listed receiver, safety and place kicking as the areas where his team needs to improve upon the most, especially if they are to surpass last season’s 8-5 record.
“The biggest thing for us is to look forward,” Graham continued. “We did not have a great season. We had a little above average season so we’ve got to be hungry.”
Said Hood of day one, “It was harder and every day is going to be harder. That’s expectation. That’s how we win all 14 (games this season).”