Carl Bradford is one of the most important players on the Arizona State defense.
The junior defensive end tallied 11.5 sacks last season and has 5.5 so far this year. His 11 tackles for a loss lead the team, and the Devils are better off with him on the field.
Yet, during last Saturday’s 30-17 win over Oregon State, Bradford found himself tethered to the sideline the entire fourth quarter after getting into a sideline shouting match with head coach Todd Graham.
“People make mistakes, they get passionate down there sometimes,” Graham said after the game. “But as you can see, there’s accountabilities. We’ve got to move forward. I don’t want to dignify a great win with talking about something like that.
“He didn’t go back in because we took him out.”
Graham apparently feels Bradford has learned whatever lesson he needed to, as he told Doug and Wolf Friday that his player will suit up and be ready to go Saturday against UCLA.
“He’s obviously, like we talk about, our guys are very passionate and sometimes guys can get a little overly passionate,” the coach said. “We have accountabilities for those kind of things, but no, he’s ready to go and we’re all on the same page.”
To say Saturday is a big game for the Sun Devils would be an understatement, as a win over No. 14 Bruins would clinch the Pac-12 South for No. 17 Arizona State.
But that’s not why Bradford will be on the field, as Graham said it’s important his players know that while passion and enthusiasm are wanted, it must be controlled when on the field.
“When we’re out there on game day, we don’t just represent ourselves,” Graham said. “We represent our university, we represent our team, we represent our families, we represent our fans and our alumni and there are certain standards we’re going to meet, period.
“Those things are things that happen. I do think you have a great teaching moment to teach and get better, and we’ll be better for it.”