Graham: Sun Devils have room to improve

Sep 20, 2012, 6:47 PM | Updated: 8:48 pm

Another year, another 2-1 Arizona State football squad.

The Sun Devils managed to extend their steak of dropping their third game of the season after starting undefeated to five consecutive years. What makes it worse is after falling to Missouri 24-20, each of the losses have been by less than a touchdown.

ASU played incredibly sloppy football. And yet, somehow, the Sun Devils still had two opportunities to take the lead on the road in a packed SEC stadium with under two minutes to go.

In the end the Sun Devils couldn’t take advantage of poor Missouri play, losing a game that shouldn’t have been so close.

This Saturday, ASU will begin Pac-12 play by welcoming the Utah Utes to Tempe. Sun Devil head coach Todd Graham made it clear his squad needed to get back to playing disciplined football, specifically on special teams.

“The thing we’ve worked the hardest on this week is our special teams,” said Graham. “I told the kids that any game you lose on special teams, in this league you’re losing the game. I don’t care what you do on offense or defense. Every week that’s what it’s going to be. You’ve got to bring it every week and I feel good about their preparation.”

Graham went on to say that although improving special teams is his top priority, the wide receivers need to step up their play as well.

“We’ve got to have more consistency [from our wide receivers] and more than anything we need to be more physical,” said Graham. “I mean even when the ball’s thrown to us I told them to attack the football. I used illustration. I said ‘Have you ever seen Dennis Rodman get a rebound?’ That’s how you have to go after the football.”

Utah is also coming into the matchup against ASU with a 2-1 record, and Graham added he’s expecting nothing but great football from them.

“These guys are very well coached so they’re going to have some really good things,” said Graham. “They’ve got big play capabilities because of their wide receivers and obviously they’re going to have their tailback back. I think he’s special and it hurts them when he’s not in there. They’re going to come and try and win on defense and guess what? That’s what we’re going to do too.”

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