There are some that believe the Arizona State Sun Devils’ victory over the Washington Huskies last weekend was the most impressive of Todd Graham’s time at ASU. I wouldn’t disagree with that sentiment but would add Colorado to that statement.
It’s easy to get a team’s attention and prepare them when they know their opponent is capable of whipping them.
It’s easy to watch film of the Huskies and see the raw physicality they possess on both sides of the ball. Film work like that makes a kid respect his opponent, gets his attention, focuses his passions and helps him muster the urgency required to play well.
But how do you play when the other team possesses little threat to you? How do you play when the film tells you your opponent does not possess the talent and skill that is your equal? Do you have the maturity as a player to summon your passions and play desperate football when you feel like you’re playing 1-on-1 against your little brother in the driveway?
And that’s where coaching at the college level is paramount. So much of what a head coach does to prepare his team mentally impacts the outcome on Saturdays. The head man (and his staff) needs to be motivator, teacher and psychologist, pushing the appropriate buttons to make sure his team is ready for the task at hand — whatever kind of threat that task may pose.
Todd Graham, over a two-week period, had the Sun Devils ready to play despite the disparate threats Colorado and Washington offered.
After dominating a team that mustered little resistance to ASU, the Sun Devils just bullied the Huskies. This game was won — dominated, really — on the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. When talking about ASU’s 53-24 win over UW, dominant is the only word that suffices.
So dominant we must ask the question, Sun Devils.
Has Todd Graham planted the seeds that will grow into a winning program for years to come? Better still, will the sower be here to reap the harvest?