A scrimmage has got to be a tough thing when you’re the head coach of a football team.
If one side of the ball dominates, conversely, the other side struggled.
That’s the boat Arizona State head coach Todd Graham found himself in Saturday at Camp Tontozona. The Sun Devils’ offense dominated while the defense struggled in the session that ended ASU’s six-day stay in the pines.
“We’re not the defending Super Bowl champs, but that’s the kind of the way we acted, and I was very disappointed in that,” Graham said following the scrimmage. “We did not play very well defensively at all.
“I thought today was dominated by the offense.”
ASU’s running attack racked up 285 yards on 44 carries — including a scrimmage-high 53 yards on 11 carries from senior running back Marion Grice, who also scored on a 15-yard touchdown.
Sophomore D.J. Foster ran for 36 yards on just two carries, but left the scrimmage early with an ankle injury.
“There’s nothing you can do about that stuff,” Graham said about Foster’s injury, which didn’t appear serious. “You’ve got to scrimmage, you’ve got to play. We tried putting a gold (non-contact) jersey on him to try to protect him but he doesn’t want that.
“But he’s fine, he twisted his ankle a little bit, he’s a tough kid and in shape, so he’ll be fine.”
The passing game thrived as well. According to statistics provided by ASU Media Relations, Sun Devil quarterbacks combined to complete 22-of-43 passes for 429 yards on the day. Starter Taylor Kelly went 4-of-6 for 72 yards and two touchdown tosses.
Another highlight was the kicking of freshman Zane Gonzalez, who connected on all eight of his field goal attempts, including five from 40 yards or longer.
But Graham, a defensive-minded coach, couldn’t get past the performance, or lack thereof, by his defense.
“Four defensive offsides, and just to give you an idea of how bad a day that is, we had four defensive offsides the entire season last year,” Graham said. “Discipline, discipline, discipline — I do not think we did very well.”
The Sun Devils now return to Tempe to continue preparation for their season opener against Sacramento State Thursday, September 5 at Sun Devil Stadium.
“We’ve got to go to work, we’ve got a lot of work to do in the next five practices to get ready,” Graham said. “And then we start game week maybe next Friday.”